I had to have blood taken today. I had it taken by a very skilled and friendly phlebotomist (admit it, that word is gross). In my, luckily, few and far between blood draws, I seem to always have a woman performing this function. I wondered today if it is because women are gentler. Or maybe less squeamish. I don’t know. I do know that it is not a job that I could perform. Or maybe I could. Maybe sticking someone else with a needle is something that I would be able to do. Sticking myself, not so much.
This morning as I sat down in the chair, I warned the phlebotomist that I have the potential to be a fainter. And while this is true, it has happened less than five times in my lifetime and the last time was more than ten years ago. It happened when having blood drawn for my Peace Corps physical. It happened in Thailand when I was getting one the millions of shots they made us have. It happened once when I gave blood in college. And although I seem to have found ways around the actual fainting, the entire process still makes me a bit nauseous. There is something about the actual needle piercing my skin that just makes me ill.
So I told the woman today and she asked if I wanted to lie down while she did it but I said no, and I told her that I would be fine. Because if you say it, it will be true. She put the giant rubber band thing on my arm. She told me that I had a really good vein (blech!). She looked at my paperwork and told me she would be taking four vials. I thought that was a lot but she told me that once she took seventeen from someone. I told her that I thought that seventeen seemed like a crazy amount but she told me that those blood vials only hold one tablespoon’s worth of blood. And that is hardly a thing.
I feel like once you tell someone that you may pass out on them, they tend to be pretty chatty. It is definitely helpful when trying to not think about the feeling of that needle. I asked her how long she had been doing this and she said for one year. She said that she loved it. And that she couldn’t drink coffee because it made her shake. I remarked that that probably wasn’t good to have happen in her line of business. She agreed. And then it was finished. Four vials. Four tablespoons. And she told me that I could go have my first coffee of the day. And thanks to her, despite my best fears, the entire process was relatively painless and faint free. Phlebotomists. Word.