31 March 2009

BREAKING NEWS: Jennifer Pham Is a Grown-Up

Or getting there at least. Why the sudden realization/awareness/materialization, etc? I got blood drawn yesterday... for the first time ever. Ever. EVER.

I must backup.

As you may or may not know, I am originally from Dallas, Texas (which I am so ashamed of right now: read HERE) and I moved to New York for school. But as far away from home as I was, I was still able to go to the doctor and dentist during summer and winter breaks and whenever else I was able to visit home, with my mother by my side, of course. But what did I do when I was severely sick and didn't have a trip to Dallas planned? Let's be honest, I have never been a big fan of going to both the doctor and the dentist.

But if we're going to be really honest, when I was really sick, I simply waited for the sickness to go away, which was not as simple as it sounds. This included, but not excluding, crying, overdosing on TheraFlu and annoying the crap out of my beloved roommate, Sasha/Ma.

Well, it's now been almost a year since I graduated (Holy crap!) and I find myself starting my career/life here. So it was finally time for me to start establishing myself in the Big Apple (I love apples btw). Like getting a full-time job? Check. Like getting my first apartment outside of student housing? Check. Like doing laundry at the laundromat? Check. Like going to the emergency room by myself when I fractured my ankle whilst falling down a flight of stairs (this may or may not be explained in a later post)? Check, check. Like going to the doctor to get my first check-up by myself without Mommy? Big fat CHECK.

Lucky for you, I remembered the entire experience (minus the whole passing out part). Here goes:

In traditional Jennifer Pham-fashion, I am late for my appointment. Twelve minutes late to be exact. Sigh, I swear one day I'll try to fix that. But that didn't really matter because Doctor is a little behind schedule. So I do the whole filling out papers, fronting the $20 copay and reading health magazines for a good 20 minutes.

Then, I finally get called in.

Doctor is a little old jewish lady that's sweet with a little sass in her bones. She tells me what the check-up will entail. Things like measuring my height and weight, feeling for my lymph nodes, taking my blood pressure, pee test, and oh, a blood test. I immediately enter panic mode. I explain to her that I have an INTENSE fear of needles and get overly queasy around blood. She says it's a free country and that I don't have to, but then explains the benefits of the blood test. I say I'll think about it, and she says, "Well, don't take too long 'cause I have other patients, too." (Sass.) When she takes my blood pressure, it is raging high and I can't seem to bring it down. This is of course because I am still thinking about the blood test. So now I have to go back in three months for her to check my blood pressure again.

We eventually come to an agreement: I'll allow for the blood test if she will administer it herself in the room (I would normally have to go downstairs to the laboratory). She starts to tie my right arm and I start crying. She injects the needle into my vein and I let out a LOUD scream. I am not embarrassed. She tells me not to look, but I look anyway. I see the blood escaping out of my body and I black out. Next thing I know, Doctor is waking me up and telling me that I passed out a little but I'm done and gives me some apple juice. After giving me some time to recuperate, she asked about my medical history. She soon found out that it's been well over a decade since my last tetanus shot and that she wanted to give me one right then. She then realized that she had pushed her luck with the blood thing.

It was a triumph, to say the least.

Or, you know, just one of those life transitions.