This morning I got up to do a few medical errands. I was scheduled for standard blood tests to go along with my yearly physical. Because I am starting a new job, I decided to put all this on my old insurance and just get it done. I also scheduled a check up with my dermatologist, two dental appointments and some other stuff-- OK, a colonoscopy-- there I said it. My doctor has considered me number one for 10 years. I guess after all this time we are now so close he needs a picture.
Blood tests require fasting. I am pretty good in the morning and can usually put off eating. I was, however; thinking about getting blood tests on other occasions... like when you get married. On one of those outings, a woman went in for her blood test, and fainted; crashing to the floor from the little chair. Of course I could only see this in silhouette through the "sheet." It was a bit like a scene from Hitchcock's psycho. The phlebotomist got her off the floor and she promptly got sick. They finally got the wobbly, and soon to be bride, to the bathroom. Shortly there was a small flood of water coming from under the sheet. She had apparently clogged the toilet with paper-towels.
I think it was a sign.
Back to this morning. I put my paperwork in the basket on the receptionists desk at the lab-- the empty basket. I am thinking the wait won't be too long. I am diddling with my new Blackberry, harassing my friends on Facebook, when my name is called.
The nurse introduces herself, while handing me the sacrificial urine cup. I freeze, the last time I was in this place, it was so busy that I thought I was at a Snapple convention. People walking here and there with samples in hand. "Mr. Johndrow, when you are done, there is a toolbox locker in the Men's room for that." she said waving the plastic Bio-Hazard bag. That news alone saved me from becoming catatonic-- really.
I'll save you the details, but when I was done, I was led to the "chair." Apparently, they have learned something about taking blood since that episode some years earlier. This chair, you can't fall out of! I think it is the same one they used to film the Green Mile.
"Just a pinch, sir," said the woman in charge of sticking me with a needle. "You look a little faint too sir."
"No, I am just hungry. I haven't eaten anything." I said. "well, 3 cups of coffee, but that is not eating.
"Sir, this is supposed to be a complete fast." she said.
"Don't worry, I drink 3 cups of coffee everytime I do this-- it's my baseline." I assured her.
"We have snack bags, I'll get you one." She said as she labeled my vials. They have an apple, crackers and a bottle of water."
"As long as it's not Snapple, that's fine." I replied.
She gave me an odd look, and handed me the bag.
I went and sat in the chapel, prayed for my family and friends and ate my apple. I was a nice feeling sitting there looking out at the trees. They had a Bible the size of Rhode Island, and it was opened to Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope."
After my little snack, I headed to the 5th floor to my dermatologist. I usually go twice a year to keep an eye on some of the things that grow on my aging skin. I was a bad boy and I skipped my appointment six months ago. I got the standard all-over examination which abruptly ended with "get dressed, we need to get you to the surgery room."
Hmmm... what's this all about? I thought to my self. I slipped on my shirt, tied my shoes and then headed across the hall where I undressed again. Half naked, I could see the valet parking attendants in the cul de sac below. I stepped back from the blinds. It's that same feeling I get looking out the window of a jet at 35.000 feet.
The doctor started to say something that kind of sounded like the teacher in the Charlie Brown cartoons. I confess, once she hit me with the Novocaine needled I was concentrating on the pinch and burn sensations in nine locations on my body. The sound of the cauterizing thingy is a little scary. The smell of alcohol was overcome by the sizzle of burning flesh. Nice. The must be what it smells like in heaven, that burning flesh smell.
The nurse finished me off, dressing my wounds. There was talk of biopsies and melanoma. I wasn't listening, they can't tell me anything today.
It does make me ponder my faith. There must be a better way then having all this health-care.
Luke 4:40 When the sun was setting, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, He healed them.
And that's why I don't want a Federal Health-Care system.