Yesterday was a momentous day for me, because it was the first weekday that my new health insurance was active. I have gone without insurance for almost a year and a half, and this meant that I was not able to get treatment I needed for my psoriatic arthritis. Luckily, in that time, I have not had a flare up other than some mild patches of psoriasis, but since this was in areas that were not visible when I'm clothed (arms and legs, people, get your minds out of the gutter), it was more annoying than anything. Today, I was able to get my doctor to call in my meds to tide me over until she had an appointment available. She also told me that I would need to go to her office or one of the affiliated hospitals to get bloodwork done this week. Since I was out anyway, and one of the hospital campuses is just a few blocks from my house, I decided to go today.
When I arrived at the registration desk, I considered the possibility that I'd made a mistake. It was close to 3 p.m., and I hadn't had anything to drink since I'd left my house at about 10:30 that morning, and I know even mild dehydration can make it more difficult to get blood drawn. There was a time in my life when that would not have been an issue, because getting blood from my veins used to be an easy task. I have had so many health issues over the years that I got used to being used as a pincushion, and needles are not a big deal for me. It's still not a big deal, but sometime in the last six or seven years, my body decided to rebel against any attempts to have its blood removed. It seems to be a misguided attempt on the part of my circulatory system to protect me from the loss of a couple teaspoons of blood, and I have to wonder if it's related to my immune system's misguided attempts to protect me from the dangers of my own connective tissue.
Still, unlike my immune system, which is pretty much just an asshole, I would like to think that this particular bodily idiosyncrasy would serve me well in case of a vampire attack.
I know that it's nearly impossible for any phlebotomist to find a vein in me, so I have taken to warning them when I sit down in the blood-drawing chair. This yields one of two reactions: either a curt nod followed by a determined jab with a regular needle, or a hesitant contemplation of the regular needle before pulling out a butterfly needle.
In either case, it is extremely rare that the phlebotomist will hit a vein on the first try.
Yesterday, it was the butterfly needle. It took two phlebotomists to determine that they had, in fact, found a vein in my left arm before they stuck me, but despite all their tapping on the vein, no blood came out. This was inevitably followed by jiggling the needle around in my arm while tapping on the vein. Both phlebotomists were puzzled by the fact that they weren't getting any blood from a vein that they were sure was there. I alternated between watching the jiggling (because, though I have no fear of needles per se, I do have a slight irrational fear that a needle will break off in my vein and travel through my circulatory system to my heart and kill me) and looking away (because, frankly, watching a needle jiggling under your skin is gross). It only took a couple minutes for them to give up on that vein, and then the first phlebotomist decided to try for a vein in my hand. She told me she hated to do that, and usually only did as a last resort, but I didn't mind if it meant that she would get the blood she needed and I would be done. The needle still required a little jiggling, but this time she did hit a vein and filled up the first vial with no problems. More jiggling was required for the second vial, and she only managed to fill it halfway before the vein collapsed. (This happens to me so frequently that you would think I'm an IV drug user. I'm totally not.) After some more jiggling, she decided she had enough blood in the second vial and pulled the needle out and said I was done.
I always feel bad for the phlebotomists when this happens, because it's happened enough that I'm well aware that it's not them, it's me. Still, many of them seem to think that I'm judging them and that I don't think they know how to do their jobs. The poor girl who drew my blood yesterday must have apologized at least 10 times, and reassured me repeatedly that she did know what she was doing. Honestly, I was impressed that it only took her two attempts to hit a vein, because I've had to have as many as five attempts before. I reassured her in turn that I believed she knew what she was doing, and this happened with anyone who tried to draw my blood. And I told her that I hoped that I had given her her challenge for the day and it would be easy sailing from there on out. She thanked me and sent me on my way.
I walked back out into the waiting area thinking that the experience I'd just had was going to be the most eventful portion of my day.
I was wrong.
I have written about the joys of my neighborhood before. I don't think, however, that I have written much (if anything) about my current next door neighbor.
In some ways, he is an improvement over the tenants in that house who came before him. For starters, no one has attempted to break into my house since he's lived there (knock on wood), and he's never been fighting out in the street at 2 a.m. On the other hand, I have vague suspicions that he might be operating a meth lab.
He's also just kind of mildly weird and creepy in ways that I can't quite describe, and he drives the one of the biggest, ugliest, tackiest trucks that I've ever seen, which he is incapable of parking properly (have I mentioned that my "street" is essentially a glorified shared driveway for the six houses on it, and it is extremely narrow and difficult to get into and out of, especially if someone has parked like an asshole?), and he frequently parks it in front of my house, which bugs the hell out of me. He is greasy and unkempt in a way that makes me want to take a shower if I have been within ten feet of him. He is probably mostly harmless, but I would still prefer to interact with him as little as possible.
The worst thing about him, though, is that no matter what he is wearing, his butt crack is always showing. And he spends so much time working on his junk heap of a truck that I have grown wary of ever looking out my windows. However, if I want to go places outside of my house, this means that I am unfortunately unable to avoid seeing his butt crack on a relatively frequent basis.
And yesterday, as I was walking back into the waiting room at the hospital lab, thinking about how well my body's refusal to part with blood would protect me from vampires, I glanced in the direction of the person standing at the sign in desk, and thought, "That butt crack looks familiar."
And then I looked up and saw that it was, in fact, my neighbor standing at the desk.
You read that right, people.
I RECOGNIZED MY NEIGHBOR BY HIS BUTT CRACK.
Now, you'll have to excuse me so I can research whether my new insurance will cover electroconvulsive therapy, because it's clear to me now that I have to get those images out of my head somehow.