This morning I awoke around eight a.m., early for me since my insomnia didn’t allow me to fall asleep until around four a.m. I stretched and felt warm pressure on my right leg. Oliver in his usual place, behind my legs with his head resting on my calf. He’s always cold like me and he navigates towards anything that emits heat. In the winter he sits so close to the space heaters that I’ll occasionally get a whiff of burnt hair, turning I’ll see his cheek or forehead pushed against the wires. Every few seconds he’ll paw his face where he’s clearly burning his hair and then do it all over again. I’ll have to get up, move him away, and wait until I smell burnt poodle fuzz again. As I was watching Oliver snuggle to my leg I heard F sigh and felt him sit up. I was facing the opposite direction and unsure if I wanted to commit to waking up I closed my eyes and hoped that he would go make coffee.
F: Wake up, Misty.
F: I know you’re awake. Stop pretending like you’re asleep.
Me: Stop talking.
F: Get up. Let’s go get your analysis done. Hurry. Get dressed NOW.
Me: What? NO!
F: Get UP!
Me: NO! I don’t want to! You are MEAN!
Like Oliver I’m not really afraid of things that could actually kill me, rather, I’m terrified of things that are either fictitious or mildly uncomfortable. I am terrified of monsters under the bed and giving blood. I hate the pin prick INTO MY VEIN and then sitting there while the nurse has a metal piece lodged into my blood stream. I can’t wait passively while they suck out my life force.
F: UP! NOW!
Me: This is not how you motivate me in the morning. You didn’t even mentally prepare me for this. I’m not going. You CANNOT MAKE ME!
F: You are worse than a child. Get up. We’ll get breakfast.
Me: YOU CAN’T CALL COFFEE AND A PASTRY “BREAKFAST.” IT IS NOT BREAKFAST! IT’S COFFEE! AND IT’S NOT EVEN REALLY COFFEE BECAUSE IT’S ONLY A THIMBLE OF ESPRESSO AND THERE IS NO COMFORT IN THAT!
F: Sigh. Up. Now. Before you make me mad.
Me: Whatever HULK. Take Oliver to pee. I’ll get dressed but just so you know I do not like you as a human being today. We’re not friends. NOT FRIENDS.
F: Got it. Not friends. Be ready in ten minutes.
We arrived to the piss yellow building where they do the analysis. We took a number, “156” and the digital number thingy said “4.” AWESOME. We waited. We were the youngest people in the room. It was like the the old folks home where my mother used to work. An old man of about three hundred years old walked by holding a clear plastic cup full of yellow liquid. He bumped into me and the liquid sloshed around. I growled. Another older woman with a cane walked by with the same cup filled with the same liquid.
Me: What the?
F: That reminds me!
F left and returned with two empty plastic cups.
F: Urine analysis.
Me: I hate you.
F: I know. But listen, you’re not supposed to carry the cup around. These old people are nuts. You pee in the cup, insert this glass tube and press down. The pee goes into the tube, then you throw the cup away. So you just have to carry this tiny tube to the lady in the back.
Me: How hygienic.
Our number came up. We peed in the cups in the bathroom and carried our pee tubes to the back room. We handed the tubes to a mid-forties nurse with large eyes and a pixie cut. It feels wrong to hand hand packaged body fluid to someone. It’s just not something you give away.
Nurse: Remove your coat. Sit down.
I did it in the pace of a slow loris.
Nurse: Give me your arm.
F: Misty. Give. Her. Your. Arm.
The nurse was speechless, staring at me with wide eyes. I’m sure it was the first time she’d seen a woman my age refusing to cooperate but I was being FORCED and she was going to hurt me. When I was a kid I had a doll. One doll. The purpose of this doll was to accompany me to the doctor so the doctor, Dr. Cathy Coopersmith, could perform everything on the shitty doll FIRST. That way I could see what would happen and then decide to cooperate or not. Where the fuck was that creepy as shit anatomically correct doll?
Me: Sorry. Here.
I flopped my arm on the arm bed that sat propped on the desk. The nurse grabbed five glass tubes and set them next to the arm bed. She took out a needle.
Me: You have to use pediatric needles. I have tiny veins. I’m always cold and I have baby veins!
The last time I’d given blood in a clinic in Utah the nurse jabbed me somewhere around seven times to locate my vein. Finally I stood up and screamed that my arm was going to fall off and that I’d be pissed if I couldn’t clap for the rest of my life because she refused to use needles for freaks with tiny veins. I didn’t want to relive that experience. I also did not know how to say “clap” or “freaks” in Italian.
The nurse nodded and grabbed a baby needle. Tiny. I imagined a toddler. The needle. Heroin. A baby shooting up heroin with a baby needle.
I turned my head to F. “I really do not like you today,” and I turned away from him to face the doorway packed with eager beavers waiting to give their blood away. I practiced breathing. If it worked for labor it probably worked for this too. “Hoo-Hoo Haaaaw.” Was I doing it right? I’ve never given birth. Great. I felt a pin prick. It didn’t hurt. She got it in one shot. If I were a junky I’d want to be friends with this lady. Totally painless. But then I felt dizzy when I thought about the fact that she was STEALING MY BLOOD. Think happy thoughts. True Blood. I couldn’t date a vampire. Could I? They’re so sexy. Romania. Count Dracula. Count Chocola. OOOH! Count Chocoula! I would be a great vampire. Then I felt the metal leave my body. Pressure on my arm. Done.
And nobody gave me a lollipop.
- Nurse ‘got worker to drive to IKEA’ (bbc.co.uk)
- My kids’ schools have no nurse, does yours? (stacylynngittleman.com)