Saturday, February 7, 2009

Good Vampires Wear Gloves

I was supposed to get lab work done yesterday... to rule out urology concerns, but didn't realize they closed at 3pm. I had been there in December and they closed at 6. I wasn't fasting and so I elected to get other things done first before going out.

And so I ended up going this morning.


I called early this morning to confirm the time with what I looked up on the computer. She told me they had a line to the door or out the door, not sure and there were no seats left.

Okay. I asked if it would be any better if I meandered through at 11am. She said no.

But I waited and got there at 11:40. They were packed! But at least there were 3 empty chairs. The receptionist was somewhat gruff and said if I am staying would be an hour's wait. I smiled, said I was and that I had a good book. She didn't smile back. Okay.

So I sat down to wait my turn. More people came in. Only one tech.

Instead of reading, I decided to people watch instead. People were all pretty upbeat and friendly. That would be highly unusual for the an equivalently packed Emergency waiting room.

There was the chatty 20 something guy talking with the 30ish something couple, the mother and teenage daughter who seemed to get along well, other older people...some couples all chatting in the next section of face to face chairs. At least the chairs were comfortable.

Then I got through a couple of chapters in my book, but got distracted when the mom with her 2ish little boy began reading out loud to him. He was sooo cute! She was reading interactively with him, asking him questions. He would proudly blurt out the answers with his little husky voice pronouncing his Ls like Ws. He stole the show. :)

Then I was starting to get bored and so I counted the number of people in the room. 18 before me. That wasn't good. But then I started trying to match up people who were coupled together and it wasn't so bad. I wasn't sure on some of them but with the criteria I was turns out I was right.

Then the receptionist got up and closed the blinds on all the windows, and the door and locked the door.

That just seemed so funny to me. No doubt an act of learned desperation on her part.

I was facing the door which you could see through. I wondered what I would do if faced with a pleading last minute patient? You know...knocking, making pleading eye contact with me and yelling S-T-E-L-L-A as they dropped to their knees.

I decided I too was glad she dropped the blinds. I might have cracked and bolted to open the door... or looked away in shame, yet secretly happy I was part of the special people that got to stay inside... the privileged few. Yep..we were the in crowd.

And I wasn't so nice that I would give up my place. "Hey.. come in. you can have my seat. I'll do this another day."

Also...I quickly learned that I never would've made it to the door anyway.

Sweet teenage girl got a call on her cell and so promptly got up and walked over to the door, just about to put her hand on the door nob ...when the receptionist...who seemed to be lying in wait for just that moment verbally pounced on her with a SHOUT, "You CAN'T go out THAT door!" She scared the girl and made me jump a little too.

Geez I wondered? WHAT happened in the past that is causing her to react so strongly? Was there a patient stampede for the phlebotomist once upon a time??? Do people actually plaster themselves against the glass windows like mushed fish faces while pleading to come in?

But people were leaving out the door. Maybe there is some Labcorp universal law that if one waiting patient opens the locked door... mayhem will result.

So teenage girl came back to sit down and talked in hushed tones on her phone.

Then I began to imagine some disaster happening outside and this was the group of people I'd be trapped with. Hmm... we all seem nice enough... well except for gruff receptionist. And the bathroom is nice, clean and roomy. ( I am always planning for the whizzie winkles :)

Then the receptionist commented they hadn't eaten or taken a break since they got in the door 1st thing in the morning and I knew she wasn't doing sympathy fasting. (try doing that for a whole shift. Sorry.. but day people do expect to get their breaks. ED people get them when they can or never.. no sympathy here.. been there- done that) But then I realized... but if you are a day person who is used to the 10:30 coffee break it is probably more difficult for you to miss it then for people who are used to not getting breaks. All a matter of perspectives. Maybe if you have a cushy schedule all can just never acclimate to the Saturday morning from hell. ?

Then the little boy got called in. They brought him in to a separate room. I was feeling sorry for him. I was expecting to hear his screams... but instead I heard... "Make a fist. WHAT a GOOD boy!" Not a peep out of that brave little guy. I've seen adults whimper like babies before they even get the needle!

Then my name was called. (Gruff receptionist was right. It was about an hour wait.)

Oh GREAT! I've got a tough act to follow! Now I can't even whimper and will have to be brave. Darn kid! ;) Seriously though...I did say, "Well... since that little guy was so brave, I guess this means *I* can't cry." :)

I told her where my guaranteed blood spigot was and she didn't wan't to know. "Okay..great!" I was thinking. "She has an ego about this and I really am going to have to endure multiple needle sticks because she wouldn't listen."

She did ask which arm and I gave her "the" arm... the one with the spigot...which btw...there have been many who still couldn't find the spigot.. no matter how long I clenched my fist or they tapped around.

So she wiped the guestimated spot with an alcohol wipe and proceeded to tap me a couple of times with her glove on after which she announced it was right where it is. THEN she asked me where and I said she was right. She stuck me once and siphoned the blood out.

She actually impressed me because she didn't take her glove off once to feel for a vein and got it on the 1st stick.

I told her I was impressed and then lamented how a lot of medical staff will cleanse you with the alcohol, then take their glove off and tap around with their bare finger which is probably not sterile. Then they will stick you with the needle even though they didn't rewipe your arm with alcohol. That always seemed against protocol to me and put people at risk for infection. She agreed and told me that you could report someone for that. I wouldn't do that but from now on... I will politely ask for another alcohol wipe before inserting the needle.

The tech I had there in December did that and I mentioned it to her after the fact. She didn't seem to appreciate what I was saying. I was nice about it. And I have seen staff do that in hospitals and doctor offices. Some do it with their gloves, but I think more have to have skin to skin contact to find a difficult vein. But really... what is so hard about wiping the spot one more time first after they have found the vein?

Anyway...this woman was quite the proficient lab vampire and is why I have concluded that good vampires wear gloves. :)


Elaine said...

Not the best time for me to read this post - I have had so many needles attacking me recently and I hardlly have a vein left, never mind a guaranteed spigot!

SeaSpray said...

Hi Elaine - I am sorry to hear that. I hope you are all right. ? I will come over to visit later. right arm can always produce and I can show them where. This woman was good though. She only tapped me with her GLOVED finger twice and she knew.

I usually give them that arm in SDS but if admitted it works against me because I am a righty and am constantly setting the monitor off..but I reset it. Annoying though.

It definitely hurts when they have to probe around..with the back of the hand being the worst.