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A Bloody Hell

November 14, 2010

This week I had my second annual appointment with the company doctor and nurse, the comedy duo who were the star turns from my previous post: Nurse Ratchett and Doctor Dearth.

It was just as traumatic an event as the last one, only this time, instead of being appalled by the nurse’s total inability to extract any blood from my bulging veins despite poking around in my arm like a prospector digging for gold, I became enraged.  I mean totally furious.

When, yet again, not even a single drop of blood spewed forth from the syringe into the waiting vial, and she swapped to the other arm for a retry, I still managed to be terribly English about the whole thing despite the menacing temper serpent stirring deep within.  I bit my lip and managed to conduct myself with decorum.  The snake did not uncoil.  I  remained composed and calm throughout, although I was keenly aware that she kept glancing anxiously at my face as she poked and swept the pointy end of the needle around and about inside the flesh of my elbow.

“Does it hurt?” she asked me, at least twice.  I couldn’t bear to look her in the eye for fear of actually snarling at her.

“Is the needle in the wrong place?” I asked through gritted teeth.

“No. Yes, it’s strange. You have such beautiful, big veins, I don’t understand it.

Nor did I.  Especially when a sudden, small jet of blood shot out and landed on my skin as the needle plunged in for the second time.  Still, though, no blood in the vial.  Could she have gone all the way through the vein and popped out the other side, I wondered?

I shall spare you further details of the awful half hour spent in the dungeon of torture at my place of work.  I did complain to the doctor about the nurse’s inability to extract blood from me during both of my annual visits, though.  I felt like a human pincushion.

“Well, that can happen.  Sometimes it goes easily and sometimes not.  She’s experienced, so it can’t be that,” was her typically non-committal Dutch-style response.

Turns out my boss had the same experience last year and, showing her mettle to the full, refused to allow the nurse a second attempt when the first prick failed to yield a result.

That’s the attitude I should have gone in with: You snooze, you lose, nursey.

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