I had blood tests this morning. It's nice to start the week by facing a phobia, really. Makes you appreciate the mundane bits of life.
When I went into the little office, the nurse sat me on a chair and asked was I good about getting my blood taken. I said, "I'm absolutely terrified", and she made me take my shoes off and lie down. She had one look at my veins, declared I didn't have any, and said there was "no way" she was going to do it, as she hadn't been doing it very long. I breathed a long sigh of relief, and she went to get a doctor.
The doctor came in and said "I understand you're not giving blood very well" and I nodded and tried not to cry. He looked at my veins, declared that I didn't have any, and tied a tourniquet just below my elbow and started slapping at my hand. I started to cry. He then, in the nicest possible way, stuck a needle into my hand, sighed loudly, told me to keep breathing, and told the nurse that he was "having trouble with this one". He took the needle back out of my hand and moved around to the other arm, looking for a better tourniquet. I was on the verge of suggesting they get a knife and just open on of my fingers - anything but get more jags by needles. Wisely, I decided to keep quiet and try to concentrate on staying conscious.
The other arm. He poked about at my veins up by the elbow, and declared that he was going to "try again". I started hyperventilating, so they told me to remember to keep breathing and try to stay relaxed. At this point the nurse was sitting beside me holding my hands, while the doctor remarked with awe that I "really didn't" like getting blood taken. I agreed with him.
Good news - I didn't faint. I came blinking close to it - the lovely doctor kept saying things like "it always looks bad when my patients faint. I get a bad mark on my record" and such. Amazingly, second time was lucky, and they got enough blood for three out of four of the tests that were needed before the vein collapsed, and before I did likewise. He said that the fourth test wasn't really important, and that he'd have a word with my doctor.
The lovely nurse made me stay lying down for another 5 minutes, but I decided that getting away from needles, doctors and nurses - lovely and all as they were - would be the best plan, so I upped and unsteadily left.
The tests were to check if I - horror of horrors - have rheumatoid arthritis in my back. I should hear in a week to 10 days. If nothing comes of this - and we're not sure what we're hoping for - then I might have to get an MRI scan. But then, anything is better than getting blood taken again.