30 Minutes In The Life

I took Calf #6 in for a blood draw. We have done this every week, or 2 or 3, since November’s hospitalization. UGH. Thankfully, what needs to be done can be done with a finger poke.

We have a good routine going. She gets extra hydration via coconut water on the drive in. We register at the hospital and she carries her stickers. We stop to say Hi to Emma Jean on the way to the lab. (Emma Jean is a skeleton who resides in the doorway of the. . . ahem. . . Imaging Department.)

This time at the lab, she threw her stickers at the person at the desk (ugh, manners please child!) and we got a warm pack for her fingers. She chose her left hand this time. She peeled the warm pack stickers all by herself and got them tangled, but somehow managed to adhere the thing at least partly to her fingertips.

When they called her name, she walked in and climbed into the big chair by herself. Then I sat down under her and hold her. She can verify her name. Soon she’ll be able to verify her birthdate. We talked about why the doctor wants to see her blood and what happens after it’s drawn. We looked at the blue veins running through her hand. Meanwhile, the nice lady has decided which finger to use, washed it, and dried it. When she picked up the pokey thingey we start our deep breathing: breathe in like smelling a flower, breathe out like blowing out a candle. Just like in the Sophie book. We counted 1, 2, 3, then the poke. (Except this time it went on 4.) The nice lady let her hold two of the little purple-top tubes used to collect her blood. The purple almost exactly matches the color of her outfit. (No, that wasn’t planned.) This time, like the past 2 or 3, there are no tears. That’s amazing to me.

Once the tube was sufficiently filled, she held the gauze on her finger to stop the bleeding while the nice lady looked around in the back room for a nice bandaid. It’s an Elmo bandaid, yay! Then she was off to the prize box. This time she picked a beach ball that her big sis would later blow up for her. And, as she’s done every trip in these past months, she asked for a Biohazard bag to put her prize into. Usually she’ll also visit the sticker box, but they’ve been short on stickers lately and we’re in a hurry.

On the way out of the hospital she told me, “Next time I want an arm poke.” My heart nearly fell to the floor. We’ve been doing finger pokes instead of venipuncture because it has been WAAAAAAAAYYY easier on her (and me.) My second thought was to realize that she has accepted blood draws as a normal part of her life. It’s not “if I get another poke,” it’s “when.” Wow. What a brave little girl she is!

I didn’t have the heart to tell her yet, but her next blood draw WILL be an “arm poke.” She’ll be in for another bronchoscopy and that’s part of the routine. Thankfully, this will be done after she is anesthetized and she won’t feel a thing when it’s done.

What an adventure. Awful and wonderful, all at the same time.


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