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Tuesday, August 2, 2011


I'm having my first checkup in four years, so I went to Quest Diagnostics this morning to give a blood sample so the doctor would have the results on hand when he sees me next week.

They took four vials of blood: three medium-sized and one small.

About a decade ago, an obese nurse taking blood from me stuck the needle all the way through the vein to the other side, and as a result I had a hematoma in the crook of my arm for a few days.

So this time around, I said to the nurse, "Just so you know, I have thin skin, so you don't have to stick the needle very far in to get to the vein."

She didn't reply, and just looked at me impassively. But I could sorta tell what she was thinking: "He just thinks I don't know what I'm doing because I'm black."

In fact, I would have said that to anybody. But I couldn't very well tell her I could read her thoughts and then add that.

Of course, I could be wrong. Maybe she was just thinking, "What a sniveling little coward."

As it turned out, she did a good job. I'm no lionheart, so turned the other way as the blood was taken. I was looking at the tray as each of the test tubes was set down on it.

I wondered why they needed so much blood. I know they run several tests on it, but if they can get a DNA sample from a little speck of dried blood, they ought to be able to determine my insulin and glucose levels etc. from just one vial.

I also thought, I did a lot of huffing and puffing in the pool to gain those extra red blood cells and the endurance they bring. And now it's all just gone down the tubes. It's basically reverse blood doping. (I have to think that every fitness buff who's ever had blood taken has had the same thought.)

I'm having a checkup for the sake of my health. But losing that much blood can't be beneficial. After all, medicine has moved beyond prescribing leeches.

I just couldn't escape the feeling that they were being wasteful with my blood. But, why would they care? After all, it wasn't their blood.

The whole thing reminded me a little of the federal government.


Anonymous said...

Great Post, I hope your checkup goes well, I'm sure it will, you take very good care of yourself, having no bad habits and working out regularly. They probably took four vials to do a full battery of testing, I've had mine done five times in the past 30 years and have kept all the data and plotted it on Excel. Its interesting to me how some items have changed at different ages in my life. Most of the problems were when I was not making good lifestyle choices.

Good Luck on your tests

Mad Dog

John Craig said...

Mad Dog --
Thank you. I know I'm not supposed to say this, but I think it's basically a big waste of time. I'm only doing it because my parents keep telling me to do it.

You're probably in better health now than 30 years ago.