Blood work …

25 07 2008

This sucks.

Yeah great way to start a blog post, hu?

I’ve been having massive problems with concentration and keeping myself on my feet lately. I don’t know about the rest of the world, but Colorado has been stuck in a heat wave. I could handle heat in Northern California but there’s something called WATER in the air there! Here it’s been killing me. I tried doing walks where I was only going a few miles from my car to make sure I was keeping hydrated and I’ve been dying. …

and it is PISSING ME OFF!!!

Being pissed off doesn’t help anything, of course … just a snake eating it’s tail.

Since the mess with the post office, I’m uninsured again until (hopefully) October. This means trying to get in to see a doc is more or less impossible. After my third week of nearly passing out at 8 p.m. most nights and not sleeping through, I stopped into the health center on campus to find out how much blood work would cost. At least that kind of a diagnostic test would be able to rule some things out, hopefully, before the Idaho Springs 1/2 Marathon on, I think, 16 August. I need to get some training in. Turns out they had a test that is for fitness … and I could have everything tested from Anemia to Thyroid for under $100. Cool.

Anyone who knows me knows I have a complete fear of needles. It’s fairly irrational, but I cover it somewhat. It comes from a life of having crappy blood tests since approximately day one. Most people from this list would probably see me after a race — when veins are doing what veins are supposed to do. Meet me at a normal period in time and you’ll see that there aren’t any coming out for a visit. It’s always been that way. I gave blood to my fire partner once and it took an act of God to get it out of me – but Jen was my fire partner and friend … and I was there.

The most sticks it’s taken prior to this point has been about 10. When I had to have an IV, they came close to doing it in my foot … which anything away from the arms is pretty painful. I figured that because of my exercising, it wouldn’t be terrible and I’d be on my way.

My last day of history class (complete with having to choke down a 636 page book on FDR’s New Deal) was today – Friday. I asked the prof if I could run over and do the blood thing really quick as I’d gone down at the track … again. He’s a former runner and athlete himself at plus 60 and he said “GO! No more falling over!!”

Four hours later, four women trying to stick me and in excess of that 10 stick record, I was a mess. I’d been drinking about 56 oz of water several times a day and it appeared I was still dehydrated. I’d done the stupid fast thing, and felt like dying. We started in one room and Sonja got about 1/2 a teaspoon of molasses thickness red stuff before my vein said “Oh … I think I want to keep this all for myself.” As she was reaching for the cotton ball, I’d already sealed up. She tried a bit more and then it was more water for me. The problem was the water was cold and the room highly air conditioned. By about 10 minutes, I was shaking. I went outside to warm up … came back in and we tried the Blood Pressure Tourniquet, hands under scalding hot water and more water. Then back outside to warm up again.

They weren’t hip to my saying “trust me … let me walk around the building … I can get some veins.” Nope. Sat there with one of the nurses as she had her cigarette and I was shaking. Soaking gauze in water, shoving it in the microwave and covering it with a t-shirt while I was under two lab coats and a blanket. Started shaking … even though I was in a warmer room … back outside I went. I wasn’t giving anything up it appeared.

Fourth person — a gal who is in the service with about 40 years of nursing etc. Just back from latest tour … and really appreciated my attitude … we were laughing. I wasn’t going to let this get me down.

“You’re doing this voluntarily, I see.” Martha started.

“Well – if you can get blood out, might as well do it all!” I said as she was searching for a tinsy site.

At least they didn’t even bother with normal size needles on me – I’m a butterfly girl. Martha said she was amazed at the level of pain I was able to endure as they wandered the needles up through veins. It was far from pleasant, but I am on a mission. I want to KNOW what my cholesterol is … my CBC and Electrolytes … my anemia level and all those other things they talk about on all the medical shows.

We had me rolled tipping off the far edge of the table with my fairly long arm dangling toward the ground. Martha (fortunately rather short) was sitting on the ground and trying to coax blood flow with the back end of a syringe. It was no go. After all the sticks, I’d yielded at a MAXIMUM a tablespoon of goey thick blood.

There was nothing to do but either start on my knees and feet or let me go. I was pretty traumatized and Martha didn’t think she’d get anything. I had about an hour left of my last class and was feeling really woozy. I snacked a 20 gram protein Clif bar and ambled over in the sun. My seminar class has 6 of us in there and was in full swing. I must have looked terrible because everything stopped when I came in. I didn’t have one cotton ball attached, but I know I fell in to my chair and watched things just look … strange.

I was able to somewhat participate on the book before mine and then it was my turn. I’d barely gotten through the book that started out with how terrible March 8, 1933 was. Lousy way to start a long winded historical novel. “Lizzy … I don’t know how to tell you this,” started Mark – the professor and a friend. That’s not the way I like teachers to start conversations. Just about as bad as the start to this book. It appeared that I’d grabbed the wrong book of the three volume set. I was honest in my review stating that it was a good book for a long ocean voyage – maybe on the Titanic … CRAP.

I’ve got a conference this weekend … doing a little cultural anthropological research for three days. It starts tonight with a meet and greet. I’m hoping to get some walking in, but my hands hurt. It’s not in the strength department, but the back of them. I know I’ll be shaking hands this weekend, so I’ll just have to be careful. We’re going to try it again next Friday.

I just want to feel good … not tired … not anxious … not bored … not frustrated …. not lonely … not like an abject failure … just good. I want to get out on the track and let my feet float and crawl into my happy place of training. I want to do the same out on whatever so that when I’m walking running races I’ve got a fighting chance. I’m under medical orders to not walk in any of the heat, double up my water, be around people at the gym just in case I go over, not tax myself, and bring a friend with me when I come back so that I’m not leaving the mess that I left in today.

Sux trying to do the right thing sometimes.

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