A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Friday, March 16, 2007

Blood Work

As a heart patient, I am obligated to get blood drawn for an upcoming appointment with my cardiologist. It breaks the usual daily routine of waking up, exercise on the bicycle, showering, dressing and eating breakfast. I have this routine down to where I can accomplish all this in two hours from the time I wake up to the time I actually leave for work.

However, when it comes to blood work, you are placed under certain restrictions. For one, you must fast for 8-12 hours before the blood is drawn. Breakfast must be postponed at least until the lab vampires do their work. It is for that reason that most people needing the work done go first thing in the morning so they can eat and get their day started. This also explains why it is so crowded at the lab at 7:00. I’ll bet that the lab workers get bored out of their minds once the initial rush is over.

I used to get around the fasting dilemma by eating a huge dinner the night before. There were several options open to me in my neighborhood, but suffice it to say that I have never met a Chinese buffet I didn’t like. The problem was this would skew my cholesterol numbers way up.

This would drive my cardiologist crazy! He couldn’t figure out why my numbers were so high since he had me taking at least five different medicines. For some reason, one of my darkest thoughts has always been to see if I could push a cardiologist into cardiac arrest just from him looking at my lab results. There’s no particular reason for this; I just want to see if I could do it. Anyway, my first cardiologist retired a few years ago. The last I heard he was photographing the mountain scenery of New England.

I don’t pig out the night before anymore, preferring to eat dinner as late as possible. This gives me better numbers, but now the problem comes after the test. I don’t mind the prick of the needle, unless the lab technician can’t find a good vein. At times like this I’m tempted to say, “Yo, babe! Try under the skin!” Since the lab opens up at the same time I’m due to be at work, I feel compelled to make up for lost time once the lab is finished with me. Also, since I’m hungry, I feel I must multi-task and eat my breakfast during my now frantic commute.

I’ve had years of experience in this commute. When I lived in Virginia and the job was forty minutes away in Maryland, I would get my blood drawn and race to work. This involved downing an egg Mc-something and/or a Bavarian cream donut and coffee with one hand, while speeding down the Capital Beltway, over the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and up to Landover. I’ve come to the conclusion that this is probably not a very heart-healthy activity and I’m sure four out of five cardiologist would never recommend it.*

Today was another of these days. This is the only time I buy a fast breakfast food, when I’m taking the blood test. This all strikes me as ironic since the whole point of the test is to monitor my cholesterol levels to keep me healthy, then I jam an entire month’s quota of cholesterol into my veins within five minutes of the test. It doesn’t make much sense, but this is the procedure we’re reduced to performing in order to meet all of our daily obligations.

* The fifth cardiologist didn’t answer the survey. He was busy photographing the scenery in New England.


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