The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.

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6:41pm on Friday, 25th September, 2009:



When I got up this morning, there was a cup of tea waiting for me. I was staggered: my wife has only ever made me two cups of tea in our entire 24 years of marriage, so it was rather a pleasant surprise to find she'd done it again.

It turned out she hadn't. The cup was there from last night, when I'd made myself a bed-time drink but not drunk it.

Hmm... I'd got up fairly early for a Friday, I hadn't had anything to eat or drink since teatime the day before — I could go for the blood test my doctor set me up for when telling me I had a 1 in 4 chance of dying before the age of 60 earlier this week. Ah, but the kidney test meant I needed not to have had any meat the previous day. Thinking about it, though, I hadn't.

So, off to the new Colchester walk-in centre I went. Yes, the old new one lasted only 3 years, and now we have a new new one...

Now I'm pretty good with needles. I've had uncountable injections for dental work, and plenty of inoculations. I've only had two blood tests before, though. On the first occasion, they couldn't get any blood; on the second occasion, they got plenty. However, both times I felt ill during the process. This never happens with inoculations or gum-numbing jabs, just with blood tests.

Still, probably just a coincidence!

I told the in-her-20s nurse that she might have trouble finding a vein, and she scoffed at the idea. It still took her 3 stabs to get one, though. I knew the moment she succeeded, though, because I felt my blood pressure drop. It didn't drop because she took out enough blood to reduce the volume in my body significantly, it dropped because that's how my body reacts to being stabbed in a vein. I swiftly felt sick, broke out in a cold sweat, and if she'd spent another 30 seconds extracting my precious bodily fluid I'd have been passing out. However, she got what she wanted and I was able to lie down and recover before I got to the stage where black patches dance across my field of vision.

I've never fainted in my life, and I'm not at all squeamish, but nevertheless it does look as if taking blood out of me could cause it. I've no idea why. My dad is a blood donor, who has given over 50 pints of AB- in his life without any worry at all. His mother was also a blood donor, who only stopped when the needle broke in her arm once. I tried to give blood in my first year at university, but had to go to a lab before it got to my turn; I suspect now that I'd have keeled over before they got a pint, so it's probably just as well.

Still, at least today I remembered to change shirts to a short-sleeved one before I went, which probably saved me further anguish.

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Copyright © 2009 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).