Sunday, April 25, 2004

Of Valium & Vampires - 4/12/2004

Michelle doesn't like needles! Doesn't like is putting it mildly. Screaming, hyperventilating, physical restraint are normal reactions of hers that generally make three year olds look brave. Therefore, she was extremely productive at work today on the theory that even something as boring as typing filing labels for accounting was better than thinking about the needle coming at the end of her day. She took "lunch" at 4pm which consisted of three Valium to steady her nerves. I picked her up at 4:30pm to begin the trek to the Bird Man (Doc Andrews for those of you who haven't read the previous post). When we arrived in Newport Beach at 5:15pm she was still remarkably lucid. This would never do. Like a bad episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, I had visions of chasing her screaming through the parking lot just to get a little blood. Doc Andrews agreed and told her to take the remaining two Valium in her possession. His exact recommendation was "chew them so they disolve faster". Michelle does not recommend this to anyone unless you have a large supply of breath mints handy as Valium does not taste good. Five Valium...enough to knock out a horse, or start a new addiction, seemed like a good idea. Sadly though, Michelle could still recite lines from Shakespeare. It was not working! Her mother warned me that however loopy she might be, as soon as there is a needle within thirty feet of her she would sober up immediately. Who knew!

I had to tell her that we were not taking time off work and driving all the way down here again. She would just have to get her blood drawn today. She was having none of it. I resorted to drastic tactics. I bribed her with the promise of Cheesecake Factory for dinner. I think I heard a sound of agreement through the tears that were beginning. The nurse was trying to help by saying that lots of people have this fear and they all do fine. She might as well have been saying blah blah blah blah because I am sure that is what Michelle heard. The nurse did think ahead and offer to spray the cold stuff that numbs the area. They use this on little kids. Michelle was very grateful, although she said later that it didn't help much. At this point, the vampire moved in the for the kill. I was holding onto Michelle as she buried her face in my shirt and cried. The vampire stuck the needle in and bleeding began...about two minutes later. Apparently, Michelle has the thickest blood in the known world and it flows very slowly. At least I never have to worry about her bleeding to death while waiting for medical attention. That's a load off my mind. The vampire only needed two vials of my blood, but Michelle had to ask for a quick Diabetes check. Oops, that required another vial of blood. She had to give three. This only took moments in my case but for Michelle it seemed like the vampire worked for an hour. Really it went by quickly but when you are sobbing into your husband's shirt, it seems like an eternity. It ended without incident. The vampire quickly withdrew from the room and Michelle was disappointed that she did not get a lollipop.

Now, here comes the interesting thing...apparently we both needed a TB test. Who knew! In the old days, there was a four-pronged, corn holder thingy (that's a technical term) that they scraped on your forearm area. In a couple of days you new you were in trouble if your arm was all red and itchy. But now, thanks to medical advances, they use a very thin needle, stick it under your skin and lift up while injecting what I believe is live TB into your arm. I have to admit, this was painful. Even though I said it only hurt a little, Michelle was thinking you might as well cut her arm off with a butter knife. Once again, the vampire moved in with the cold stuff, a little spray and poke and it was all over. Again, no lollipop. What has happened to the medical profession? Where are all the lollipops? Not even mention of a balloon or sticker. This place sucks!

So, for the pleasure of adopting a beautiful little girl from China, we had to get poked, prodded, pee and have our blood sucked out by the vampire. Oh, and pay about $700 to make sure we hadn't been around any birds lately. With our horrible bleeding and check writing ordeal at an end, we headed off to Cheesecake Factory to console ourselves with food. Hey, my pants don't fit anymore, but that's another story.

** Interesting note: my 120 lb wife took five Valium, gave three vials of blood and was still able to walk upright and recite Shakespeare, correctly I might add. Clearly death by drug overdose is not an option for her.

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