The other day, I had to go and get my blood taken for a run-of-the-mill test related to my annual check up. Since it’s summer time, and my kids each has a schedule that changes daily, it took a bit of extra scheduling to find a time that I could get my kids to their various camps and still have time to stop at the lab, before my first appointment of the day.
On top of that, I was supposed to fast for at least 12 hours prior to the test – something I am not good at – and I knew I was only good until about 10:30 before I would start either seeing stars or screaming at someone.
I found the time, delayed my first appointment, dropped two children off, took my third child and the dog (who somehow managed to tag along unbeknownst to me until it was too late) and headed for the lab.
I am not squeemish.. and really don’t get concerned about these sorts of things. I have always prided myself on having “good” veins.. this is what they tell me – and aside from my “good posture” award in 1st Grade, I am most proud of this personal achievement – good veins.
So I check in at the lab and notice that the receptionist is doubling as the phlebotomist – not a good sign, but I decide that I’m in a hurry and I’m going with the program. I ask her how long it will be and she gives me a sidelong squint and tells me it will be 10 to 15 minutes.
That wouldn’t seem so bad if I wasn’t the only person there in the lab. But, tail between my legs, I head to my seat and wait.
Once she felt she had punished me sufficiently (about 12 minutes) she called me to come in and asked me which arm I would like to have the blood drawn from. I told her the left, which was a big upset for her. She had been prepared for the right arm and now had to move the small pieces of gauze and the large rubber arm strangulation tape to the other side of my chair.
Still trying to make chit chat and cheer her up (after all, the woman was about to stick a needle in my arm – I really was hoping to minimize the crankiness) I ask her if she thinks I have good veins – as I’ve been told this many times.
She looks me dead in the eye and tells me matter-of-factly, no – you do not have good veins. They are small, I can’t find them and I’ll be lucky to get enough blood for the test.
Well! So much for trying to make conversation with the phlebotomist! But in that moment, I saw that her mood was her mood and nothing I was going to do was going to change it. All I could do was to be respectful and kind.
We’ve all felt the way she might have felt that day – overworked and under appreciated. And sometimes we don’t want to be “cheered up.” We just want to be treated nicely and left alone.
So what is the lesson here?
Don’t take a job as a receptphlobotist? Or maybe it’s to remember to not put too much stock in having “good veins?”
Perhaps the lesson is to assume nothing and be as nice as possible. Most people are doing the best they can, even if it isn’t that great.
At least I still have good posture.