mission aborted

Had a doozy of a doctor's appointment today, hoo boy. I am fine. There is nothing (new) wrong with me. But the visit was kind of a perfect storm of weirdness and bad vibes and bad timing, and I ended up bouncing out dramatically before it was even finished. Total scene. So now I have to go back next week, like I'm taking some kind of make up test. (Which is exactly what I am doing: taking a make up blood test. I would rather retake my English 406 Advanced Grammar final with that sadist Professor Ripley...but alas.)

First I miss my bus because LA Transit likes to sometimes move stops around temporarily, like it is a fun video game to see how many attention-paying riders they can catch, like Pokemon. Well, they didn't catch me! Because I do not at first notice the wee mini poster they taped up to the poll announcing the stop closure in 5pt font. Cool, no problem, love waiting around an extra 15 minutes in the blazing sun. 

Finally get to Beverly Hills where my (female) doc's office is and the coterie of staff checking me in (one to take my temp, one to check my insurance card, one to admit me, one to walk me back to the examination room) are all OVER IT, clearly, and the word of the day - one I don't think I've heard used since my dearly departed mother used it to describe the rich Scottsdale girlfriends of mine she didn't like - is "clippy." Clipped, short tones errywhere I turn. Not so welcoming! But cool, no problem. Essential workers are way more over COVID than anyone, for sure. 

Then the admitting nurse asks if I'm okay with my doctor bringing in a resident during the exam, for training purposes. Uh, okay sure, why not, says I, pro-science, pro-education. So doc comes in with this super young dude and I'm really only barely thrown by the duh, dumbass fact that it's a guy, because I will Take One For The Team of modern medicine, yes! Only, then my doc dips completely out and I realize that Resident, Jr. is going to do the examination alone. Not a problem, except this guy is super solicitous and my doctor is hella awesome and holistic and always makes it a point to probe a little into her patients' personal lives, psychological well-being, and physical fitness. 

All good things! But the thing is, none of those things are going super hot for me right now! I'm burned the motherfuck out at work, all my best friends blew town last year and I haven't had time or opportunity to really make new connections, I work too much to work out, and am generally pretty depressed and dispirited, despite knowing better times are ahead.

Do you know where this is going? Of course you do. I pretty much lose it on poor Doogie Howser who, alarmed but doing his damndest to conceal it, wraps up this interview post haste and leaves to go give his report to my doc. Meanwhile I sit there berating myself, feeling absolutely pathetic for my lack of emotional control. Good times. 

Doc comes back in, further embarrasses all of us by attempting to console me about the Very Difficult Year everyone has had, and then it's time for the physical exam. Great, let's do this. Ears, check. Eyes, check. Lymph nodes, check. Stomach, check. Then: Do you mind if Dr. Babyface stays while I examine your breasts? Fucking ambushed. I mean, so dumb of me to give a shit. So, so dumb. He's a damn doctor. But for some reason, on this day, in this moment, I am just not into it. But what am I going to do? Be a fucking weirdo and say Yes, I do mind, please make him leave? No way. So she pulls the gown off of me and there we are. All five of us. Me, doc, doc jr, and my two exposed tits. What a party. 

It's over in less than a minute and I'm fine, I'm calm and ready for the next parlor trick, which I know will be collecting approximately 3,302,382,293 gallons of my blood for various standard tests. Doc and sidekick leave and a new duo enter: one to take my blood and one to interrogate me suspiciously about the status of my insurance.

Data entry nurse is verifying my birthday for the umpteenth time this visit while blood-collecting nurse is taking an extraordinarily long time gathering vials, needles, stickers, etc, and being VERY conversational about it which I DO NOT LIKE. I do not want to hear the particulars of my blood work, no I do not. I start to get really tense and shift in my seat, and both these women hone in like hawks on my anxiety. 

"Do you get dizzy when you have blood drawn?" 


"Then you'll need to lay down."

"I'm good, thank you. I'd rather sit up."

"Well, now that you've told us you get dizzy, you have to lay down. Cedars Sinai policy."

Excuse me what now. But sure, okay, if this day has shown nothing else it's that I'm a people pleaser to the end, so I lay down on the exam table feeling for all the world like a mental ward inpatient about to be strapped in for 'lectro. I last about five seconds in this position before I sit up and for the first time in an hour, assert my needs and express a boundary.

"Yanno, I'd really feel a lot more comfortable just sitting up. If that's cool?" Questioning looks from both nurses. "Really. I'm good." 


And for real, I was ready to go, I was fine. But then the nurse who was going to take my blood became overly gentle and started crooning at me like I was a child, talking slowly through every tiny step she was taking as she laid out her weapons next to my exposed forearm. Honestly I don't need you to tell me you're "just going to find a nice vein" girlfriend. JUST FIND THE FUCKING VEIN, IT'LL BE YOUR LITTLE SECRET IF IT'S NICE OR NOT.

I couldn't deal. I announced very loudly and clearly that I was sorry, but I could feel a panic attack coming on, and I was going to have to leave and reschedule. (I have had exactly one panic attack in my life, coming off anesthesia when I was 29.)  And to their credit they were super chill and professional and were like Cool, u good, go home. Which is what I did. 

Not my finest hour, in not my finest week, in not the finest time I'm going through. But I have a countdown app crammed full of specific, exciting and happy-making things to look forward to in 2, 6, 10, 28, 94, 101, 111, and 418 days exactly. 

Oh, and I guess I could add 7 to that list, when I head back to Beverly Hills to surrender my blood in, one hopes, a better state of mind. On second thought, I'll leave it off.