Two Dramatic Blood-Drawing Incidents… and a Funeral

It all started last week when my doctor ordered me to go to a lab to get some blood samples taken so she could test me for “EVERYTHING EVER, PLEASE” (my words, obviously).

After failing to get the job done on my first trip to the lab on Monday (I totally forgot that overnight fasting was a thing, and so I accidentally had a bagel beforehand, and stop looking at me that way), I decided to go back on Friday.

Since I had already taken Friday off of work for a funeral, I figured I’d do the whole blood thing first thing in the morning (before the allure of a bagel could fully conquer me) and then continue to the funeral home from there. This plan seemed perfect – very two-birds-one-stone-y – but then I got to the lab and the phlebotomist (side note: is it just me or is that word weird?) ran into difficulties as she attempted to siphon the required amount of fluid from my right arm.

“This is strange,” she said. “Your blood isn’t flowing.”

Your blood isn’t flowing: Not something one typically wants to hear moments before a funeral, but whatever.

“Huh. That’s strange,” I replied. “Usually it flows… I think? Doesn’t it like, have to? For me to live?”

She ignored my series of questions, took the needle out of my arm, pointed at where she pricked me and said, “See! You’re not even bleeding! This is not normal.”

This is not normal: Also not something one typically wants to hear moments before a funeral ever, but I had to agree with her. I mean, who has a hole in their arm and doesn’t bleed?! (Besides me.)

The phlebotomist suspected that my problem was a lack of hydration, so she put a meager little bandage on my non-bleeding right arm and instructed me to drink a bottle of water. Then she tried again in my left arm, and thankfully, the blood started flowing and everything ended up being totally fine – though I did feel a little lightheaded (/emotionally drained/literally drained… of blood) after the whole ordeal.

(Side note: I also had to give a pee sample. Inconveniently, though, after I peed in the cup, I noticed that I had kind of gotten pee all over it. This was embarrassing, so I decided to take a tissue to wipe the rim and edges of the cup clean, BUT as I did that, I accidentally dipped the tissue into the main pee supply. This was not ideal, as it led me to imagine a scenario in which my pee sample was completely contaminated by whatever tissues are made of (paper? Cotton? Lotion? Does it depend on the brand? Why don’t I know this?) and so I emerged from the bathroom and asked the phlebotomist, “Is it OK if I accidentally dipped a tissue in my pee?” and she gave me a look but then just shrugged and said, “It’s fine,” which led me to believe that perhaps I wasn’t the first person to ask this question – which, if that was the case, then I’d love to meet whoever asked it before me, as I imagine we could totally be BFFs. Or husbands.)

When I finally left the lab and made my way to the funeral home for the viewing, I was asked to be a pallbearer. Naturally, I responded with, “Of course! But you should know that both my arms are more or less severely injured after having just had blood drawn from them.” [Dramatic pause.] “But it’s totally fine.”

Luckily, I managed to make it through the experience without losing my grip, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t drink a glass of wine at the dinner afterwards in order to reward myself for a job well done. I’d also be lying if I said I didn’t continue drinking glasses of wine until I eventually felt it appropriate to ramble on to everyone in attendance about how heroic it was of me to carry a casket up and down church steps while dealing with a double arm-handicap.

And then I realized that I had somehow managed to make a funeral all about me.

And then I realized that I had singlehandedly (or double-armedly?) reached previously unexplored, astronomical levels of self-absorption.

Even for me.


I mean, I even took a sun-in-the-eyes selfie. And this is what’s wrong with America.

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