8.02.2017

if blood tests were graded, I would get an F

some pretty flowers to distract from the horrors to come

The theme of this week has been blood and doctors.

Don't worry, it's a little less horrifying than it sounds.

I haven't had a physical in three years because TERRIFYING. The last time I went, in 2014, is only because HR was giving out free fitbits for anyone who got a physical, and I was 5 years overdue.

I think you can see where doctor visits go on my list of priorities. In my defense, I went to every OBGYN appointment and I've kept up with the dentist, annual skin cancer checks, and the eye doctor. They're usually about 6-12 months late every time, but I still get them done.

I've written about it before, but I have crippling anxiety about visiting the doctor. It's ten times worse when you're taking your child to the pediatrician, but that's another dramatic post for another time. The whole doctors office environment makes me cry for my mother. I hate it. I avoid it all costs. But now that I'm a mother and especially now that I'm getting regular migraines with no relief, I knew I needed to find a new doctor since my former one moved away.

I had my first appointment with my new doctor yesterday morning after nearly two years of James telling me I need to find a doctor. Usually I spend up to a week before the appointment stressing, but the nerves didn't hit until the night before. I got almost zero sleep I was so nervous. Thankfully the doctor was kind and understanding and I really liked her. She wrote me a prescription to help with the migraines and scheduled a follow up to make sure I'm doing alright. As I was walking back to the front desk, an old man bellowed "tell that young lady she's got a nice pair of legs!" It cracked me up. If only he had said it when I had been staring at the number on the scale 20 minutes earlier.

I spent the afternoon on the phone with Gracie's pediatrician's office. We've been battling a terrible rash going on 3 weeks now, and we've tried everything under the sun. The nurse confirmed we're doing everything they recommend, but she had a couple other ideas up her sleeve. We tried them all out of desperation, including me getting in a baking soda bath while wearing my clothes to hold a traumatized Gracie. It seems to be helping, which is good, because her pediatrician's office is next to my doctor's office, and I'm already tired of driving over there.

This morning I had to go to the lab first thing for blood work. No one had told me I would need to have fasting labs done at my appointment, and since I'm such an infrequent patient, I didn't realize my greek yogurt breakfast would give me such disappointed looks from office staff. I couldn't eat anything after dinner, which would normally be fine, but since I knew I couldn't eat, I was starving. I have never woken up at night hungry, but I woke up multiple times last night with a growling stomach. I rolled out of bed at 6:42 and walked into the lab at 7:00 on the dot, when it opens, and yet there was still a line of people in front of me.

I wasn't as anxious as I was before my appointment, but I wasn't not anxious either. I don't handle needles well. Even after 14 hours of debilitating back labor, I still winced when the nurse put in my IV in the hospital. After 30 minutes, I was finally called back. I noticed a Dwight Schrute bobblehead and mentioned it. The tech and I talked about our love of The Office, and I told her we had watched it last night. It was the episode where Andy proposes to Angela and steals the show from Jim and Pam. We laughed about it, I was at ease, and how bad could this be?

She put the tourniquet on my arm and flicked my veins over and over. Something about that sensation was like nails on a chalkboard and I wanted to snap. Then she did it to the other arm. Then a different tourniquet back on the original arm. I felt like I was being taunted. Is it time? No? Not yet? When? HELP. It reminded me of when I used to get my eyebrows waxed, and the lady's hand lingered next to the strip of hot wax on my eyebrows. I would brace myself waiting for the stinging, burning pain, never knowing when it was about to hit. Back and forth she went, trying to find a viable vein. My blood pressure was skyrocketing. Just get it over with already. Finally she thought she found a vein, and she grabbed the needle. "Are you sweating yet?" she joked. Oh, I was.

She jabbed the needle in and it didn't hurt as much as I was expecting, but I could not for the life of me relax. "If you lean over any further you're going to fall off the chair!" Hand to God, I thought I was sitting straight up. "Don't bend your elbow, stop leaning, wait stop--sit up, arm straight, no! Stop bending! Relax!" I had zero control over myself. I think my body was involuntarily trying to curl into the fetal position to protect itself from more trauma.

She couldn't get any blood to flow. She dug the needle further in my arm, swirled it around, pulled it out, put it back in. Nothing. I was about to climb up the wall. I was trying to think back to our conversation about The Office and pictured Andy singing "Under my Anger-ella, ella, ella, ay, ay, ay" and giggled, because as the title of my future memoir says, I'm laughing so I don't cry. My bravery levels are at an all-time low first thing in the morning with no coffee.

She pulled the needle out and released the tourniquet. "We're going to have to try your hand." I knew you could get an IV there, but I honestly did not know you could get blood drawn there. Feel free to laugh at me, but I just never thought about it. I asked if it would hurt more or less. I already knew the answer, but I was hoping she would tell me something different. She did not lie to me, because I had to stifle a bloodcurdling (pun intended) scream when she stuck the needle in. I realize I'm talking about getting blood drawn here and not a biopsy or childbirth, BUT IT HURT SO BAD. It at least distracted me from worrying about the results. I will swear till my dying day that I'm not a hypochondriac, but if you pressed me, I might admit that I'm concerned the results will not have any actual numerical results but will just say CANCER across the board.

[Update: the results are and I'm healthy. Phew.]

