Friday, August 19, 2011

Blood Test

Impatients (out front of my house - they survived the Heat Wave)

Went down to the Georgetown VA Outpatient clinic this morning to get my blood retested.  As I mentioned in an earlier blog posting, my prostate PSA score was significantly higher my last blood test.  The VA wants to test it again.  If the score is still high then the next step is having biopsies taken to see if I do have prostate cancer.  I hope I'm not going down that path but I do have a weird feeling this time.

Well, anyway I was one of the first this morning at the outpatient clinic.  My appointment was for 7:45 a.m. but they didn't open their doors until 8:00 am.  What was that all about, making my appointment earlier?  Who knows?  I no longer got in and scanned my VA ID card and sat down and pulled out my iPhone to while away the time than I heard "Ronald Tipton?"   Yep, that's my name, don't wear it out.

I get up and am ushered into the room with the electric arm chairs where the blood is taken.  An older woman patient also goes in.  They take us in twos.  She takes the chair on the left that I usually take.  Already I'm thrown off.  I sit in the chair on the right.  The vampire woman who takes the blood comes out around the corner, needle ready.  She asks "Which arm?"  


I indicate my right arm.  I have big veins so it really doesn't matter which arm she uses but I usually have my left arm stabbed punctured used.  She swabs my arm with a alcohol soaked square white gauze pad.

She says "Make a fist."  I know how to do this but usually under different circumstances of which I won't go into here.  I make a fist and she stabs me.  OUCH!  Damn, that hurt!  Of course I didn't say anything (saving Face and all that you know) but I couldn't help but grimace.  It really did hurt.  It felt like I was stabbed with an ice pick.  Usually when I have my blood taken I don't feel anything.  In fact the last time she took my blood (from my left arm which from now on I will only use for giving blood), I didn't feel anything.  I complimented her on her skills.  Not this time though, this hurt like a bitch.

She draws my blood then puts another gauze pad on the hole in my arm and tapes the pad to my arm,  arm hair and all (always fun when I tear that baby off.)

Then she goes over to the counter and picks up a little plastic bottle with a label on it.  She asks me to state my name and my "last four" (the last four number of my Social Security number).  I state my name and Last Four (something we veterans who use the VA Medical system do automatically like Pavlov's dog salivating when he hears a bell every time we enter their portals).

I passed that test and she hands me the little plastic bottle labeled with my name and my Last Four.  She instructs me to the bathroom at the end of the hall, "the second door on the left."  Time to pee in the container for my urine sample. Never leave without leaving a little something I say.

I walk down to the end of the hall, and turn into the men's room.  I close the door and lock it (I don't want any interruptions, I'm pee shy) and proceed to "give a sample."  After finishing and making sure the lid on the container was securely closed I take out my iPhone again to complete an e-mail that I was in the process of sending before I was so rudely interrupted called to have my blood taken.

Then I noticed a curious thing.  Blood was running down my arm!  WTF?  Then I see some of the blood had dropped on my right sneaker (soon to be always a reminder of my day at the clinic).  A drop or two had even fallen on my iPhone.  I wonder if my iPhone warranty covers this.

As the blood is slowly running down my arm (at least it wasn't gushing, I think it was staunched somewhat by the formerly white gauze pad which was now a brownish red)  I leave the bathroom holding my arm out with a look on my face much like that Bavarian mustached papa villager in the first Frankenstein movie who walks into the village square where the other villagers are dancing celebrating the upcoming wedding of Dr. Frankenstein to his virgin bride carrying his limp dead daughter with her arms a flopping who was drowned by the Frankenstein monster who ran out of plucked daisies to throw into the sunny village lake.

With my arm out in front of me I say to no one in particular "Look." I guess I could of said something more profound but at the time I was concerned with the steady drip, drip of blood running down my arm.

Vampira the woman who stabbed me took my blood said "I TOLD you to keep pressure on that pad.  You had a big vein." Well, whatever.  Then one of the assistants tells me to sit in a chair.  He rips off the gauze pad, arm hairs and all and wipes the blood off of my arm.  I guess they didn't want me with my bloody arm parading through the waiting room.  After all we are down in chicken processing country where this morning we had already passed two huge flatbed trucks loaded with crates of live chickens on their way to Doom by way of hanging upside down and getting their throats cut.

