“Keep your arm straight,” the daytime vampire told me as she drew from the vein in my right arm. Keeping my arm at a 45-degree angle with my body proved to be more of a challenge than anticipated.
“Uht,” she’d say if my arm showed the slightest instability.
This was new to me, this angle. The Indian guy months ago probably could have drawn blood from my arm if he was sitting upside down he was that good. [“Uht.”] My arm was almost flat with him and he still found the vein. It’s definitely the Eastern medicine skills.
This was when I decided to stop looking at the vial slowly fill with liquid Type O Negative and stare outside onto Crouse Ave.
After getting my work appropriately and constructively torn apart (a good thing) by a superior — a great validation to my personal dilemma of not being the writer I want to be (yet, but getting there) and having a lot to learn — I was borderline late for
getting my arm torn apart an appointment. The 18 minutes for arrival is possible if excluding slowed traffic and trying to find a place to park.
At 10:52 a.m., I made it to the general area. There weren’t any spots available in my normal and once failsafe street parking area, and after an illegal k-turn it was off to the less than promising Marshall St. to find a vacant space. (Yeah. Right.)
As time crept to 10:55 a.m., it was time to say to hell with it and park in a garage. It wasn’t until later where it clicked — there may not be enough cash in my wallet to cover the cost, realizing this while in line and waiting to check in; time check — 11:02 a.m. This preceded my being asked to be cut in line by a rough looking middle-aged man who led in with a tap on the shoulder.
“May I cut you? I’m late for my appointment,” he asked. His face was an (in)appropriate length away from mine — Hitch/Will Smith, would have approved it as appropriate first kiss proximity. The man’s breath smelled like stale, counter-aged deli meat — he forgot to brush his teeth or leave the house without a good gargle.
My reluctance lived a half-second. “Uh, I’m actually late, too, but you are polite. Go right ahead,” I replied.
“Really? Are you sure?”
He caught and palmed a cough putting on the required flu mask at the counter, which explains his breath. My recent sickness of epic proportions, a frame story Chaucer could work with, had finally passed, but I still debated putting one on. The main reason being there was a good 82 percent of the people in the office wearing a mask.
Such a situation is comparable to driving in the snow: proceed with caution and drive slow; the main threat isn’t the snow itself, but the other people (drivers/coughers) around.
At 11:08 a.m., it was told my doctor was running about an hour behind. Normally a visit only lasts 20 minutes at its longest, and this includes the grand finale of getting blood drawn. Good thing bills were brought to be paid, books were carried to be read and the laptop was toted in case work needed to be done.
While choosing my seat wisely and away from the masked patients, playing a game of “Duck, Duck, Goose” — more like “No, No, OK” — with the inanimate, poorly cushioned and questionable available seats, my bag barely settled upon one as the nurse stepped out from behind the door and called my name. I looked around with a mask of confusion.
“Me?” I asked.
“Maybe?” she replied.
It was me, luckily.
The doc came into the room two or three minutes after my vitals were taken. We had our eight-minute conversation, which included joking around and talking about how weird the day was going. He dismissed me, and then I proceeded up the stairs to the vampires.
After signing in, the blood stealer came into the room and called my name, yes, before I could sit down — again.
“Can’t I just sit for once?” I asked her.
“What?” she asked in reply.
“Never mind. I can’t find a seat today.” The waiting room was empty, validating the bloodsucker’s confusion. (No, the explanation was not given.)
While the blood was being taken, my arm never perfectly straight for her, I also contemplated my 33 years of blood giving for the sake of health. Not only will this continue to my last day on this planet, or eternity, but I was such a problem as a kid.
I’d be perfect throughout the entire appointment, but when it came time to getting blood drawn, the army of nurses or the army that was solely my father, depending on the day, had to hold me down. It wasn’t until fourth grade when it dawned on me that this one-and-done prick of pain was no sweat at all. Watching the blood fill up the tubes was also kind of cool.
Fasting, however, is a whole different story. Damn my snackatite. Well, at least I am able to have coffee.
Thankfully, I did have more than enough for parking. The most tolling part was the booth worker: Due to the backed up cars due to University area traffic, she stepped away from her post and went from car-to-car, collecting money, using her actively pointing index finger to “keep track” of who paid and who did not.
I play with words and invisible objects.
A mind, a pen and a piece paper have the best relationship ever.
"Remember this--if you shut your mouth, you have your choice."
- F. Scott Fitzgerald