(Not) In Vein

“Where are you going?” I ask. 

“The lab for blood work,” he says.

“It’s 6:45 am.”

“Lab opens at 7.”

“What blood work?”

“From my physical yesterday. Routine stuff. Want to come?”

“Sounds fun.” Who wants to get blood work at 7 o’clock in the morning or any time for that matter? 

“I’ve had the same slip, you know, from my physical three months ago,” I say with snark. 

“Who doesn’t get blood work done when a doctor orders it?”

“Me. I hate getting blood drawn. They can never find my veins.”

“Come on, it’ll be a date.”

Worst idea for a date I’ve ever heard of. 

“What about the boys?” 

“They can handle an hour here by themselves. You know you want to.” He floats me a flirtatious, goofy look, then takes matters into his own hands.

“Boys, your mother and I will be back with bagels in an hour. Call us if anything comes up.”

I throw my coat on in disbelief, over what I’m not exactly sure. Maybe the fact that we have an eleven and nine year old that can actually be alone for a little while. Or, that I am like a horse being led to slaughter to get my blood drawn. Or, that after fourteen years of marriage, getting blood drawn now constitutes a date.

Before long, we are in the car. “Which one are we going to?”

“Downtown,” he says.

“The one on Western Boulevard is less crowded.”

“Baby we’re going downtown.” He leans in, “It’s closer to Dunkin’ Donuts.”

Alrighty then. 

Soon we are “downtown” climbing the stairs to the second floor clinic. A familiar nervous pit now fills my empty stomach. He opens the door to a half-filled room of kindred early birds.

“Told you,” I whisper. We get in line.

“Good morning,” he says, to the white coat wearing human behind the counter.

“Sign in please,” she says.

I follow behind him, ready to sign too but I see he’s written Holly & Rob Howley.

“You’re a real Romeo.”

“Play your cards right and I’ll buy you a coffee.” 

Five minutes later, a woman holding a clip board calls, “Holly & Rob Howley, Room 2.”

Wow--is this a thing? Couples getting their blood drawn in tandem?

“That’s us,” he says, taking my hand. I follow him into Room 2 where he proceeds to get into a full-blown conversation with the woman who is about to poke us with needles. I sit silent. He is done in what seems like four seconds.

His new friend turns to me. “You’re up.” She cracks some corny joke about being extra careful labeling the vials. “Imagine if they drew your thyroid levels off your husband’s blood?” She and he laugh. Blood humor.

“Okay, I’ll see you in the waiting room.”

Seriously he’s choosing this moment to abandon me?

“Your husband’s a nice guy,” she says.

“Yes, much nicer than me,” I say. 

She laughs.

Ice broken, I add, “I hate having my blood drawn. They can never find my veins.”

“No problem. See this?” She taps her name-tag. It says Sue, Phlebotomist. “Veins are my specialty.” She then goes on to tell me all about how the word ‘phlebotomy’ means to cut a vein in latin and how latin is a dying language and then something about today’s SATs...and then:

“Okay, we’re done.”

“Done?” Even with the vein cutting latin explanation, that was quick.

“Yup, you are good to go. If you have time,” she hands me a small card with a web site. “A survey.”

“I’ll give it to my husband, he’ll actually fill it out.”

She laughs.

“How’d it go?” he asks, looking up from the paper.

“Coffee, please.”

We drive to get the boys bagels and us coffee, and then begin our trek home. I am in disbelief when I see the car clock and realize it’s only 7:37 am. “Wow that was quick.”

“Quick is my speciality,” he winks.

Oh brother.

“We could make this an annual thing,” I say.

“I vote for more frequent,” he says, eyebrows raised.

"That's what all the men with big veins say.” I smile.

Aaahhh life at forty. Full of mixed metaphors, phlebotomists and fun. And coffee, lots of coffee.