Going to the doctor. Probably one of my least favourite activities. In fact, it’s right up there with a visit to the dentist and sudden death. But unfortunately, every now and then, my body betrays me and forces me to face this demon head-on. Today was one of those times.
As I walked through the hospital’s front door, I was immediately confronted with the stench of sickness. You know those television adverts that depict cartoon germs in an attempt to get you to buy toilet cleaner? Well that was all I could see. Those animated germs floating around in the air, passing from sick person to sick person, cackling maliciously and contaminating everything they touched. I could almost feel them landing on my skin as I all but sprinted to the reception desk to announce my arrival.
Once at the desk, I get informed that I need a urine sample before I see the doctor. Interesting. I can’t say that peeing in a container is one of my strong suits, but I figure it can’t be that difficult right? If drug addicts and possible pregnant ladies can do it, then so can I! So I dutifully follow the matron into the procedure room, where I get handed a polystyrene foam cup. As in, the kind of polystyrene foam cups that are used at children’s birthday parties and team-building workshops. No sign of the sterilised and sealable container that I had conjured up in my head. And when I asked the matron if there was a lid for said cup, I received a withering look and directions to the nearest bathroom.
After performing the necessary deed, I stick a wad of toilet paper on top of my lidless cup and leave the bathroom, urine sample in hand. Why is it that as soon as you concentrate on not spilling something, it becomes that much more difficult to keep steady? Whatever the reason, my walk down the corridor seemed to take forever, and all I could do was thank my lucky stars that I didn’t have the shaky hands of a coffee addict. When I finally did arrive at the procedure room, nobody paid the slightest bit of notice to me and I had to wander from matron to matron – all the while holding my polystyrene cup. Eventually, some kindly soul took pity on me and, after conducting the test, I was told that my urine was fine and that I shouldn’t have bothered her with an unnecessary procedure. Because carrying around a polystyrene cup of my own urine is my idea of a good time.
Urinating done, I finally get to see the doctor and, after a pretty good consultation, I get told that I need to have some blood tests taken. Easy Peasey right? Not for me. To put it lightly, needles are not my friends. The mere thought of needles makes me feel sick to my stomach and I start to break out into a cold sweat. It’s not the pain so much as the whole concept of something jabbing into my skin and drawing out my blood that makes me literally feel faint. Added to the fact that no one can ever find a vein and I end up getting pricked countless times until they succeed, I am less than enthused as I follow the doctor back into the procedure room.
There I am greeted by this surly looking woman who brusquely tells me to lie down and stick out my arm. Her bad mood was obviously because she had been told that I was a trouble-maker who enjoyed having her urine unnecessarily tested just for the fun of it. I do as I am told, trying to calm my nerves, and politely inform her that I normally have my blood taken from my wrist, because my veins are so small. “Well then you’ve come to the wrong person Missy!” she barks at me. “I don’t take blood from wrists, so you had better get that idea out of your head right now!” She then proceeds to plunge a needle into my hand, misses the vein entirely, and yells, “Look at that, you’re so nervous that the needle popped out! This is because you’re nervous! Now I need to get someone else to do this, I’m not going through it again!” She storms out of the room, oblivious to the fact that I am now a withering puddle oozing on the hospital bed and trying not to throw up. At which point another matron comes in and inserts the needle... into my wrist.
So after my tormenting experience at the doctor’s office, what have I learnt? That urine samples involve peeing in lidless polystyrene cups, that needles (and grumpy matrons) are still not my friends, and that I must never get sick again. Ever.