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Friday, March 14, 2014

Today: An (endo bloodwork) experience; may be "black-swan-classified"

"Hold on just a second", she said. "Marc, Marc!". More urgently now, "Marc, get in here NOW and get on a pair of gloves."

(NOT what one wants to hear when having blood drawn.) Shit.


So after escaping (read: lying about having a prior appointment to get out of) a particular TA meeting this afternoon, I felt guilted into making up for it (by making it a half-lie) and showing up to get my bloodwork done, as 1) it was requested by my endo and I have an appointment coming up; 2) my doctor's office is literally right next to my place of work; and 3) my insurance expires 5/1, so really I had no excuse.

I was especially happy to get in quickly and waited no longer than 3 minutes before a friendly plump nurse was penetrating my vein with an only-god-knows-what (20-something?) gauge syringe. Chatting about the weather and asking about IV blood drawings effect on BG levels, I knew something was up when she was not replying to my question.

"Is something wrong?", I finally inquired, as it seemed a very long time to fill up that first (of 3?) tubes of blood, still looking away from "the site". "No", she said, nervously, "just don't move your arm please". SHIT.

Fast forward what seemed like an eternity (probably 3 minutes), as Marc comes rushes in to help her wipe down [presumably the blood from] my arm (which's now numb from the turnicate with my palm sweating like crazy), hands her more tubes, bandaids my arm (finally).

"Am I done?" I asked, finally, feeling the turnicate release my arm, which no longer felt like it was attached to me... "Yes, go right ahead, I just have to make sure and clean this floor thoroghly..." Me: 'What now?" (as I get up) "OH JESUS" (not something I usually exclaim, anywhere really)...

As I stood up with my freshly cotton-balled and bandaided arm, I turned to see what was a splatter (no, more like a POOL) of my own blood. ON THE FLOOR.

Here's where it got really interesting. I had to lay down. I thought I was going to pass the fuck out right there like a deer in the (fluorescent) lights. "Please lay down" I was instructed. I obliged. As soon as I did, I felt the blood rush to my head. I sat up. OK, Maria. Check your BG and get the fuck out already. 

Marc handed me my BG case (I realize now that he took the liberty of taking it out of my purse). 125. dexcom: 99. OK. (I all but ignore Marc's inquiries about the CGM and murmur something about test strip samples, because "my insurance runs out on May 1st." Then I tell him that "it's been a rough 24 hrs BG-wise, but I won the last 3 hrs", as he invites himself to scroll through my Dexcom history.

Once I realize that my dizzy-spell occurred as a result of being tortured by (perhaps a less-than-proficient nurse?) the procedure, and not a result of a low BG, I  quickly collect my things and get out. I feel stupid for having to lay down, especially because I am a cancer biologist (researcher), and have seen and conducted so many dissections, as well as handled (still warm) blood samples of all sorts.I remember handling it rather well when on a lab rotation a few years back I witnessed a mouse being anesthesized, bled from the eye, and then dissected for each organ (with it's heart still beating to preserve the tissue) - all in the name of research of course. I felt nauseated the first time, but nothing like today. I guess something about the sight of your own pool of blood on the floor (especially under fluorescent lights) makes me feel panicked and helpless.

Perhaps it is more the "black-swanness" of it all. In (probably) over 20 times of having my blood drawn IV, I have never bled out all over myself, the nurses, the floor. It's just one of those unexpected things that makes you stop and say, "Wow, THAT JUST HAPPENED."

*Turns out the tube connected to the needle just "slipped off" and my blood collected on the floor for some time before the nurse pinched it off and got help.....


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