This isn't the first thing I've irrationally worried about this week. James has woken up the last two mornings with a bloody nose. It was on the sheets yesterday morning, so I had to wash them before my appointment. When I stumbled into the bathroom this morning, there was a large drop of blood on the counter. When I went to wipe it off, all the Dateline episodes we've watched lately came back to haunt me. What if something actually happened to him, and this blood is evidence? What if they can tell blood was wiped away and they think I'm trying to cover up the fact that I murdered him? What if I'm convicted and spend the rest of my life in prison? Thankfully he was perfectly alive and well.

If only I could bleed as easily as he does, I may not have had such a traumatizing morning at the lab. I would say it's going to be awhile before I visit another doctor after this week, but as I was writing this, my dentist's office emailed AND texted me that I'm overdue for my appointment.

Maybe I should've gotten my blood drawn at the dentist's office, because they never fail to make my gums bleed buckets.


10 comments:

  1. Ughhh! Blood tests...I remember when I was in high school I had one done(the first of several)- the lady walked away looking for a butterfly needle but leaving the tourniquet on my arm. I don't know what happened because I wasn't anxious at the time, but I passed out. I had to fast for it, so maybe that was why?! Then it happened again the next time I had to get blood work done. I had to start requesting that I need to be laying down when they take my blood. You know many eye rolls I got for that? So annoying. I can finally sit up now during blood draws without any major problems. I'm getting quesy just thinking about it LOL
    You and me both have the same anxiety over dr appointments. The worst is when they leave you sitting in the exam room forever!
    Our imaginations are the same- I'm always sure that I have cancer and I'm always imagining similar crime situations and that I'm falsely accused 😂
    We are cut from the same cloth, I tell ya!!

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    1. Oh that's AWFUL. I almost passed out when I donated blood, and I spilled my water bottle on my pants in the process and was asked if I peed myself because sometimes it happens when you get woozy 🙈 We absolutely are cut from the same cloth! I'm seriously recovering from all the doctor trauma this week!

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  2. Ugh, having blood drawn from your hand sounds awful! I hate getting the if there whenever I give birth. It just oozes blood into the tube for days.

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  3. I am so with you on the whole doctor thing. My point of view on doctors is not seeing them unless absolutely necessary. Absolutely. It has to be pretty darn necessary. And in my adult life I think I've been to a doctor by myself all of once for a vaccination booster in college. Angel comes with me and talks to the doctor for me while I sit and try to imagine I'm not there. I'm so committed to my anti-doctor view that when I had the worst food poisoning ever and couldn't even keep water down back in March...I convinced a local friend who is a nurse to use his hospital connections to get me saline and an IV needle and tubes and had Angel give me an IV at home rather than going to the hospital (here, there's not doctor's offices, only hospitals, and the hospitals LOVE to admit people, so I would have definitely been admitted if I went in). I was still pretty nervous about Angel putting in the IV, but he's actually a star IV guy, the guy all the other nurses would call for tricky IVs, plus I trust him more than most people, so I think that went like 1000x better than if I were at the hospital.

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  4. I couldn't be sorrier about the blood tests. They are the worst. I've gone first thing too and the waiting room is already full. What time do those people get there?! I'm glad everything turned out okay though and I hope you're headache free for a while!

    P.S. funny story about blood tests being graded. My mom just told us this story again this weekend when we went to see my nephew at the hospital so it's on my mind. When my brother was born, my mom went to look at him through the nursery window, and his little crib had a sign that said B. My mom asked the nurses how he could bring his grade up, because she saw other babies in there that had A+'s and A's and she wanted my brother to have a good grade too. Then the nurses told her they were actually the blood types. Hahaha.

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  5. Sweet Jesus. I want to puke reading about your blood drawing experience. They can NEVER get my vein. It rolls away from them and they have to poke and dig and poke. I hate it. It's why I don't give blood very often for charities- they just never find the vein.
    Glad you're healthy and on migraine meds! Don't even bother with the dentist. I never do ;)

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  6. THIS IS ME EVERY SINGLE TIME I NEED BLOOD DRAWN. I ask them to go straight for my hand so I can skip this. Bless your heart. Go get a donut. Or seven.

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  7. Blood tests are THE WORST. This was like reading a page out of my own diary!!! My mom is a lab tech and draws blood for a living- and as a 28 year old I still sometimes ask her to draw my blood for me when I need it done, because I don't freak out like I do in a lab if she does it at home. The last time I needed blood work done they were able to do it the same day, and I was FINE until I watched the tech fill the vile up, close it, and then stick another one in there and take a whole other vile full. She looked at me and she said "Sweetheart, you're looking a little faint". UMMM, ma'am, it's probably because you just took a good amount of my arm blood, but okay.

    BLESS YOU. Glad everything came back okay.

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    1. WHERE WAS YOUR MOTHER WHEN I NEEDED HER?! This tech was nice, but I swear she took some sort of twisted delight out of tormenting me. I'm still recovering from the trauma of it all.

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  8. I am a complete closet hypochondriac, too. I swear I'm dying all the time but am too embarrassed to actually do anything about it so I just carry on with life.

    How are the migraines now?

    We're battling a rash with Molly, too, by thankfully there hasn't been any wrestling or fully clothed baths. Bless you.

    That old man is the best.

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