But there’s been a change at our local surgery. One practice has split into two and our surgery has an almost entirely new staff of doctors, nurses and whoever else works in a GP practice. So, today, there’s a new nurse, no Sally, and the blood test went something like this:
“What’s this for? CA 125? Oh, you’ve had a bone scan.”
(Thinks: Bone scan? Why’s she asking me about a bone scan? I’ve had cancer, I’ve had everything scanned and she’s asking me about a bone scan?)
“Which arm? OK, show me both arms. ”
Taps veins. “It’s coming up. This one will do. I have done this a few times before, you know.”
(Thinks: Oh dear, bad sign. Why did she need to tell me that? That few is a bit worrying.)
Needle in. “Do you normally have problems giving blood?”
(Thinks: No. Why? More bad signs.)
Needle jiggles about. No blood. Change the angle. No blood. Jiggle about a bit more.
(Thinks: That’s why)
Dig the needle in a bit further.
(Thinks: Ouch! That hurts. Giving blood doesn’t normally hurt).
Still no blood. Tilt it down a bit.
(Thinks: Now that really hurts! I’m going to have such a big bruise. Hurry up!)
“Are you all right?”
(Grits teeth and thinks: No I’m not alright. Giving blood has never been so painful. Get on with it. Says: Yes.)
Hooray! A dribble of blood appears in the syringe. Dig the needle in a bit more. We’re done. I can go home.
“So do you phone for the results?”
“No, it goes to oncology.” (Thinks: I still don’t know why she asked about the bone scan. Perhaps she has no idea it’s a cancer check up.)
And in fact, to be fair, there’s no reason why she should have any idea what CA125 indicates. But she could have looked at my notes. Or even tried to make some conversation.
Over the past two years I’ve got used to having needles stuck in to me: blood out, nasty things in, whatever. It’s rarely been a problem. It’s routine for most of these people. Oddly, though, the worst ones at taking blood have been the phlebotomists. As far as I know, that’s what they’re trained to do: take blood. Yet one of them had to call the doctor in to do the necessary and the other left me with my biggest bruise to date. Her record might just be broken today, though, as it’s an hour later and my arm still hurts.
I’m already dreading the next one in 3 months time. I might just enquire quietly if there’s another nurse and book with her. Come back Sally!