This morning I had to have blood drawn. I don’t enjoy this process.  I went to the normal lab I love, but the woman I know and like wasn’t there.  It was 7:30am.  I’d been fasting so in my rule book I had reason to be crabby, but I wasn’t.  This new woman behind the counter was.  She took my paperwork and sighed with utter exasperation, as if my passing her the paper was putting her over the edge.

“Sorry, it’s been a long day, “she said.  I replied, “It’s rough when it’s long before 9am.”  But I really didn’t mind.  It was unprofessional, but I appreciate people have bad days and it’s not the end of the world.  I’m also really into breathing, and I know that sigh when you let all the air out audibly is good.  So I naively presume she’s feeling better.  She had a good sigh.  The world must be back to normal.

Nope.  She continues sighing as she fills out my forms.  I hope with each sigh that before she gets in the back room with me and a needle she’ll let out all her frustration.

She calls me into the room.  And I give my usual line. “I’m not great at this, but if I don’t look I’m fine.”  Now normally when I say that, that’s when any good phlebotomist starts making idol conversation with me.  Like a good magician they are trained in the art of distraction.  This woman is too focused on her bad day to distract me.

She tied the rubber band around my upper arm, and exclaims “Oh, my God,” in a shocking and somewhat angry voice.  Now I’m trying not to look, but I’m hoping that she is reacting to her own thoughts and not something she has just seen in my arm.  If I had more free time, on principal I might have gotten up then and said, “You know what, I’ll come back another day.”  But I don’t have another day to come back and I hate waiting to eat.  Instead, I say, “Do you want to talk about it?”

A stern “You don’t want to know,” is all I got out of her.  But I did want to know and for utterly selfish reasons.  I wanted to know that my arm was fine.  I wanted to distract her so that I didn’t wind up with a black and blue the size of my hand.  I wanted to ensure blood didn’t start squirting all over the room.  I wanted to ensure I wasn’t about to be stabbed to death with a needle.  (Is that possible?) I didn’t want to know for her.  I wanted to know for me.

In the end it was fine.  I left with my arm intact.  And I found the whole situation amusing.  Sometimes, I guess a sigh of relief just isn’t enough.  Note to self for the next time we run our breathing workshop.