Friday, January 15, 2010

I’ve Got Nothing

Yesterday I headed off to the Infusion Center for my first therapeutic phlebotomy of 2010. I was hoping for a great deal of idiocy to transpire so that I could employ my usual augmentary sarcasm to fluff up another posting. It was not to be, McGee.

I called up the place about 11:04 AM and said that I would like to come in for my usual dance with the bloodticks. The girl on the other end of the line said, “Well, Zaphod, when would you like to be here?” I told her about 11:07 AM. There was silence for a moment; it was a joke after all, but the train was a little late getting to the station. Finally she said, coldly, “How would 2:00 this afternoon be?” I told her that I would be there with bells on. There was another short pause. “Who is this Belzon character? He’s not on my list. Does he want a phlebotomy too?” I told her that Belzon was my secret friend and that he like to watch as my life-force slipped away into a plastic bag. “Alrighty, then!” she said. “We’ll look forward to seeing you both!” I thought that unlikely, both as to the “looking forward” and the “seeing”.

I arrived a little early; I didn’t have anything else to do. I saw the “Lady in Red”, “Chester”, and “Gory” and I concluded that I was, once again, doomed. “Chester” had performed the last phlebotomy and I still had the scar from her fiddling. Imagine! Two months after she poked me I can still see where the pipe went in. “Gory” was attending to a young woman across the way who looked quite stricken and concerned about what was going on. I tried to cheer her up.

“There is one thing you can say about all this,” I began. “No matter what, this is the worst thing that is going to happen to you today”.

She laughed and thereafter completely ignored me. (Actually, that is not entirely true. I kept being noisily cheerful the whole time I was there and when the angels of death were not hovering about, she actually smiled.)

I was afraid that if “Chester” showed up to work me over, I would say something churlish about the pipe-fitters union and the scar tissue at the elbow joint of my right arm. Fortunately for everyone concerned, it was the “Lady in Red” who dragged in the paraphernalia. I almost didn’t recognize her; she was dressed in blue. “Aren’t you the ‘Lady in Red’?” I asked.

“Only on Fridays. On Thursdays, I am the ‘Blue Girl’ in honor of my great ancestors Jonathan Buttall and Thomas Gainsborough. On Wednesdays, I wear some other color, as well as Tuesdays and Mondays. Sometimes I am ‘Mauve-woman’, other times I am ‘Puce-lass’, and occasionally the “Angel of Mercy’. Thursdays and Fridays are pretty well set in stone, however. The dye is cast, you might say. Hehehehehe!”

She placed a absorbent two-foot square pad under my left arm, and then draped herself with a gigantic plastic drop cloth. “Not feeling particularly optimistic today?” I queried.

“One can never be too careful with you, Zaphod. Your blood is under so much pressure that sticking you with a needle is like poking a dead cow with a stick. Do you know that you are the only person who comes in here whose blood pressure is higher after the phlebotomy than before.”

“It must be the company I keep,” I replied.

While all this chatter was going on, “Blue-girl” had prepped my arm, shot me with anesthesia, and had driven in the silver spike. All of this transpired without me feeling a thing; there was no sting of any kind. The blood flowed freely, according to my attendant. In a matter of a few moments she had extracted 575 ml of my sanguinity. “Blue-girl” had me hold the cotton swab in place after she pulled out the needle. “Do you think that I could hit the girl across the hall if I held my arm just right?”

“There is no question in my mind!”

The root beer was warm; someone had failed to fill the refrigerator. Fortunately, there was plenty of ice and not much time passed before I was munching my Lorna Doones and swilling my Barq’s. By the time I was finished, there was not a soul in the office. I wondered where the three had gone. I walked out to the parking lot and for some reason turned around to look at the building. “Blue-girl”, “Gory”, and “Chester” were on the roof watching me. I waved. Blue-girl shouted to me.

“Each time you come we have an office pool. The bet has to do with how close you will get to your car before you pass out. I won today!” She was jumping up and down like a school girl.

I wonder what sorts of gaming goes on at the University Health Care Center when I show up.