Wednesday, June 24, 2009

How NOT to start your day

My doctor ordered some routine bloodwork on Monday afternoon and said I could stop by the lab anytime from 8-5, Monday through Friday. Considering I have to be at work by 8:30 and that I couldn't eat before having the blood drawn, I thought it would be a good idea to go there at 8am to get it over and done with and be able to get on with my day.

So I left my apartment extra early, jumped on the train, and headed for West 14th Street. I arrived at 8:05 and of course the waiting room was already full. Wouldn't you know. So I put my name on the list and took a seat. I think I was 7th or 8th on the list, but people with appointments take precedence, so getting there early wasn't really THAT much help. Particularly since I happened to go there the morning that only one person was working.

I've been to this place before. It's usually pretty quick - two little stations and two nurses - but just my luck, this morning with only one nurse there, it was S-L-O-W. Not anyone's fault, just unlucky that nurse number two happened to be trapped on a subway somewhere. Fortunately I had already alerted all my colleagues to the fact that I might be a few minutes late, but as the clock ticked toward 9am, I really started to worry about the time.

And that's also when I realized that, in my rush to get to the clinic this morning, I'd left the iron on in my apartment. In Brooklyn.

Now each minute that passed felt like three as I imagined burning the whole building down. I sent an email to one of my colleagues explaining the situation because not only would I certainly be late, I also would have to go back home to unplug the alarm before coming back to the office, but on top of that we had a presentation for a pitch to prepare. My timing is awesome.

Meanwhile, there was a Puerto Rican woman with two kids, a boy and a girl, in the waiting room as well. And it was clear that these kids hadn't ever had blood drawn before and were very nervous about it. But instead of telling them things like "It'll be ok" or "don't worry," she was saying things like, "Don't be a baby" and "You better not start crying," in a mix of Spanish and English. The poor kids were getting more nervous by the minute, saying they wished it was already tomorrow so the whole needle thing would be over. I understand. I wanted it to be tomorrow too, so that the whole DAY would already be over.

Finally it was their turn, and they had a drawn-out spat over who would go first. Somehow it ended up being the boy, who we could hear whimpering from the cubicle as the nurse tied the rubber band around his arm. The wimpering turned into full-fledged moaning and sobbing, and then once the pin prick had happened, we could hear the nurse say, "See? That wasn't so bad, was it?" To which he responded, "YES IT'S BAD IT'S HORRIBLE I'M GOING TO DIE I'M GOING TO DIE I'M GOING TO DIEEEEEEE!!!!"

Which is about when the girl reappeared in the waiting area, crying and hoping no one would notice she was hiding in the corner so she could escape the whole ordeal. Instead, her mom and the nurse came for her next and she started crying and screaming and saying she didn't want to do it. We were all waiting, everyone late for work, and so finally the nurse gave up and said she'd take the next patient. Thank goodness. And amazingly, nurse #2 finally appeared at exactly the same time.

The next patient was, mercifully, yours truly. And as I waited at the counter for my paperwork to be processed, I asked the little girl if she wanted to come with me while I had my blood drawn to see how easy it would be. She tearfully declined, saying "You're older than me, so of course it hurts you less!"

So of course I was in and out in about 90 seconds (why do you always have to wait SO LONG for things that are SO QUICK when it's finally your turn???) and nurse number one was trying to convince the little girl to get it over with. Finally she said, "Okay well I've tried to do this the nice way but we're going to have to do it the not-so-nice way, since your doctor said you have to have this done!" Since I was passing by on my way out, I somehow got wrangled into a child wrestling session. She was so adamantly opposed to the whole needle thing that it took four of us two hold her down. She sat on her mom's lap, the first nurse getting the needle ready, the second nurse doing I'm not sure what now that I think about it, and me holding her non-needle arm and trying to convince her to talk to me rather than looking at what the nurse was about to do.

But she insisted, and screamed and writhed right up until the second the needle went in, at which point she calmly said, "Wow." AND THEN STARTED LAUGHING.

I mean really. I waited an additional 30 minutes for that?!

Anyway everyone was really grateful for "that nice lady's assistance," and then I was off on my merry way. To race back to the subway, back to Brooklyn, back up to my apartment, unplug the iron (which hadn't set anything on fire and actually had an auto-off feature, but I wasn't sure), and then BACK into the subway to get back to the office.

If you don't want to suffer from high blood pressure, I recommend you start your morning in an alternative fashion. Frenchy just read this post and asked via skype, "How to finish your day?" To which I replied, not purposely, just magically at the right moment: