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My View: Bloodwork gives me high anxiety

My View: Bloodwork gives me high anxiety

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By Wendy Schreiner

One thing I dread more than anything in life is going to get my bloodwork taken. I have good intentions when I ask the doctor for the slip. It goes into my purse and there it stays for months on end.

One time, I think it was in there waiting for me to get brave for at least a year, if not longer. The other day I had it all planned. I would drive my husband to work and then go to the local hospital’s lab to get my blood drawn. So why did my car head in the opposite direction toward the local shopping area instead of the hospital after my husband departed the car for his workday?

I shortly realized my error in direction and rerouted the car to the hospital, which was only minutes away. I signed in on the arrival log and was called shortly after with no time to escape. I handed over my ID and insurance card with no problem. I took another seat in the blood draw room, where I waited with three other brave souls. I was called quickly again. They must have secretly sensed that I wanted to run away.

When I walked in the room I was startled to see the hospital bed and television screen on the wall. After all, I wasn’t planning on staying there for a long time. Of course, my mind started thinking up the worst-case scenarios as to why there’d even be a need for that cot there and it wasn’t pretty.

I took my sweater off and rolled up my right arm's shirt sleeve and explained to the vampire, I mean worker, that they usually have trouble getting blood from me – that my veins are in deep or move around or whatever and that she should use a butterfly, needed like I am a baby or something. Well, yes I am a big baby when it comes to getting bloodwork done. I always have been and I am sure I always will be.

The worker tightly wrapped the rubber band around my arm. It seemed more constraining than normal, but she quickly said she found one, a vein that is and went on to say you’ll just feel a small prick. OUCH!

There it was, the small prick. I released my fist's death grip slowly and tried to relax and shortly I felt the Band-Aid being placed over the cotton on my arm. When I removed it later in the day, sure enough there was a splotch of blood on the cotton. My arm didn’t look bruised. Usually I look like someone used my arm for a punching bag as I bruise badly, but not this time. For this, I was grateful.

I think my fear of needles and or blood goes back many years. In grade school my teacher was going to or did actually go get my older brother out of his class because I think she thought I was going to pass out. You see it was science class and they were going to be poking our finger with a needle to see what type blood we were. I don’t think I found out that day and I couldn’t answer that question today. Type red, I’d say – yuck!

The bloodwork was the easy part of my day. Next was on to the dentist for a scraping, I mean cleaning. This was much more painful that the one-second sting of the needle poke for the blood draw. My gums were sore for days later.

“Let’s check the bone level,” she said.

Poke, poke, poke up each tooth area. I felt each and every poke and it wasn’t pleasant. Is this necessary, I was thinking to myself. Next time I need bloodwork done I’ll think of going to the dentist and it will be a piece of cake!

Wendy Schreiner, of Warsaw, is not a fan of phlebotomy.

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