With my operation looming (Friday, since you ask) my anxiety levels are increasing day by day. And today’s pre-op assessment didn’t help: Why oh why do nurses and healthcare assistants feel obliged to talk about the quality of your veins whilst taking blood?
I’ve been drained of more blood over past six months than a vampire’s victim and every single time it’s not the act of the blood-letting that makes me feel sick but the accompanying ‘reassuring’ chat.
Today’s torturer had already noted that I’d had chemotherapy so vocalised her concern that my veins would be ‘poor’ (chemotherapy tends to be bad for veins, and indeed most other organs). My already-raised anxiety levels went up a gear; no one wants to be stabbed by a jittery needle-wielder.
But after some enthusiastic slapping of the crook of my arm, she exclaimed in delight,
“Ooh, this one’s really juicy!”
My stomach churned.
Then the inevitable warning:
Then to finish me off:
“Yes, this is a fantastic vein – it’s like turning on a tap!”
I could see out of the corner of my eye (I always look away) that the red stuff was indeed gushing into the blood bottles.
I turned a delicate shade of green.
The nurse is delighted with the performance of my veins and clearly thinks I should be too.
But I’d much rather she kept their qualities – however superior – to herself.