I hate needles. They’re gross. I avoid them if at all possible. I don’t even donate blood. (I know, I know, I’m a bad citizen. Shoot me. But don’t poke me.)
But when it came to arthroscopic knee surgery, I couldn’t avoid the pointy little buggers. So after I slipped into my stylish johnny and hopped under the covers of my equally stylish and comfortable gurney at the Surgery Center of the Pacific, my nurse Ashley began “hooking up” the IV. Which, for those of you who don’t know, is a frickin needle.
I quietly indicated that my left arm usually has the best veins while I shrunk down the gurney and looked around for a bottle of whiskey to supplement the need for the IV. No luck. Ashley looked at me and much to my dismay said, “Usually they want it in the hand.”
The hand. Basically the grossest part of the body in which to stick a needle. It’s thin, it’s bony, it’s got no meat whatsoever. It’s all muscle and tendon. Blech. I’m getting queasy thinking about it. At this juncture, I allowed myself to be less the “bravery guy” and more the “honesty guy”, so I admitted that I was a major wimp when it came to needles and that I’ve passed out during previous needle poking adventures. But Ashley was certain: “We’ll be fine.”
We. Yeah, we.
So she plunged into my left hand. This was the exchange that followed:
Me: “Ooooof. Ow, ow, ow. This is so gross. Oh man. Ughhhh.”
Ashley: “You’re doing great, Steve. We’re almost there.”
Me: “Oh wait. Yup. I’m getting lightheaded. Yup, lightheadedness.”
Ashley: “It’s okay, we’re almost there. Good job, Steve.”
Me: “Nope. Nope. Yeah, I’m going to pass out. Yup, I’m passing out.”
And then I passed out. Just like that. I literally narrated the entire thing for Ashley.
In the dreamy haze that follows fainting, I had hoped it was all over. That she had successfully entered the back of my hand and soon I’d be drifting off to the wonderful level of anesthesia induced sleep.
Well, she wasn’t successful. Which meant she didn’t get a “good” vein in my hand. Which meant she had to go back in for another try.
“No more hand, right?” I mustered from beneath my un-molested hand which was covering my mouth while clutching my hair-net hospital cap.
“I’m soooo sorry, Steve! We’ll go for your arm this time. We’ll be fine this time.”
Ashley then stuck the bend of my left arm while another nurse held my right hand and gently said things like, “You’re doing great, honey.” “Squeeze as hard as you want.” “We’re almost done.” If you’re counting at home, that’s two nurses tending to one patient. I’m so selfish.
Did I mention that I’m 33 years old and the nurse holding my hand was probably ten years my junior? The fact that I actually just wrote the phrase “ten years my junior” means I’m too old for this fainting stuff to be happening. Oy vey.
Thankfully I didn’t faint again. And the rest of the procedure was a cinch. The anesthesiologist doped me up with a nice cocktail brew and before I knew it, I was at home in bed with an ice pack on my knee and crackers and water on my night stand.
But I still embarrassed my 33-year-old self by fainting in front of a handful of cute nurses. Weak.
At least I didn’t pee my johnny.