Friday, January 21, 2011

A Hard Stick

That's what I am.

Getting blood from me is akin to a turnip.  Usually.  Sometimes-- oh, wonders of wonders-- the needle slides in and the stuff flows like silk from a spool.  But those sticks are rare.

This causes distress for all concerned. Me, the nurses, the scheduling people who want my chair, the patients waiting for same...  It's sticky situation all around.  And predictably so, which might not help either.

I try not to anticipate that it will be rough.  But if the past is any indicator of the future....  Well, let's just leave that at "challenging."  I try not to get pissed off about it BEFORE it happens.  And I try not to get pissed off as I tick through the list of the latest "helpful hints" that always come my way about "next time":

Next time drink lots of water.  Hydration is key!
Next time, be sure they warm your arm first. 
Next time put this salve on 20 minutes before.  
Next time, use more salve.  Thicker!  As thick as a quarter!  Maybe put it on more then one place, since we aren't sure where we'll stick you.  Wrap your arm with plastic wrap!  
Oh, well, that salve might help with pain, but but actually constricts your blood vessels, which makes it harder to get a needle in...
Next time drink more water the day before, and then Gatorade the day you come in.
Next time tell them you need the tiny needle-- a number 24.

I know none of us like this.  But the fact remains I am on the business end of this needle and you are in a white coat.  That does not make us enemies.  You are inflicting pain on me.  I suspect that makes you feel like you are not good at your job.  That does not have to make us enemies either.

You want me to kid around with you.  I want to look out the window, zone out, drift into ipod-land, meditate,  and/or, in general, find some way to not engage with you in the painful, stressful here and now.  You seem to resent that.  I resent that you won't let me just be whatever way I need to be, but instead seem to want me to make you feel okay.  I got my hands full just making ME feel like its okay.  SO.  This is where the trouble between us seems to start:  Who will control the tenor of this situation?

I know that IF I were a better person this would be a lesser problem.  Knowing this does not make me that better person.  It just elicits my judgment about what a lesser person I am...

I remember visiting one of my first meditation teachers in the hospital.  I was younger and even more ignorant than I am now, and hospitals kinda scared me.  During my visit my teacher did far more to take  care of me than I was able to do for him.  He made it okay for me to be there.  SO not his job.  And he did it without any resentment, in total graciousness.  He was genuinely glad I came.  But not because I made anything easier for him.  Maybe I gave him a way to practice:  he could work with my terror, my resistance, my desire to be better than I was...

Yeah.  No danger of my floating off on a cloud of enlightenment any time soon.  Until I can get over my peevishness that I should be the one to reach out and solve this mish-mash of misunderstanding over fitting a needle into my vein, the situation is unlikely to shift on its own.

Over and over again, the invitation to let go.  Or be dragged.  Which will I choose this time around?

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