So I almost fainted again today. This is a recurring theme with me and getting my blood drawn. The upside is, most times there are pretty nurses involved. I know what you’re thinking, “But Dan,” you’d say. “You are an Emergency Medical Technician. You have seen horrible motorcycle accident victims covered in blood and you were fine. You saw people get stuck with needles for IVs all the time. You just wrote a pretty bloody novel. You even have a picture folder dedicated solely to your bloody injuries, and most of them are close-ups. That one of your knuckles, you can almost see the bone. You have 7 piercings, most of them you did yourself. How come you get woozy when you get your blood drawn?”
I don’t know. There’s just something different about a needle sliding into your arm and blood bubbling out into one of those plasma tipped vials that is different than a needle going in and through an ear, nose, etc. The funny thing is, I know I will get nauseous, sweaty, light-headed so I look away when they start. But then I feel the need to turn back and watch the tube slowly filled with my rich crimson blood. A deeper hue than the bright red when it is exposed to oxygen from a cut or scratch. Maybe I think that this time it will be different. This time I can sit impassively by as my lifeblood flows out of my arm. But nope. Every time, I feel like I’m going to faint, just like the first time.
I was 11 or 12 when it happened. I had to get my shots updated. Lying on the examination table/ chair I felt fine. Then I followed my Mom up front so she could pay the copay. I remember looking out to the waiting room, then seeing white spots appear. The white spots grew bigger until they totally blocked out my vision. Everything started turning gray, and at this point I started freaking out and stumbling around because, Hey! I was going blind. As everything faded to black, I hit my head on a filing cabinet and went down.
I came to in the arms of a pretty blond nurse. I was laying on the floor and my head was cradled in her lap. Being 12, that was OK with me. Eventually, they let me up and led me back to the table to lay down again. They said that it was because I had just eaten, all the blood was centered around my stomach and not enough went to my head. I didn’t much care about the reason at that point.
Every time since then, I feel woozy when I have my blood drawn. This morning was no different. The nurse came in and got things ready. She started asking me about my family and what I’d been up to. Like always, I looked away when she put the needle in, but then I had the urge to look. She got through one vial and switched to another one before I could feel it coming on. Then I heard a strange sucking sound. Apparently my vein had collapsed. She drew the needle most of the way out so I could see the diagonal cutaway of the tip just coming out of my skin. The vial looked like someone had blown bubbles in it. I guess I was going into shock and my body shut down the blood flow. Which is pretty cool. Anyway, she made me lie down, then got reinforcements. She came back in with a pretty nurse who came over to my side that had already been stuck. They put my legs up into the Trendelenburg position (raised 8-12 in.) to let gravity force some of the blood in my legs back up to my head where I needed it. They also gave me a lollipop to get some sugar in my system since I hadn’t eaten anything yet. That helped. The first nurse basically said, “Here, you’re pretty; you distract him while I fill up these last three vials.” It seemed to work since I didn’t feel nauseous again.
So that’s my story about getting blood drawn. I know I’ll feel woozy, but odds are there’s a kind nurse around that will help me feel good enough to stay conscious. Either that or some vestige of manliness tries to hold on and not show weakness in front of a woman. Most times, it works. If not, I end up on the floor with a nurse waking me up a few seconds later.