Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Just call me a turnip...

You know the old saying, "You can't get blood out of a turnip"?  Well just call me a turnip.
Today I had my first treatment for my new malady.  Treatment is to draw blood a pint at a time...sadly it can't be donated due to the medications I'm on...what a waste.  My hematologist happens to practice in a cancer center.  So when I went for the phlebotomy, I was in a room full of people getting their chemo.
Here I am a fairly healthy person, surrounded by people who are fighting a battle for their life.  I had a tremendous amount of guilt just sitting their looking healthy.
Beside me sat a man who also looked fairly healthy (despite a broken leg).  He was getting a pint of blood drawn also.  We were seated within seconds of each other.  The technicians began their work on us simultaneously.  A few minutes later they were still searching for a vein in my arm that worked, and he was done and drinking his juice.  I said, 'You're done so quick?'  And he said, 'Yeah, but I have to do this for 52 more weeks.'  I very quietly, so only the nurse could here me, said, 'I have to do this for the next twenty years.'  The nurse repeated it to him.
I didn't mean to get into a pissing contest.  Nonetheless, I think he felt bad.  I felt really sorry about that.  Funny thing...he sounded exactly like my husband's brother...voice...accent...the whole package.  And so in an effort to kind of breach the uncomfortable moment, I tell him.  'You sound just like my brother-in-law.  It's kind of comforting.'  So he sat there to keep me company long after he needed to.  He eventually thought they might need the chair, so he came and stood by me, and as the second technician was trying yet another vein he put his hand on my shoulder.  And though he didn't say anything, I felt that he was praying for me...that's what my brother-in-law would be doing if he were there. 
He eventually took his leave.  It took a full hour and three nurses/technicians to get a pint of blood out of me.  The nurses had to sit beside me on a low stool and hold the needle in my hand with the blood bag beside them on a scale on the floor...making certain that they still had the blood flowing out ever so slowly.  They kept having to tag team as one had her back start aching, and the next had her legs start cramping.  When the bag was finally full...well, full enough-ish...everybody on my side of the room breathed a big sigh of relief, and some smiled and woo-hooed.  I've been giving thanks for them and praying for their healing all day.
I go back in two weeks.  I wonder who dreads it the staff? 


  1. Sorry for all the hassle my friend...praying it gets better as time goes by.

    Awesome story about your fellow patient...thanks for sharing.

    Love you gal...

  2. Sounds horrible, Kathleen, hopefully it will go better next time. Thinking of you x

  3. Love your humourous outlook in the face of adversity! Really, I get it--my sister and I sometimes have to laugh at something we are dealing with concerning our mom's Alzheimer's or else cry--and I have no tears (severe dry eye)! Sometimes, I think if I could cry some of the toxins out I would feel better! Does that make sense? I do understand the stress of chronic disease--my eldest daughter is struggling with many illnesses right now - I think I am going to have to leave my job to help her take care of her 5 kids (including a toddler and 4 month old). This may be a blessing in disguise.
    Anyway, I am praying for you, friend! I have kept the lovely letter you wrote me some time ago--remember? I will never forget your kindness--maybe sometime we can meet in person! I would love that!

  4. LB, Caroline, and V: Thank you so much for your sweet words and well wishes. THEY are the real best medicine. :)


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