(Photo by Dorsia via Flickr.)
Verbs mean everything. Do-gooders are always pleading for us to "give blood" which I realize is important. But when you are unwilling, the blood is definitely "taken."
I definitely had my blood taken today and it didn't go so well. Some historical insight:
During my first 21 years on Earth, I spent a good chunk in hospitals, at least in the regular annual sense. There was one time I contracted some weird disease (undiagnosed) when all my limbs became paralyzed and my skin flaked off like peeling after a sunburn. Freaky. (My second-grade classmates even made get well cards for me, including one that said: "If you die, can I have your eraser collection?")
Anyway, I got my blood "taken" more times than I care to remember. I always dreaded it to begin with but then there was an Incident which I cannot bring myself to fully revisit here. However, I will say there was much screaming and crying, some blood on the walls and at least one nurse who left the profession after said Incident. My best friend, Cindy, was in the other room and she started crying just listening to it.
Instead of being toughened by all this experience, it has reduced me to a sniveling crybaby who will actually cross the street to avoid walking near a parked Bloodmobile. This phobia also disallows me from seeing films like, "Kill Bill" and "Sweeney Todd."
So, today I met a new doctor and told him of my many mysterious biological developments. Like some grown up woman I'd never met before, I uttered the responsible words: "I really think I should have some blood tested. It's been many, many years and we might get some answers." I did mention my fears but insisted that I could handle it. The kind doctor assured me that they had a great gal who could do this procedure in her sleep with no problems.
But that gal wasn't around. Instead, I got a sweet-but-less-competent woman named Erin, who poked me once, twice and three times before she realized she was in over her head. Wisely, I'd insisted on being horizontal since I planned on fainting but after two arms and the third vein, I began to shake with some deeply rooted primitive fear; my life-giving fluids were being extracted and I was intrinsically against it. As my pal, Lynn, said of blood-drawing, "I hate seeing things leave."
It was when she started apologizing, that my dormant emotions were fully released. "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry," she said, with genuine sincerity, "I don't normally have these problems. Are you okay? Do you need a cold cloth?"
Now I was full-on crying. Even though I was horribly embarrassed, I could not stop. It's so strange how you think you are over something and then it just rises up and says, "Ha! Think again."
Finally, another nurse (the "expert" the doc mentioned earlier) had arrived and did some magical things with my hand and something called a "butterfly." Ultimately, they got the blood they needed and then kindly entertained me with stories of big, burly men who start crying before they are even stuck. I hugged them both and then got the fuck outta there, still shaking.
Then, I went home and watched Season 1 of "Buffy, The Vampire Slayer" and felt better. ("Fucking bloodsuckers! Get 'em, Buff!")
Maybe tomorrow I'll try to be grown up about something else but I think this is one childhood trauma that I am ... er, stuck with.