Here's what NOT to say to the person drawing your blood:
"My left arm is better than my right, but I do have really small veins so my hand is usually a sure bet."
The phlebotomist hears:
"You can't do your job very well so let me tell you how this is going to go down..."
I can't figure this out. I am just trying to be helpful. Phlebotomists begin to sweat when they see my arms; while I am quite robust, my veins are puny, shy things that hide deep in my flesh... really deep. But throughout the past few weeks, I am beginning to see how the veterans are separated from the neophytes.
After my "I-have-small-veins" speech, the neophytes head straight for the butterfly needle (commonly used to draw blood from an infant's head... it's so small) and disinfect my hand, but the veteran will completely ignore me and tie off my right arm and begin sniffing out the best vessel. If the newbie decides to go for my arm they will draw the needle back and forth and side to side perforating my much abused vein and declare "I just... can't... seem... to get it." The master will poke the needle in way more forcefully than you think necessary, and immediately draw a vial.
Today's blood-letting was miraculous in many ways, but the best part of it was the phlebotomist herself: her name was Rose and she was as big as a house and as loud as a fog horn.
When we arrived at the lab there was a long line. If people are getting blood drawn on a Saturday, you know they HAVE to be there. The waiting room was small, and since Rose is most likely incapable of a whisper, everyone's "malady" was made known.
To the teen-aged girl, "Are you capable of urinating?" (They were still standing in the waiting room.) To us it sounded like: "ARE YOU CAPABLE OF URINATING!!?" After a mortified nod of the head Rose went on: "DO YOU THINK YOU COULD PRODUCE SOME URINE RIGHT NOW!!?" The poor girl went ahead, surprisingly not right there in her pants, and we then heard all the instructions on what to do with the sample and a reminder to wash her hands. The girl was unable to face us in the waiting room and waited for her mom outside.
The young boy before me was with his dad. Obviously, if a kid is getting his blood drawn it can't be that good. What we heard through the wall was: "ARE WE TAKING BETS TO SEE OF YOU'LL CRY!!?" Todd and I were agog and aghast buy this point and I was determined to say as very little to her as possible.
But by the time we got in there and she made a million phone calls on our behalf to make sure everything was going to be done on time, I was a fan of large-and-in-charge Rose. She proved herself to be a pro (a master!) and even managed blood out of my right arm. And then to seal the deal, she drew a smiley face on the tape covering my cotton ball... a smiley face. I am grateful Rose was there today.