A Shot In The Dark.

One of the ongoing joys of life after cancer is that I get to have my blood regularly drawn. Fortunately I have plenty to spare and, having recently celebrated five years since my initial diagnosis, I only have to give up a sample every six months or so before regular checkups with my oncologist. And usually it’s so quick and easy it doesn’t feel like they’re drawing blood so much as making a quick sketch of it. It’s a different nurse every time, although they all always tell me, “You’re going to feel a little stick,” I also get to make the same joke. When they slide the needle in and all I feel is a slight pinch I exhale and say, “I can tell you’ve done this before.” I mean it as a compliment and it always makes the nurses laugh, and of course making the medical team laugh is my top priority even though it should probably be my health. I also wish just once a nurse would tell me “You’re going to feel a little prick” so I could say, “You could at least take me out to dinner and a movie first,” but that’s another story.

Anyway the other day I went in to give up a blood sample and instead of the usual routine I said to the nurse, “So, first day on the job?” because it felt like I’d just had a piece of lead pipe jammed into my arm. Then I said, “Boy, that’s gonna leave a mark.” The nurse kept on with what she was doing so I said, “Are you using the whole fist?” None of this made any impression on the nurse, but she did ask, “Do you have any plans for this Fourth of July?”

“Well,” I said, as flashes of pain popped in front of my eyes, “I have just gotten a preview of the fireworks.”

18 Comments

  1. Bookstooge

    Ouch. I have to get regular bloodwork done for my diabetes but thankfully the medical team where I go has never given me that kind of experience. I’m still waiting though, new kids become nurses every year!

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      The good news is in spite of having more sticks than I can count–although fortunately spaced far enough apart that I don’t have arms like a heroin addict–this is the only time I can think of that I’ve had a nurse who couldn’t handle a needle. So may the odds continue to be in your favor.

      Reply
  2. Pat

    OUCH! I hate needles! (⌣_⌣”)

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I don’t hate needles, but I do hate getting them in my arm.

      Reply
  3. The Huntress915

    Oh wow, it’s always horrible when you get that “new” nurse or phlebotomist who is not showing any nerves and yet still manages to hurt and bruise the hell out of you! You know it’s bad when you can actually see the sparks setting off in your eyes. Poor Christopher, sorry you had such a bad……prick, lol.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      The worst thing is this nurse was obviously an old hand–she’d been around for a while. Maybe that was the problem, though. She’d been at it for so long she’d gotten casual about how she handles needles. And her eyesight was probably going too.

      Reply
  4. Tom

    I used to be fine with needles until I got one through the front of my finger to numb the area for a minor procedure about 10 years ago. I have never felt pain like that and now a needle anywhere in my body makes me clinch. I can’t even joke with them anymore, I just want ’em to hurry. 😂

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Wow, getting a needle through your thumb has got to be a nightmare. That’s almost as bad as getting a needle in the mouth for dental work. I love it when dentists say “This won’t hurt.” And when a dentist says “This is going to hurt” you know you’re in for it.

      Reply
      1. Tom

        The lady to my right, the assistant, tried everything in the world to distract me as the needle came out. I’m pretty happy-go-lucky at the medical or dental office, but when she looked scared for me, I got scared!

        Reply
  5. Allison

    I’m a blood donor, and I just want someone who can get it right. Take as long as you want, mark up my arm, but let’s do this!

    Honestly, the finger stick testing your iron is worse than the big needle.

    My sister is needlephobic, and I feel bad for folks who don’t do well with them.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That’s fantastic that you’re a blood donor–I used to be one too, especially in high school where it was a great way to get out of class. And the needle sticks were never that bad.
      I get why some people have trouble with needles, though.

      Reply
  6. Ann Koplow

    I’ve dealt with all sorts of sticks and pricks in the kashmillion times I’ve gotten blood drawn and also gotten IVs related to my from-birth heart condition. Two stories that stand out for me today: in the 1970s, a guy I used to see dancing at a local disco was taking my blood at the hospital and actually said, “So, at least I get to stick this in you.” And, there was a hospital resident who was so stupid he put an IV on the top of my foot, which hurt like hell. The nurses and I took his photo, put a big red circle and slash through it, and posted it on my hospital room door.
    Ann Koplow recently posted…Day 2414: Looking for loveMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Those are some pretty awful experiences and enough to make you not want to go back to the hospital if you could avoid it, but on the bright side of the kashmillion times you’ve got your blood drawn those are the only two that stand out. May the odds continue to be in your favor.

      Reply
      1. Ann Koplow

        I wish there were only two but you’re right — the vast majority of those experiences have been positive. Thanks, as always, Chris, for your positive perspective.

        Reply
  7. theorangutanlibrarian

    hehehe ouch! Some nurses really missed their life’s calling as a butcher!

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      The nurse certainly butchered my arm. Fortunately I got out with all my limbs intact and a nice brisket.

      Reply
  8. mydangblog

    I hate needles of any kind, but especially the bigass ones that dentists use. Just knock me right out instead. Congrats on another healthy year!
    mydangblog recently posted…My Week 250: WWJD, A Special DayMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I hate dental needles too. The ones they stick in my arm usually don’t hurt that much, although I did once volunteer for a medical experiment that involved drawing my blood with a really big needle because they had to keep the platelets intact. Fortunately they didn’t have to stick it in my arm.

      Reply

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