Oh Bloody Hell

I love getting my blood drawn. I think it’s fun to watch the blood coming out of my veins in that vibrant red color. I love seeing where the nurse or doctor or phlebologist look for my vein and watch as the blue vein gets thicker and thicker. Yesterday I got some blood drawn and the nurse said “I don’t see many people with sideways veins.” So I replied, “Well I like to be different from other people.” I have never gotten that comment before. I usually just get told that I have excellent veins. Obviously.

I’ve gotten a lot of blood work done in the past few months.  One time I had about 6 vials taken so that was cool. Then another time I got 13 vials taken and that was even cooler. I am probably in the minority for the nurses when I get excited to sit down.

I say all of this because despite my love of having my blood taken out for testing I have never given blood. Pick your jaw up from the ground. Stop judging me. It’s not that I don’t think about it and it’s not about me not wanting to help my fellow man. The reason is simple (and also just ridiculous). I was afraid that my blood wouldn’t get accepted because I would have HIV. I have absolutely no reason to believe that I would have HIV but since college I have been too afraid to get tested or give blood because of the fear I put in my mind that I had it even though I knew that I didn’t.

Once I got really close to getting tested. My primary sent me for a lab because I asked her to and I climbed the stairs and got to the door and then turned around because I couldn’t do it. I was just so terrified of what the result would be that I couldn’t get out of my own way when it came to this. Another time at my old job they set up an office for people to give blood and I walked in and filled out the paperwork and then decided I couldn’t do it.

Maybe this fear of mine came from a complete lack of distrust I have for primary care physicians and how much I have been judged by them in the past for whatever reason. I remember going to the doctor in high school and my usual primary was out so I had to see a random guy doctor. He looked at my boobs and said “Wow. Those are nice. You should keep those.” Another time a doctor did a bunch of STD testing on me when I told him he didn’t have to. This was before I moved to London for a semester in college. He did this because I said I had a steady boyfriend. Well fast forward a month and I get a call from my father (the one I have NEVER told a personal thing to in my entire life), and he says “Your doctor just called me to tell me you don’t have syphilis.” I was horrified! Of course I didn’t!! Another time I went to my primary and asked to go back on birth control pills (because of my irregular periods) and she looked at my hand and asked to see a ring.

Well fast forward years and years to three weeks ago.  One of those 13 vials was for HIV. There was nothing I could do about it. It was out of hands to walk away. My brain was waiting and waiting for the doctor to call and say “Can you please come in.” Instead, I got a call from the nurse and she said “All your tests look good.”  So now I know. I don’t have HIV, I wasted years being afraid I did and, now I can start to give blood. So prick away my nurse friends.  Prick away!

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