Thursday, November 8, 2012

Val Uncovers Yet Another Conspiracy

You're not going to believe this. I'm about to blow the lid off the biggest scam in the healthcare industry. Yep. Just me, little ol' Val, taking on the establishment. Good thing I don't work in that field. I might get the whistleblower treatment.

This exposé will knock your socks off. People will be running willy-nilly through the streets, sockless, leaving their shoes off rather than risk an embarrassing case of stinkfoot, subjecting their pinky-toes to accidental amputation by streetsweepers. It's that big.

But first...Yes. I AM a fan of Julie Chen on Big Brother. She really knows how to delay gratification with her BUT FIRSTs. So I am following in her footsteps, short of marrying a network head, to further the suspense. I will divulge this dastardly deed of skullduggery momentarily. But must bask in my backstory.

I took a sick day from work to have some lab work done. Don't worry about my earning power. I currently have accrued 109 sick days. Make that 108. Any days over 100 left at the end of the school year will disappear. Gone are my days of scheduling lab work after school, muddling through the day without eating or drinking for a fasting blood test. I'll take my benefits now, thank you very much. A sick day for which I will be compensated twenty dollars upon leaving the district. A sick day for which the substitute is paid seventy-five dollars. So even cashing out one hundred sick days at the end of my career, I have saved the district a tidy sum of five thousand, five hundred dollars. Kudos to me. I don't expect a thank you note.

Due to price gouging in the insurance business, we seem to change providers or policies each year. The current carrier requires that lab work be sent to one specific provider. Countless employees have had problems with blood draws at doctors' offices and hospital labs. But there is ONE outpatient lab in our county that will send the specimen out correctly, and save the individual from paying a hundred seventy dollars for a routine blood test.

That's not the reveal.

The preferred-provider phlebotomist prepped my inner-elbow for the needle. "Have you been fasting?"

"Yes. Since seven o'clock last night. I didn't even take my medicine this morning."

"Oh, you should always take your medicine."

"Well, I have it out in the car. For when I'm done here."

"Do you have good veins? I hope you've been drinking a lot of water."

"Wait. What? I'm not supposed to drink water. That's what they always tell me when they give me the lab order. 'It's a fasting blood draw. No food or drink for twelve hours before the test.' Sometimes they say just a sip of water with medicine that you can't put off that long."

"Oh, no. We WANT you to drink water. So your vein won't blow. No matter how careful we are, these collection vials are vacuum tubes. You can get a blown vein. It's painful, and it messes up your vein for future blood draws."

So there you have it. YOU CAN HAVE ALL THE WATER YOU WANT BEFORE A FASTING BLOOD DRAW! Straight from the phlebotomist's mouth.

You're welcome. I have risked persona-non-grataness with the medical establishment to bring you this vital information. I certainly hope there is not a Silkwood shower of retribution in my immediate future.


  1. Yes...Be careful. When you're driving this evening, check the headlights behind you. They might be trying to run you off the road.

  2. Not to make you feel bad, but I always drink lots of water before giving blood. I have hard veins to find anyway and sometimes they poke me two or three times before they find a gusher. Water in your system doesn't affect your test, or so I've been told.

  3. Well, I'll drink to that! I know someone who ate a salad ladened with ranch dressing, and when they drew her blood, it was as think as molassess.

  4. Water is good. I don't know why they tell us not to drink water. If you are having a surgical procedure that requires anesthesia, water would be bad. Our clinic even told he who loves diet coke that he could drink it ..... since he insists that water gives him indigestion.

  5. Sioux,
    Hopefully, if that happens, I've left behind a recording of me singing Amazing Grace, to be played as people flash back through scenes of my life. And I'll have something nobody can ever take away from me...the knowledge that Kurt Russell still wanted to ---- me, even though he sure as heck didn't want to ---- Thelma anymore.

    Obviously, you consort with a more reasonable class of witch doctors and bloodsuckers than I.

    Said like Margaret, the old lush, in 9 to 5. That salad acquaintance might share DNA with Paul Bunyon! It's been a while since I've heard a good yarn.

    I know, right? They act like everyone having a fasting blood test is scheduled for surgery. Like they should walk around with an NPO placard around their neck.