I finally gave in and attempted to catch up to our pop culture. I picked up the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. I do not usually enjoy fantasy books. I like books relative to a life I could experience no matter how unlikely. Hoping I can spend an eternal life with a vampire husband hampers my suspension of disbelief. That being said… I truly became engrossed in these books and was able to understand the draw at once. It took me only a few days to read each book, but their storyline lingered in my mind.
Last week I went to the doctor. I needed blood tests and was sent to a lab. I used to be terrified of needles. I would love to say I have always been unfazed by needles whether they were putting something into my blood or taking blood out, but my mom might open this blog post. She would be all too eager to tell stories of the nurses chasing me around the waiting areas, so they could hold me down and give me immunizations. Well, I mean really why sit still when I could watch those stoic adults chase me? I do not know when it was that I became immune to the sight of a needle and the slight stab as it pushed through my skin. But somehow, some way, I became completely accepting of the needles and the jobs they did. Maybe it was my weekly allergy shots growing up. It could also have been the regular lab work as seizure medication was adjusted again and again.
On this day I was sent to the lab, there was a young girl sitting across from me. I could tell she was a pro at having blood drawn. Even the phlebotomist was impressed with how still she sat. The girl knew the exact process that would occur as they prepared the needle then filled the vial. This girl was an expert in an area so many adults fear. It made me wonder why. How long had she sat in chairs like these? How many children become tougher than adults for many reasons we wish they could have never learned? Was the particular girl like me and sent there regularly to check the levels of medication in her blood stream? Did she have a condition I have never heard of nor would ever want to become an everyday household word in my home? I hoped not, but her stillness and calmness made me feel a touch of sympathy and a lot of awe for her apparent bravery. I could only hope they would give her a fun, entertaining Band-Aid of Hello Kitty or some super hero. She was a super hero in my eyes.
The new doctor that had sent me to the lab on this particular day apparently is very thorough in her work. She left no test unchecked. My phlebotomist leaned over my paperwork and put label after label on collection vials. The other phlebotomist went through three patients while mine was still marking, labeling, marking and labeling yet again. As I sat there, my mind wandered to the book I was currently on, Eclipse. The suspension of disbelief was suddenly becoming easier and easier. I saw the vials and wondered if I should really lose that much blood in one sitting. I thought of the vampires and their role in these books. I looked at my friendly phlebotomist and attempted to listen to her easy chatter.
My phlebotomist that day probably felt ill-at-ease as I told her about the story of vampires and asked how much blood I could lose in one sitting. I laughed lightly as I told her I had been reading this series as I waited for her to call my name. Yet, she did not need to fear my response to those nine vials sitting in between us. I was so experienced in this field I could point out the healthiest vein for her to use. If it was not for the stroke leaving my left hand not quite as strong and steady, I could probably do this draw myself. I did not gasp as I intently watched the needle pierce my skin. I did not even appear to be counting along as I mentally counted down the vials left. I remembered the awing peace and strength the little girl had displayed. If at her age the discomfort could be masked why couldn’t mine? Besides, I had a Hello Kitty kid Band-Aid sitting there just as I had requested. I understood the joy a simple Band-Aid could offer by placing humor into an otherwise stressful day. The doctor still would be able to run more tests. The Twilight series would still run through my mind. I gained peacefulness from children surrounding me. And most importantly, I knew super heroes and unbelievable strength rarely remained within pages of a book.