I was 24 years old and working for a life insurance company that I have since realized has reestablished my belief in karma. It went belly up and crumbled like dry cookie, as it should. Anyway, one good thing about working there was that it was the first time I had really great health insurance. Taking advantage of this big-girl benefit, I scheduled my first routine physical. Even though I knew there were a few really gross things they were going to do to me, I was excited to get it all for free.
Waiting in the doctor’s office I chatting casually with a woman I had never met. We both admitted we hated needles and how these types of medical procedures made us nervous and sick – you know, small talk.
“See you later; good luck,” I said to her sarcastically when they called my name to come on in to the “other room.”
First thing’s first; they needed to draw my blood for the many, many free scans for incurable diseases, inexplicable deficiencies, inoperable tumors and, of course, pregnancy. Every woman knows that when you’re in your twenties you are screened for pregnancy at every possible check point, including the dentist and the hairdresser.
I walked into the room and was greeted by a very nervous-looking male nurse. He gestured for me to sit down in what appeared to be my third grade desk/chair combination.
Visibly shaking, the male nurse began poking my forearm with the needle, and informed me, in an extremely nasal voice, that this was his first time. I suspected there were a few other major events that he had yet to experience as well. No surprise his needle did not find its way to my vein (pun intended), but I cut him some slack, because he had never done this before. After his third attempt, wiggling the needle all around the vein area, I could feel the blood drain from my face while nausea swirled in my stomach. The room faded to black, and my body began slipping through the desk/chair.
Even in an imminent state of unconsciousness, I worried that my slippage was going to look unfeminine. My nylon-covered legs bent out like a drunken ballerina, pushing my classy office dress up all the way to my waist, revealing my not-so-classy, white underwear.
Next thing I remembered, I was being smacked across the face by a female doctor who was clearly irritated to be there. The nerdy nurse stood across the room looking like a boy who had just been caught stealing a dirty magazine. I glanced down at my body and noticed my dress had been neatly pulled back down in position, and my arms and hands were folded over my chest like a corpse in a coffin. The desk/chair was on the opposite side of the room, which meant nerd boy had dragged me across the room, fixed my dress and then prepared for me to die!
The lady doctor asked nerd boy what happened. Still traumatized by the event apparently, he said nothing. So I answered. From the floor.
“He attempted to draw my blood, you see, and after several tries, I began to feel faint.” She listened intently, but didn’t question why I was the one articulating the answer. “I believe at that point, I lost consciousnesses.”
This seemed to please the room and wrap up the mystery. I was then placed on a gurney and wheeled out into the waiting room passing right by my new woman friend who is afraid of needles. I am guessing she split after that.
I phoned my supervisor from the insurance company to let him know I would be late because I had fainted at the doctor’s office. He burst out laughing and said, “Figures.” Refer to karma item in opening line.
I am happy to report that I eventually did have my blood drawn successfully and received the medical benefits I was due. I have since experienced years of probing and prodding, nervousness and nausea, humiliation and accusations – all for free. Who says we need healthcare reform?
So like something my childhood comedic idol, Gilda Radner, would say as her popular character, Roseanne Roseannadanna: “It’s always something. If it’s not a job with lousy benefits, it’s a job with medical coverage that includes untrained wimps, wielding dangerous pricks that leave you lying half-naked on the floor.”