I had to go have blood taken this morning. You and I and half the internet all know that the only thing wrong with me is that I’m touched in the head, but my doctors thought they’d check a few other things, anyway. And really, who doesn’t enjoy a quick trip from work to have a needle jabbed in their arm?
The nurse called me from the waiting room and we walked back as she looked at my file. “How ya doing?” she asked. “Any better?” I guess she was the nurse who saw me the last time I was sick.
“I’m okay,” I answered. We arrived in the lab room, and she turned around to peer at me.
“You sure?” she countered.
“Well, I’m HERE, but yeah, other than the depression and anxiety and whatever else might be wrong, I’m GREAT!” I was hoping that would end the conversation.
She stopped prepping the needle and vials and looked at me. She sat down and started talking… about her own divorce, about how we all go through rocky patches on our way to the better stuff. I nodded and found myself retreating in my head; inching away from this woman who’d decided to bare herself to me when I myself have cobbled together a delicate framework for holding myself intact at the moment.
Finally she started tapping my arm, and I assured her I’m a very easy stick. Of course, today would be the day when the needle had to be rooted around a bit before the blood flowed. I clenched my teeth and didn’t exhale until the blood began slowly filling the test tube. The three containers seemed to take forever to fill.
My arm tingled as she placed the Tweety Bird band-aid over the puncture. I stood to leave and she placed a hand on my shoulder.
“You’re a beautiful young woman,” she told me, earnestly, “and you’ll be just fine. I know it.” She patted me and then pulled me into a hug. I managed to escape and blinked my way into the bright sunlight outside. Once in the car, I fumbled for my sunglasses as tears slid down my cheeks. I opened all the windows and let the wind whip through the car as I drove back to work.
This afternoon I removed the band-aid to reveal a large, perfectly round, purple bruise. The interesting thing is that the area outside the bruise–the skin that appears to be fine–is much more tender than the bruise itself.