There was a time when I could look forward to being medically punctured less than once a year. But now a visit to any medical establishment without the extraction of a full blood count (FBC) is a visit wasted.
Yesterday was no exception when more blood was requested by the Vampires in my local hospital to check the breeding progress of my white blood cells. My favourite Dracula, the Bulgarian Dr Needles was obviously off stalking another victim so I had the dubious pleasure of offering my arms up to someone new.
Dr Needles has, I have since found, a rare skill not only in distracting me but also in sweet talking my veins into showing their appreciation and rewarding him with fresh blood. A skill, I appreciate right now, above all others.
So when sitting in front of the stand in doctor, it was the same familiar story of painfully shy veins refusing to yield a single drop of blood. The drill is always the same, present left arm for inspection. Lots of tapping and clenching of fist. Tourniquet. Needle inserted. More tapping and squeezing. Silence. Frown. Apology. More cotton wool and plasters. Right arm presented and repeat process all over again. But as my pulse rate begins to rise and in a hurry to distract me, my new doctor quickly develops a fluent grasp of hairdressing lingo, although he skilfully avoids asking if “I was going anywhere nice on my holidays” this year.
Eventually after an exhausting game of stick the needle in the patient (the medical equivalent of pin the tail on the donkey), a vein is found that is prepared to dribble into a small test tube. Unlike Doctor Needles who effortlessly draws at least 2 phials every time, no doubt in order to wear one around his neck, my stand in doctor seems satisfied with the reluctant offering. And I leave with more plasters on me than the average adolescent after his first shaving experience.
Back in Tuesday for more blood tests to try again for round 2 of chemo.