The Trenches

I work full time at Ogden Regional Medical Center.  What do I do there, you ask?  I am a Phlebotomist.  For those of you who don’t know what that is, think of this:  the person that comes at you with a pointy needle in their hand to draw your precious, precious blood.  Yes, that is what I do.My schedule is somewhat hairy.  I work 70 hours in a 7 day time period. Fortunately those 7 days are broken up a bit.  I work 50 hours then have 2 days off and then I work 20 hours and have 5 days off.  Today is the beginning of my 50 hours. 5 days–10 hours a day.  I lovingly call these 5 days on “The Trenches”.  And honestly, I couldn’t have chosen a better term than that.

I quickly learned that I am perhaps the most hated person in the hospital.  If I come to your room, it is only for one thing…and in order to get that one thing, I need to poke you with a sharp instrument.  You wouldn’t believe how many times I get sworn at and yelled at and angry at.  Just for walking in the room.  As if I do this for the hell of it.  Why wouldn’t I want to poke people and make them bleed?  It’s a great way to pass the time.  Pshaw.

Let me just pass a few things along for you consideration the next time you have to have your blood drawn.

  1. More often than not, our minds make blood drawing out to be more painful and scary than it really is.  Just breathe!  It will soon be over and you’ll think “Wow! That wasn’t as painful and scary as I thought it would be!  Thanks friendly neighborhood Phlebotomist!”
  2. When a phlebotomist misses your vein, and sometimes we will, it is not on purpose, nor is it to torture you.  Unless you are a jerk.  Then maybe it is.  I’m just sayin’.
  3. Your doctor has ordered the tests for a reason.  People forget that I am there on the Dr.’s orders and that my contribution will (hopefully) ultimately end in health and wholeness for them.
  4. Enough with the VAMPIRE jokes, already!!! I don’t drink the damn blood!  Please come up with some new material.

Now, for those of you who are squeamish at the sight of blood, I propose this to think about.  Blood is amazing.  It is absolutely amazing.  There are thousands and thousands of tests that can be done on it to pinpoint what is happening in your body.  It changes daily–hourly–and reflects your overall health with those changes.  It is life.  It sustains and gives us life.  Under a microscope it is pretty cool.  Heavenly Father knew what he was doing when he created the human body.  Amazing stuff and highly under-rated.

This little profession of mine has spilled over into my every day life in odd ways.  I am forever catching myself eyeballing peoples hands and arms for veins.  I have a lot of repenting to do as well because I find myself coveting those veins and wanting to draw them.  That is considered a sin, right?  Vein coveting? My family thinks I’m sick in the head.  I plead the 5th.

I have seen some sad and scary and gory things in this little adventure of mine.  I see things I never thought I would see.  Some days I weep.  Some days I have to shake my head and laugh.  Some days I come home numb.   However, inevitably, I always return home after a long day in the trenches and am thankful for the gifts and blessings I have in my life.  Health and wholeness and safety.  Then I’m ready to poke some more.

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