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Today I Drew Blood

Today I drew blood.

I drew eight vials of blood in a lab at the request of my doctor.

The last time I had my blood drawn was at the age of 25, and I was so nervous that I went unsuccessfully and had to reschedule the appointment so my mom could go with me. Yes, a grown adult woman still needs her mom sometimes. That was overe five years ago, but my nerves were fresh today.

This blood work I was scheduled to get done was going to be even more intensive, requiring a 3-hour glucose test in which blood would be drawn four different times. And my mom lives two states away. I was not looking forward to it. What if I couldn’t sit through all four draws? What if they couldn’t find a vein? What if the nurses got annoyed that a 31-year-old woman was scared to get her blood drawn? 

I knew it wouldn’t be a pleasant experience, but it was necessary for my doctors to get a full and complete view of my health profile. So I went in, nervously communicated my fear to the nurses, and shared clear expectations that they could meet to help me accomplish the task – keep me distracted! I knew it would only be about 30 seconds of stress each time I was with them – the blood draw itself is pretty quick! So for those 30 seconds, I looked away, asked the nurse to tell me about her family or upcoming vacation, and focused on the conversation. 

My first nurse got into blood work following the footsteps of her mom. She’s been drawing blood for 8 years, and although she herself has a fear of needles, she enjoys helping others while poking them. My second nurse and I bonded over the delicious cheeseburger I was going to eat once the test was over. After fasting overnight, drinking the sugary glucose-test drink, and waiting for 4 hours, there’s nothing I wanted more than protein, salt, and fat. My third nurse is pregnant with her first baby boy, due in 5 weeks. She had done the glucose test, too, but only for 30 minutes. She reminded me it would be done soon and getting the results would be worth it.

These three women gave me some of the best bedside care I’ve ever experienced. They didn’t meet me with judgment, but with compassion. They heard my expectations and met them gladly. They made the entire experience tolerable, not just running me through the routine steps, but truly caring for me. They reminded me of the privilege I have to receive proper health care. They showcased that the world is full of kind people. Although I would prefer not to get more lab work done, I know now that I could with less nerves because of their kindness.

Today I drew blood. 

I drew eight vials of blood. I got poked four times. I completed the test. 

I walked away grateful. 

Thanks for making this a part of your day!
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