Monday, 7 September 2009

I’m so bloody stupid!

There are times when I’m really convinced that I have learning difficulties. Take this morning, for instance. Why did I have to open my mouth and stick most of my foot in it when the pretty young registrar came round to ask me how I was feeling?

The young lady in question is very charming. Each weekday morning she checks up on me on behalf of my consultant and then reports back to the big man if there are any problems. And my God is she thorough.

“Did you have a good weekend?” she asked.

“Fine, thanks,” I replied.

“And how is the pain?” she enquired.

“Not too bad except I keep getting muscle spasms and contractions in my thigh,” I replied, trying to be helpful. I could have bitten my tongue as soon as the words tumbled from my mouth. I knew I'd made a mistake as her eyes narrowed and she examined my leg.

“Are you eating bananas,” she asked.

“Er… yes,” I replied, somewhat bemused.

“I think we need to check your blood salts,” she declared. And with that she drew back the curtains and exited the room.

I swear that no more than a minute elapsed before a phlebotomist appeared at the foot of my bed. She must have been hovering like a vampire outside my door just waiting for the signal to descend like some bride of Dracula. I didn’t even have time to string up a row of garlic or retrieve the crucifix from the bedside cabinet.

“Date of birth!” she barked.

You can always tell a professional blood taker in a hospital. It’s not the white coats and the ever-present little tray in their hands, but for some reason the typical phlebotomist invariably sports peroxide hair, a fake tan that could embarrass an Oompa Loompa and more make-up than an Elizabeth Arden warehouse. There’s a sadistic look about them that can freeze the blood and cause your veins to collapse in double-quick time.

“Do you have any baby needles,” I asked in a feeble voice. She ignored me.

“Which is your best arm?” the harpy snapped.

“Neither,” I replied. “I’m not very good with blood.”

She took not a blind bit of notice as she trussed up my left arm with a piece of rubber tourniquet and then slapped it with all the tenderness of Miss Whiplash with a nasty case of PMT. Before I could wince she muttered something about a sharp scratch and plunged a needle the size of a crowbar into my arm as though she were harpooning a whale.

I’m not really sure what happened next as I’m certain I momentarily passed out, only to come round as she was taping a large ball of cotton wool over the crater left by her lancet.

So you’ll forgive me if I sign off now as I’m still feeling rather weak from this vicious assault by someone who so obviously enjoys their work. Please, God, prevent me from opening my big mouth the next time the nice young lady comes round to ask me how I am.


  1. Try this needle-linked game to while away a few weeks of boredom:

  2. FYI:Baby needles are kept for the special people who have really suffered- like me for example! MY vein actually collapsed after stupid cockney nurse (who, funnily enough, was blonde and wore a lot of make up!) stabbed me quite a few times in an attempt to draw blood!

    I now ask for lovely Pam who is an expert and called my veins 'noodle veins'. Sometimes, if I'm lucky, my blood will be taken by the chief vampiress (otherwise known as the head of the department in taking blood).

    Love the blog!

  3. i feel sorry for you needles are horrible and to be done by an evil vampire is the fire in a abyss

  4. FYI - you have made in Australia. The blog is fantastic, while i do hope you get better soon i will miss your witty observations

  5. Oooh you poor thing. I share your misery and bad experiences with phlebotomists the world over. I recently had bypass surgery, and I'm sure I gave more blood than I came home with. Chin up fella, come visit us in Oz when you are feeling better, and released for good behaviour.

  6. I found the phlebotomists were the only ones who could get blood out of my veins with the minimum of fuss. The junior doctors would just gouge around in the hope of hitting anything. One took 9 attempts before the phlebotomist took over saying, "Dunno what your problem is here, Dr X, Mrs Jones has lovely veins...." and doing it first go! They were good with arterial blood samples too - didn't hurt at all.

  7. I was amused by your blog at first.

    Then it became predictable.

    Then like a whinger trying to sound funny, while not declining any of the treatment he was mocking.

    By the time I got to this one I was thinking you should have stopped when you'd typed the title.

  8. Please don't read the blog if you find it so tedious.

  9. s/warehouse/whorehouse/g

  10. Needles, needles, needles, Ouch!
    I had to have blood taken after hours of fasting. My veins hid of course. I was at our local blood collections centre and had arrived as soon as they opened, but joined a queue of other fasters - desperate to get the blood took and have a flat white and a croissant from the cafe round the corner. So, eventually, I was taken in and my shy veins were tutted over. A long while and a lot of hopeless prodding in a variety of places later, Head Blood Taker came in and drew blood at 3rd site (back of wrist). I had fainted by this time and was lying down. Before I went back through the waiting room, the HBT ripped off the cotton wool balls and tape from two of the sites - " don't want to frighten people, do we!". I staggered off wan and feeble to be cheered by caffeine!

  11. Went to have blood taken the other day during a pre-op and the phlebotomist was exactly as you described here, with the peroxide blonde hair and all. Couldn't help but laugh as I remembered your description. Oh dear.