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A visit to the doctor's office: a fainting fit and government forms

July 2, 2012 - Andrea Johnson
I'm not the sort of person who easily passes out but this afternoon I nearly hit the floor at the doctor's office while the phlebotomist was trying to draw my blood.

The problem: I have veins that are notoriously hard to find. The poor phlebotomists tried both arms and the insides of my elbows multiple times before they gave up and bandaged me up like an accident survivor. One young phlebotomist was kind enough to hold my hands and talk about things I know he had no interest in just to keep my attention focused on remaining conscious. He told me I might be a candidate for a tattoo since I held up to 20 minutes or so of constant needle pricks. I told him that at this point in my life a tattoo would just make me look ridiculous.

Almost fainting is an interesting physical sensation, though. I would assume my particular episode was probably related to a combination of not having eaten all day, fear of needles and doctor's offices in general, and a sudden drop in blood pressure. It felt like ice was running through my veins. I had a friend in college who often fainted at the doctor's office and outside of it, so I know it's fairly common.

I do wonder what, if any, effect health care reform might have on this sort of episode. Will my doctor be inclined to run so many tests? Will a phlebotomist have that much time to spend with a patient who's about to fall at his feet?

I observed some other scenes involving other patients during my visit to the doctor's office this afternoon that made me very aware of the idiocies of the government bureaucracy. One drama had something to do with the need for a signature on some government form, even though the person had an injury that made signing incredibly painful. I wonder how many more scenes like that we're going to see and how much more paperwork is going to be part of all of our lives.

Affordable health care is a necessity and I think it ought to be a right, but I do worry about unforeseen consequences. As for me, I will probably get to go through the whole rigamarole with the phlebotomist again one day very soon.


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