Wednesday, November 19, 2008
BLOOD, SWEAT, BUT NO TEARS
I had to get some blood work done today. My fear level of blood tests is somewhere in between having my eyes stabbed with forks and my arms sawed off. While I have absolutely no fear of the dentist (one dentist told me I was his first patient to actually go to sleep during a root canal), I had some bad experiences with blood tests and IVs as a child that have left me with a sheer terror of anything having to do with needles in my arms. Even though I always eat beforehand, I bring my own "fainting kit" of juice boxes and cookies for the inevitable pass out.
I woke up today and my stomach sank as I realized not ONLY would I be getting blood tests done...but I would be going ALONE and having to deal with the whole process in Frrrrrrrench.
Pack extra juice box.
I was recommended to go a CEF lab in the 14th arrondissement. I walked in, took a number and was immediately called to one of the secretariat desks.
S: JDFKSDVKDJFBVKDFV JDSV JHV JFDSVBJDVHD?
ME: (Silent. Deer eyes.)
S: JDFKSDVKDJFBVKDFV JDSV JHV JFDSVBJDVHD?
ME: (Cricket sounds. Big deer eyes.)
SNAP OUT OF IT! You have been here almost a YEAR. Just LISTEN to what she is SAYING. Listen CAREFULLY instead of just flipping OUT all the time. My GOD, what is WRONG with you!????!?!!!!
ME: Uh....peut etre un peu plus lentement? (maybe a little slower?)
I have to tell you, as she proceeded to raise her volume level to 11 and slowed it down to a mere crawl, I could actually understand her and we got through all the paperwork and information without much of a problem. I now know that yelling at a foreigner really slowly DOES actually make it easier to understand. I used to find this offensive in NY when I'd hear someone yelling at a stranger but I'm 100% DOWN with it now. I wish all of France would yell at me really slowly. With hand gestures.
WHAAAAAT IIIIISSSSS YOOOOOOUR MAAAAAAIIIIIIIIDEN NAAAAAAAAAAAME????!!!!!!!
HOOOOOW WILL YOOOOOU BE PAAAAAAAAYING TODAAAAAAAAY?!!!???!!!!
She gave me a gold colored token and about 65 pieces of paper so I wandered down the hall she had pointed at wondering where to go and what this token was for. Is it for the toilet? Is there a prize? A technician spotted me coming and guided me into one of the saw my arms off/torture rooms. I told her my French was bad and that I have fear. She was very nice, I looked away as she took the needles out, breathed deep breathes and tried to picture the ocean. Sometimes I am able to go to my special place where no one can touch me but today was not one of those days as when I imagined the ocean, I just saw Coney Island with needles all over the beach. OK, forget that.....moving on...California, California, California...you used to live there....picture the beach, the biiiiig beautiful beach....briiiight blue waves....wait what is that in the water? Oh look, it's a school of needlefish jumping into floating arms in the blood red stained waves where sharks have just torn the arms off all the swimmers and everyone is screaming....
OK STOOOOOOP IT!!! And then I feel the old familiar....arms and legs go numb, heart racing, profuse sweating, stars in eyes, ringing in ears...NONONONONONO... you will NOT pass out in a foreign country...NO WAY....pull it TOGETHER NOOOOOOOOOOW.....(trails off)
I wake up and the technician is asking me if I am OK. "Uh...Je ne sens pas tres bien..." She tells me she is going to get me a café which cracks me up as I reach for my fainting emergency juice box kit. Is coffee the French answer to all ailments? And more importantly, does it work? I drink both juice and coffee as she tells me to sit quiet for two minutes. I feel better after five minutes or so, pack my bags and put on my coat to leave. She comes back in and asks me where I am going.
"No no, you have to do the second series of blood tests still."
I'm only HALFWAY done? I hear the waves crashing on Needle Beach already as I mumble "uh...ok" and sink back down into the torture chair.
A second technician comes in, this time a guy with Converse sneakers and punk rock hair. I tell him of my previous pass out (actually all I managed was "I fell down when she takes the blood"), we chat a bit (all French), he finds out I am musician from NY and he starts talking to me about every punk band he knows from there. He's never been to NY and wants to go badly, he learned English from listening to lots of American music. As we sit discussing the genius of Sonic Youth, I don't even notice the needle is already out of my arm and I am finished with series number two. Whoa. I thank him profusely, he says he will myspace me and suggests the next time I just talk about music when I get blood tests.
I'm asking for THAT guy next time.
:) Peace out.