After the dried blood is wiped off of my arm the assistant applies a new gauze pad and a bigger tape, almost all the way around my arm.  They weren't taking any chances of me spouting blood.  Bad for the rep.  After a few minutes of sitting and feeling like I was a Naughty Boy by not "keeping pressure" on my pad, Morticia the woman says to me "You can go now but KEEP THAT PRESSURE ON!"   Yes ma'am!

I leave, cleaned up, a little woozy (I hadn't had breakfast yet...in fact I still haven't eaten breakfast.  I guess I'll just go through until lunch).  I get out to the truck (Bill's Jeep Cherokee) and as I'm getting in I tell him my Tale of Woe.  I felt like I need some sympathy but he wasn't giving me any.  He did ask me if my arm still hurt.  I told him it did.  Then we were off to the Walmart for our Weekly Fix.

So here I sit this morning, typing this blog posting about my little adventure this morning.  Yes, my arm is still sore.  There is a small bruise but not too horrible.  Of course I have no arm hairs where the bandage was applied.  One thing is for sure, I won't proffer my right arm again for a blood letting.

Now I await the results.

16 comments:

  1. anne marie in philly11:27 AM

    "make a fist" - bwhahahahaha!

    jeebus, what a beeyotch! guess she won't win an "employee of the month" award!

    hoping and crossing everything and sending good karma your way that this test comes back negative!

    smooches!

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  2. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you. I hope the blood gushing out of you is the worth thing that will happen to you in a very long time.

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  3. Anne Marie,

    She is an interesting person. I don't want to cross her. There is a story here but I can't tell it in my blog.

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  4. She sounds like a real "Angel of Mercy"!!! ;)

    Good luck with the results! I'll keep my fingers crossed for you!

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  5. Ron,

    That's a new one. I have a pathological phobia about needles, so getting blood tests has never been a favorite of mine. Had a lot of them when my thyroid went bad. Odd thing, they never hurt, but I just have this needle thing, so I never got use to it. Still I never had blood trickling down my arm after.

    The worse part was getting the dark bandage off, as you said, arm hairs and all. Usually I told the technician, "Never mind the bandage."

    This person doesn't sound very proficient at her trade and her bedside manners certainly need some working on.

    Now lets just hope for the best results, assuming you don't bleed to death first.

    Lar

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  6. Lar,

    The thing is I had stopped going to the Georgetown VA clinic just because of this woman. But after two years of the chore of traveling up to the Wilmington VA for everything, including blood tests, I decided to come back to the Georgetown VA clinic. She was still there! My arm is better now, just a little sore. This is the first time ever I had blood coming down my arm. In all my years and blood tests, nothing like this. No pain though other than a sore arm.

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  7. Thanks Tiger. All well wishes are welcome from all quarters!

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  8. Thanks Nadege. I'm ready for whatever. I have a new focus on life now. I expect the worst so when it doesn't turn out that way I'm pleasantly surprised. So far this has worked my whole life.

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  9. Now really...how were you supposed to put pressure on it AND "give a sample"? Why does giving blood always have a story attached to it...I have a few of my own.

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  10. Ron, I'm praying for your numbers to be very very small (unlike your big veins)!
    much love to you and Bill - Bobbie

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  11. I worked with needles a lot but I still feel scary when thinking of the sharp needle stabbing into my flesh. Ouch!

    Good luck with the coming results Ron!

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  12. Elevated PSA no doubt give men the heebie-jeebies. But prostate health/prostate cancer is so more complex than PSA. Get all the information/options you can and don't assume what option is first given to you as 'the truth'.

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  13. Pumpkin,

    Good point! I needed two hands to "give a sample". I didn't have an extra hand to apply pressure. Fun times.

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  14. Thank you Dr. Spo for your always excellent advice.

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  15. Bobbi (paradykes)

    Thank you so much for your good wishes. There are appreciated!

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  16. Tai,
    Usually the needles don't hurt but this one did, big time. I felt like a knife stabling in my arm. Probably because she stabbed a big vein. Next time it's the left arm.

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