Friday, July 11, 2008

Driving Under the Influence of: A Blood Sample Gone Awry

Alright. There are only a few other scenarios I can think of that would beat what happened to me this morning: being attacked by a shark, falling off the edge of a cliff, and McCain winning the presidency.

I could just go to the heart of the story, but I want to give you a little background on this office so you can really feel what it would be like if you were in my shoes at 9 am today.

It was my first time to this office as an "official" patient. When I was called to the window to give my ID and insurance card, one of the two office assistants was trimming off her split ends with a pair of scissors at her desk. That should have been my first sign to run.

After filling out all the paperwork, I was walked back to the exam room by Split Ends who had the personality of cardboard. The doctor came in, went through the list, and ordered a blood sample. Yeah.

The last time I gave a blood sample was about 10 months ago at the same doctor's office. I had gone in for one of the most painful earaches I've ever had in my life. Split Ends wasn't that much better then, I remember thinking she must have just finished school, but she certainly wasn't as bad as she was today.

She went in for the vein on my right arm first. You know it's never a good thing when "first" is included in a conversation about blood samples--unless it's a step by step replay: First, she put on gloves...oh yeah...the gloves.

Before you freak out, Split Ends did wear gloves, but watching her put them on was quite entertaining and--to be honest--a bit frightening. She was wearing a giant, no, no, no, make that enormous, black rose ring on her ring finger of her left hand and her fake fingernails were painted hot pink. She struggled, to say the least, getting the latex glove over that f*cking ring. Sign number 2 to run.

So my right arm had a nice, juicy vein ready to go. Just a prick of the needle and me staring at an aqua massage advertisement on the counter to distract my mind. Half way through, Split Ends gives me a squishy brain to squeeze because "the blood is coming out real slow". Ugh.

I squeeze the brain, trying not to look at my arm so I can just get this whole thing over with as fast as possible. At this point, however, I start to feel nauseous and a rush of heat goes through me from my feet to my head and I begin to sweat.

"I'm starting to feel sick."
"Yeah...I think I might pass out."
"Have you ever fainted before?"
"Ok, well just keep squeezing."

Now I feel like I might die and would rather pass out so I'm not conscious. I am sweating like crazy, on the verge of vomiting, and Split Ends wants me to keep squeezing...then she stops.

Thank, God. It's over!

"Your vein collapsed, so I'll have to finish on your other arm."


Split Ends switches to my left arm and gives me the brain in my other hand to get the blood out. She professionally brings me a wet, paper towel and places it on my right vein so it won't bruise as much. Thanks. That seems sanitary.

If I felt like I was going to die before, now I was sure I was gonna hit the floor. Luckily, I filled the tube up before that happened. Split Ends told me to lie down on the table until I felt better and then left the room.

Dr. I Don't Care That My Staff Sucks came by and asked how I was doing. Not so good, I tell him.

"Ah, well, it happens. Guess we don't have to worry about you using needles."

No, no, doc. Guess we don't, eh? That's comforting.

I lay there for a few minutes and then have the overwhelming urge to just get home as fast as possible. Split Ends stops me on the way out and tells me to wait cause she has to give me some paperwork. I sit on the couch in the waiting room feeling like a crazy person. I want to vomit. I want to sleep. I want to cry. I want to write a letter to my insurance company about how awful this office is.

Split Ends is taking her sweet time, so I rush back to her desk and tell her to just give me the papers or I'll call later cause I have to go before I get sick. I get the papers and rush out to my car.

Folks, let me tell you, it is NOT a good idea to drive under the influence of a blood sample gone awry. I think I was in just as bad, if not worse, condition than someone who just celebrated their 21st birthday. The drive home felt like hours, even though I live less than 2 miles from the office. At every stop light I pictured myself opening the door, puking, and then pulling over in a neighborhood to take a nap. But I pushed through it and got home.

Thank god my roommate was still asleep. I stumbled in my place, stole an apple from the kitchen, and laid down on my bed with pillows under my legs to get the blood flowing properly. Heat waves and sweat continued to sweep through me as I chomped on the apple that I hoped would save my life.

This procedure was not helping and the room started to spin. I went in my bathroom, prepared myself by the toilet and hoped I would vomit and get it over with. No such luck.

I go back to the position on the bed to give it a second chance. Now I just want to cry. I was having an internal conversation with myself, trying to find a center focus and calm my nerves. Leah, this will pass and you'll be fine, it can't possibly last all day. But when you're in that state, your mind plays tricks on you and starts thinking about all the things that make you sick and all the past experiences when you almost passed out from donating blood in college.

Finally, I get the idea that a shower should help. But I am too weak to stand and afraid that I have a good chance of falling. So I put a towel down in the tub--I don't have a plug for my drain, strip down, crawl in with my apple in hand, and turn on the shower. I literally laid in the bathtub on a towel with the shower splashing over me as I ate an apple praying that this would heal me. And it did. After 20 minutes.

If anyone saw me from 9:30 am - 11:30 am today, you may have mistaken me for a chic going through withdrawal. I still feel weird now at 2:00 pm. But, alas, I am here at Mahalo and ready to work.

And that's the dealio with D'Emilio for 7.11.2008

What's your worst blood giving story? Worst doctor's office story?

Share it here on The Dealio with D'Emilio!


  1. Man... that sucks big time. I had a run in with a creepy podiatrist once, but that doesn't even come close to your encounter.

  2. I work at a doctors office. Thankfully, I never have anything like that happening. Granted, I only do sleep studies so I never really deal with drawing blood.
    Anyways, you may find this link helpful in the future:
    It has information on doctors and even has a complaint line if you feel like the doctor was ever outta line. The nurse should also know better than to wear jewelry to work.

  3. My worst was not quite so long-lasting as yours. I have pretty good veins but when I went to donate some blood at the mobile Red Cross unit at work, the nurse had a dickens of a time getting my vein. Basically the vein kept sliding from side to side as she continued to chase it back and forth.
    I'm a "watcher", meaning that I like to see the needle go in since my imagination is surely worse than the reality. So watching this performance had me getting more and more nauseous. Then, when she finally got the needle in, she somehow managed to set it up so the hole in the needle was resting against the wall of my vein. The flow was at a crawl (I can usually fill those little pint bags pretty quickly). I found I had to bend my arm when the nurse wasn't looking in order to speed things up enough so that I could get out of there before I got to the state that you ended up in.
    I can't believe I still go to give blood, but every once in a while I have an experience that makes me shy away for a few years...

  4. ^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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