One of life's eternal mysteries
Anyway, there's a little clinic for this precise purpose off Smithdown Rd. It's one of the few remaining outposts of what my father assures me used to be the local Workhouse. But which is now a huge Asda instead. (There's probably an amusing satirical parallel just begging to be drawn there, but I've been up since 5.30, and I'm beginning to flag.)
Veins are professionally opened between 8.30 and 12.30 in the morning. It's best to get there as early as possible because it gets very busy later on. Not only does it get so busy that there isn't always anywhere left to sit down, but the seating is of the plastic-bucket-attached-to-long-metal-rod-screwed-into-the-floor variety. At best, uncomfortable. At worst, something akin to sitting in a dodgem car being driven with more enthusiasm than skill by an eight year old on a tartrazine high. Why must people wriggle? (I exempt CPers from this criticism, obviously.)
So. I arrived. I took my numbered ticket from the machine. (It's like the machine at the deli counter in Sainsbury's. Except for the fact that you don't come out of the experience with a punnet of olives. Which is a shame.)
I did the ouchy crip's quick survey of available seats. (If you are an ouchy crip too, you undoubtedly do this yourself every time you get on a bus or train, or go into a pub or restaurant. So you will know what I'm talking about.) The quick survey is intended to identify the seat which will be the least problematic of all available seats.
If I were Arnold Shwarzenegger in Terminator, and finding a seat was a nail-biting part of the plot of the movie in which I was starring, there would probably be a clever special effect to represent the ouchy crip's survey. Data would scroll past my inner eye. My microprocessor would correlate information about lumbar support; proximity to toilets; wriggle-potential of those in nearing seats; and decibel level of any small children who might have been brought along for the ride. The Best Of All Possible Seats would flash up on my view screen, and I would proceed towards it in a somewhat threatening manner.
But I don't have a microprocessor. Or a view screen with pulsating green lights. Just a rather furtive expression on my face while I scan my surroundings. I sit down on a short bank of "chairs", one seat away from a middle-aged chap who doesn't look as though he's likely to move about very much. (He is later replaced by a bouncer extraordinaire, but that's beside the point.)
Coincidentally, the seat I have chosen enjoys a partial view into the blood-letting room. So I am treated to the sight of people frantically removing several layers of clothing so that their inner elbows can be pierced with a needle.
Is it just me, or is this really not rocket science? Your doctor has sent you to have blood tests. Even if you have never had blood tests done before, wouldn't you stop and think about where the blood might be taken from? I mean, surely no-one assumes it will be taken from the tip of a finger. Or the end of their nose. Are people such exhibitionists that they want to have to strip down to their bra/vest in front of complete strangers? Wouldn't it cross your mind to wear something loose which could be pushed up/rolled back as necessary? Apparently not. My practice nurse has had me in fits of laughter in the past when she has regaled me with anecdotes of tightly-swaddled patients.
All of which has started me wondering: what would be the worst possible combination of garments to wear when going for blood tests?
Excluding something as ridiculous as a full set of armour, my best shot to date is a high-necked blouse with leg of mutton sleeves, worn under a pinafore dress which does up at the back. I am, of course, open to better suggestions...