I had to have a minor medical procedure last week which included the poking of a needle into one of my veins. I have good blood-taking veins. They're not shy.
So I'm there in the room and in comes this big guy of about 50 with heavy black overhanging brows and a buzz hair cut. He's built like King Kong, and he's wearing scrubs.
"Hi," he said. "My name's Rusty and I'm a student and I'm going to take your blood."
"So," I said as he picked up my arm and encircled it with his huge hand. "What did you do before you decided to become a nurse?"
"Truck driver," he growled.
I would have guessed barroom bouncer.
So he's examining my arm and the back of my hand like he's reading a long-haul road map to Philly. Then a happy nurse of about 60 comes bobbing in the room, far too cheerful for bloodletting. But she talks Rusty through the procedure. When he holds the needle to my skin, she says, "Don't be afraid to push it in. No, that way you're not getting the vein, you're only getting under the skin. Just push it in quick."
Was that a bead of sweat running down Rusty's brow? I decided to help. "It hurts less if you just push it in," I said.
"You're rolling the vein," cheerful nurse said with a frown. "You need to hold the vein at the top with your thumb to keep it from rolling, or you'll never get it."
Come on, Rusty, I'll bet you've skewered plenty of rare steaks faster than you're skewering me! Just pretend I'm a slab of beef.
Finally the needle poked into my vein. What a relief!
"Wait!" yelled nurse lady. "You can't just leave it hanging there, you should have the tape ready to hold it steady. Next time, have a strip of tape with you."
Yeah, Rusty, do that. And next time, practice on someone else!
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