Thursday, February 16, 2012

Blood Work

I walked into Labcorp for my blood draw, wielding my HSA card and wearing a baby. Hannah eagerly danced through the door and immediately located and utilized the hand sanitizer dispenser. I'm not sure if she's developing OCD hand washing tendencies or if she's addicted to pushing buttons and playing in aromatic alcohol-based gel.

John slinked in behind me, hood up, arms elbow-deep in his sweatshirt pocket. He is usually the one there for blood level checks. He is not a fan of the process. In fact, he complained how his arms were already aching on the way there because they knew where we were going. He settled down in the waiting room chair, reading a book, desperately trying to disavow all knowledge of where he was.

I approached the reception window and began filling out the requisite paperwork. Hannah flitted over, excitedly jabbered about the Cinderella calendar in the office behind the window and flitted back toward the sanitizer dispenser. I strongly encouraged her through clenched teeth to be satisfied with the amount of cleanliness her hands already possessed.

Cote, whom I was wearing and trying to fill in papers around, suddenly noticed the Cinderella calendar as well. She had no words for the joy she tried to express to me but I recognized the exuberant attempt at a back flip off my chest to gain a better view. "MOMMY!!!!!"

Then she took my face firmly in her two hands, which might have actually needed a dose of wall-dispensed antibacterials, and tried to establish eye contact. "MOMMMMMMMMYYYYY!!!!! Wook!"

A tiny arm fished its way out of the deep recesses of the mei tai to fling itself in the direction of the Disney icon. I nodded, despite my understanding it would not be an acceptable level of acknowledgement, and returned to the paperwork. Then she tapped on my chin approximately fifty times in a half second and tried a two-year old whisper, "Mommy," eyes darted pointedly to the left, "wook..."

"Yes, Cote, wow, it's Cinderella, isn't it? She's so pretty!" I mustered a convincingly enthusiastic grin and eye twinkle. I was released long enough to retrieve my insurance card and sign the paper.

I asked Cote if she'd like to be out of the carrier before I sat down. No, she wanted "wap on Mommy." I took breath and sat down. Immediately, "I wan down. I wan out da wap." I stood up and granted her request. Just as I sat back down the phlebotomist, or Guy in Scrubs, called my name.

John continued to read with a ferocity, stopping long enough to explain his arms hurt from the last time he was there and it was decidedly unnecessary for him to accompany me to the lab.

Wide-eyed, the girls followed me through the Door into the Unknown. A million questions from Hannah began. Cote wordlessly climbed into my lap for security. I extended my arm and tried to answer as many of Hannah's questions as possible. "Why is he pushing that blood into your arm?!"

"I know it looks that way. He's actually taking a little bit of blood out."

"Why?! Why would he do that? John says it's HORRIBLE. I'm keeping ALL my blood."

"He's going to take the blood and do some tests, like experiments with it. He's going to look at it with a microscope and let Mommy know how healthy I am."

Guy in Scrubs interrupted quietly, "We'll need to get some urine as well, ma'am."

Hannah bought into the secrecy and matched his tone mixed with five year old awe, "What does that mean?"

"I need to pee in a cup." There, how's that for taking away all the mystique.

Hannah still whispering, leaned in and giggled, "You did that when you were pregnant!"

Guy in Scrubs deftly removed the needle and tied the cotton ball in place, then indicated the direction of the restroom while handing me a container. Hannah eyed the jar gleefully.

I had lost my dignity a long time before this day; embarrassment exchanged for amusement at novel moments like this. Once inside, Hannah backed up to the bathroom door and watched like a child anticipating the circus. Cote went about her usual routine of inspecting every surface visually and pointing out where the toilet paper was located. And then, I peed in the cup.

Cote froze. Her eyebrows tried to arch right off her face. A smile spread involuntarily as far as her mouth would allow. Astonishment, intrigue, no, pure, unadulterated admiration of my brilliant creativity settled on her being. "Mommy! Pee IN cup!!!!" She looked around for confirmation from Hannah and pointed back toward me, "Mommy. Pee. CUP?!"

Hannah was silent but her smiling nod was all "I know! Isn't it great?!"

I finished urinating, holding the container in my hand. Hannah said, "I'm gonna tell the doctor you put some of the pee in the toilet."

"Hannah, he doesn't need all my pee, just enough to do some tests."

I put the lid on the container, cleaned it up, and started to wash my hands. Hannah stared reverently at the amber liquid. "Can I touch it?"

I paused.

My knee jerk response was to ask her what the heck she was thinking and tell her absolutely not. But then, some other part of me, irrevocably broken by the process of motherhood said, "Why, what's wrong with it? Some stranger is going to touch it. It's clean on the outside. It's just weird. Get over yourself."

I sighed, indicated my assent, and immediately realized why the knee-jerk response existed as Hannah extolled the virtue of my jarred accomplishment. "Mommy, it's warm! It's sooo warm! Good job! You made warm pee!"