They love my veins. At least, that’s tons of phlebotomists (otherwise known as vampires, or blood gatherers) have told me over the years. Once they wrap that piece of what seems like bicycle inner tube around my arm, my veins and my blood just seem to shout, “Yessir! Present and accounted for! Go ahead and take all you want!”
So – yippee – I get to go for a standard medical visit tomorrow. I’ve said before that I like it as much as I liked having to shower after gym class when I was in 7th grade. In fact, my all-time favorite visit happened last year, when the CoVid went crazy, and they set most folks up with a video visit. How nice. At the scheduled time, I called in with my phone, we chatted for about 10 minutes, and all was well. They should keep that option for folks like me in the category of “Hates to go to the doctor, unless non-stop bleeding, something is evidently broken, or something is falling off…” Unfortunately, I’m not boss of the world when it comes to the medical industry, so I will be well-behaved, and get in and out as quickly as possible tomorrow.
However, since I’m “going in” tomorrow, it meant that I had to “go in” today as well and let them suck out a bit of my life’s essence – out of the right arm, since that is their very favorite. So, I took Cheri to work, and then drove around to the other side of the clinic, parked the car, and became a patient. This was at 7:03am. The lab opens at 7:00 (supposedly).
I walked into the lobby, which is close to 50 yards long, and at the end of it is the registration area, where the non-vampires sit behind huge plexiglass walls and take whatever information they need to get you ready to get stuck. As I said, I walked in, and there was literally no one in the entire area besides me and the non-vampires. I walked up to the desk, and stood there silently until the lady looked up. I’ve played this game before, and I knew that if I were to simply start talking to her, I would be glared at, and then told, “Just a moment, sir – I need to finish what I am doing first.” I figured that would be the latest game of Words with Friends, but I didn’t want to suggest to her that her first and foremost responsibility was to attend to the live, standing-there patients, instead of something on her screen which would be there after I was done in about three minutes. That’s not the Clinic way, however, and so I stood there until she was done with her very important typing.
Without so much as a “hello,” she looked up and said, “Birthdate.” I told her. “Phone number.” I told her. “Last name.” I told her. “Address.” I told her. Next came the “Have you been within 50 miles of someone who might have CoVid? Have you sneezed or coughed in the last month? Have you ever wondered if perhaps your neighbor across the street that you never talk with could someday come down with CoVid?” I passed the test. She said, “Go have a seat and someone will be with you soon.”
I turned around, and saw that there still was no one else in the 50 yard room, just some chairs spread out about 15 feet from each other. I felt like I was in the Kansas City Bus Depot at 2am (which I had done once – don’t do that…). I invoked my human rights, and didn’t sit down. I just stood there, because I knew, being the only person with business in the lab right then, that it would be milliseconds before I would be attended to.
I guess I should have sat down. After about nearly 10 minutes, a vampire-looking technician came out of a room in the back, and then started chatting with one of the non-vampires. They were having a very nice conversation, I’m sure. It was leisurely, non-business, and probably one of those chats that just make your day – unless you are the one waiting to get stabbed.
Sure enough, after “awhile,” she picked up a piece of paper, and called “Randolph!” Two things: one, I was still the only person in the auditorium. She looked straight at me, because no one else was around. At all. Second, I have told medical people across the country that I prefer the name “Randy,” unless it’s a legal document. I was only called “Randolph” by my mother when she was upset with me. That, and when I go to cash a check at the bank, and they pleasantly say, “Anything else, Randolph?” which means they don’t really know me. However, there appeared to be forward motion happening, which meant I might get to leave before lunchtime, so I just nodded, and walked over.
Now, I know they have to do it, but once again, “What’s your name?” Well, you called my name… “Date of Birth.” Notice that I just had a birthday. “Phone number, and have you ever thought you might someday come down with CoVid.” Now remember – I am GIVING them something – my blood – so….
Well, I wound my way back into the lair, and sat down on a -- no lie – purple chair, with an arm that could fold down. She tied the inner tube around my upper arm, the vein bulged out, and then she wiped the intended jab site with alcohol and then – she indeed did jab me. Apparently I had forgotten to put in my request that they use SHARP needles, instead what felt like old stereo record needles. I’m not a baby, but it kind of hurt.. She filled up her vials with my life’s fluid, and I’m not sure that she didn’t grab a couple more for lunchtime… after applying pressure, she put on a bright orange bandaid, and sent me on my way.
I know all of this is incredibly important, and that medical technology has advanced to near miraculous abilities. I just don’t like it. I can’t imagine every liking it.
But I go through it, because I want to be intentional. At my age, it would be silly to just live and go around accidentally “ok” as if I were probably healthy. Just like in so many other areas of our lives, when we accidentally assume all is fine and dandy, it’s sometimes possible that it isn’t. How much better to intend to secure knowledge about your own life and body, so that indeed you can attend to anything that may not be in sync, instead of perhaps guessing it’s all ok, until the day when it most definitely isn’t. That’s why thoughtful and response-able people take care of what has been given into their care, from their bodies to their possessions, to their children and grandchildren, to their spouse, loved ones, and friends. I responsible for at least the part of your life in which you intersect with me, and I will cherish that work and that holy task to make sure as far as I am able, that it is well with your soul today.
Even if I hate getting my blood drawn…
Word for the day: metagrobolize. Pronounced met-a-GROW-buh-lize. This is kind of a funky word, with no really clear etymology to it, which means we aren’t certain where and when it came to be, but it’s a good word to pull out of your back pocket when needed.
It’s perhaps from the Old Norse or German grobo, which means “pit or cave,” and also burying something. The Middle French word doesn’t help a lot – matagrabolier. What today’s word really means is “to mystify or puzzle.” Magicians base their profession on metagrobolizing, and someone who studies puzzles or enigmas or tricky situations with no direct answer is known as a metagrobologist. Sherlock Holmes is perhaps the best known. Anyway, like I said, it’s a good word to express your feelings, when you come across a situation, when you can say, “I am totally metagrobolized about this…” Other people will also become that, as they listen to you use the word…
After 43 years of ministry, Randy Cross lived his "fourth life" and shared about retirement, living boldly and intentionally in our world. To be sure, there was some North Dakota thrown in.