Opinion: Drawing first blood, again

Commentary by Dick Wolfsie

I had blood drawn the other day. I don’t envy phlebotomists. Imagine having a job where everyone hates you for what you are about to do, and the first thing you say to the person is “make a fist.” Plus, when she tells people she’s a phlebotomist, a lot of her patients think she has six husbands.

My technician, Shirley, uses the same joke every time. She looks at me with flirty eyes and says, “It’s too bad you’re married. You’re my type.” I laughed at this for my first few appointments, but I have my own joke for my next visit. When she tells me what a tough day she’s had, I’ll tell her to just go with the flow. I’m not sure how much longer we can keep this up. Probably ’til my LDL goes down.

Shirley says there are two kinds of people in the world: Those who watch when the needle goes in and those who don’t. She says those who stare are usually uptight, aging baby boomers who are control freaks. Ever since she mentioned that, when she sticks me, I tell her what lovely eyes she has or how interesting the clinic ceiling is.

Shirley also likes to sneak in a little medical advice of her own. She tells me Cheerios would be good for raising my HDL. Or was it that Wheaties will lower my LDL? All I know is, she doesn’t think much of Count Chocula and Fruit Loops.

How long are you supposed to keep that silly cotton ball and bandage on your arm?  I rip it off the second I walk out the door. My wife thinks if you remove the bandage, you jeopardize your health insurance coverage. At her last yearly check-up, she just told the phlebotomist to take off the old bandage and stick her in the same place.

When I left, Shirley confirmed my personal information…

“And is that your correct birth date, March 5, 1947?”

“Well, I’d like to change that to l957.”

Incredibly, she took her pen and scribbled something on the page.

I walked out of the office on cloud nine. My cholesterol may still be sky high, but I felt 10 years younger.