Yesterday, Sunday, December 21, marked the official day of my divorce. It took a long time, but I’m once again officially single.
One of the things my ex-husband and I decided on when we were drafting up the divorce agreement was that we would both have life insurance, with the ex named as the beneficiary, in case, well you know, in case one of us dies, leaving the other parent to raise the girls alone.
Like many other things, I put off taking out this insurance policy until the last minute. I called about a week and a half ago and signed myself up for a policy. Having never before had any type of life insurance, I didn’t realize that I’d have to provide a comprehensive medical history and have a physical exam to qualify.
Seeing that it’s the Christmas season, I’ve been busy, every day seemingly packed with some combination of work, kids' performances, shopping, and parties, so when the insurance-company representative told me the health assessment could come to me, I was quick to seize the opportunity.
“Just come to my office.” I cheerily quipped on the phone when Robert, the phlebotomist, called to set up the appointment.
He arrived a few minutes early on the chosen date, with a little travel medical bag in tow. He then closed my office door. A small red flag was raised. Just what exactly was he going to do to me? What exactly do phlebotomists do?
They perform venipuncture; that’s what they do.
He was very organized and went straight to the work of filling out the insurance form and getting his tools ready. He took my blood pressure three times, checked my pulse, and asked me health history questions. He then checked my veins, tied one of those scary rubber bands around my arm that organized and solvent junkies use (there really aren’t any of those, are there?) and drew blood -- two vials full.
I’ve never been able to watch my own blood being drawn; watching that crimson liquid fill up the glass tube makes me go weak in the knees and slightly pisses me off. I really don’t appreciate the fact that it’s leaving my body. Isn’t it essential for my survival?
So I turned my head and took a quick peek only once the two full vials had their rubber stoppers securely pushed in.
I held the gauze pad on the hole in my arm while Robert put a Band-Aid on top of it; I then rolled up my sleeve and stood up.
“We’re done, right?” I asked hopefully.
“Almost,” Robert replied.
“Almost?” I pondered.
Robert then grabbed a small plastic cup out of the bag and handed it to me.
“Really” I asked?
Yes, really. (It turns out phlebotomists sometimes perform other tasks as required such as urine collection and testing.) It did not matter that I was at my place of employment. I had to march down the office hall, out in to the hall of the building, pee in that cup, and then leave the sample on the counter in the bathroom.
Really? It’s a semi-public bathroom. If fact, there was a woman in one of the three stalls when I entered, with Robert close behind, waiting just outside the door. It was strange. I managed to fill the cup to the necessary line with my steamy urine, and place it on the yellow Formica counter. I then signaled to Robert, who entered the ladies room and had me hold the door open while he transferred it into yet two more vials.
At least he did wipe down the counter after.