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11/12/2003 Entry: "Health Fairs Are Hazardous To Your Health."

No really. They tested my blood pressure at the Benefits fair at work, and it was high again. I blame the health fair. The nurses said, well, since you're here, you might as well get the cholesterol test. It's free, it's quick, it's just a little pin stick. What could it hurt?

You'd think I'd know better by now.

I'm sitting there trying to smile nicely for the young guy drawing blood from my finger. He jabs. I "ow" appreciatively. He asks if that hurt, I tell him not really. He dabs at it, repositions my arm, scowls, tells me that I'm not bleeding enough and that he'll have to use a more powerful lancet. "This is a common problem with a lot of men, nothing to be embarrassed about," he says. I bat my eyes and swear to him that something like this has never happened to me before. Then I make a crucial error.

I see the needle.

I know it's nestled up in its plastic foreskin and I'm not supposed to notice it, but I see it. It's about as big around as a knitting needle; it gleams menacingly, and before I can run he's coming at me with it. He jabs. I "ow" sincerely. He is still kneading my finger trying to get enough blood out to do this test when I feel that familiar lightheaded sensation, the one that comes when they draw blood and I have the choice to either lie down or fall down.

He sighs, a little frustrated. "At least your blood clots well." He looks up, notices that I've gone completely white, and asks me if I'm going to be OK. I lie and tell him, "No problem." A cold sweat has suddenly soaked through all of my clothes and I am wetly fanning myself with a booklet on hypertension, desperately wishing I had a cool glass of water. He tries to get my mind off of things by making small talk. "So you're a designer? What do you design?" I don't answer, praying that he'll just hurry up and finish before I either black out or vomit. Note to self: In the future, don't even bother flirting with the phlebotomist.

He reluctantly stops trying to seduce any more blood out of my finger and sticks the strip in the machine. "What do you know, there was enough there to test." He gives me the paper with my results, tells me which of the nurses (all of whom were staring at me by now) to talk to about my results, and I stumble outside to sit with my head between my knees.

I wish I could say that I came through this all unscathed, but Franz (No, I did not ask where Hans was) from Club One just called me, and we have scheduled a preview tour of the facilities next Thursday. "We provide towels and toiletries, so just bring your gym clothes!" he said brightly. Suddenly I felt the color draining out of my cheeks again.

Passing out at work? Child's play. Head between my knees? The pinnacle of dignity. Gym clothes? The ceiling for embarrassment has just risen exponentially.

Replies: 4 comments

As someone who, this year, has had an unusually large number of needles stuck into me for assorted reasons, I sincerely and strongly hope you are never, ever, ever, EVER required to go into the Emergency Room. Not even to accompany someone. You will not survive it.

Posted by Sherri @ 11/13/2003 07:19 PM PST

Progress was made simply by the fact that you didn't actually pass out or throw up. I know how traumatic this is, and am glad you made it through with only the emotional scars... As for the gym.. well, you are braver than I.

Posted by Sillynun @ 11/14/2003 09:41 AM PST

fighting to remain conscious for the sole purpose of making a pass at an attractive scrubs-clad gentleman? Kudos to you, sir. You are my hero. *sigh of admiration*

Posted by -paul- @ 11/17/2003 11:19 AM PST

I got a flu shot last week and about 3 days ago, my arm started itching. Today, it looks like a have 3in x 3in rash on my left tricep.

I called my doctor and he said, "Allergic Reaction." No more flu shots ever again for you.

Hmm. Not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing. Bad thing, I think.

Posted by Colin Davis @ 11/18/2003 10:22 AM PST

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