I had some routine bloodwork done recently. Now you’d think someone who watched a documentary about Theranos and listened to all 6 hours of a podcast about Theranos would be coolcoolcool with a simple visit to the lab. But deep down I’m also still that little kid who heard you had to get shots to go to college and for many years decided the best solution would be to not go to college.
When I realized what was waiting for me at the end of my bike ride to the doctor’s office was more than a finger stick, a nervous tingle traveled all over my body, and my heart rate picked up. I tried to practice my slowest yogic breath, to focus on the feeling of riding my bike, my legs moving, the sun warming my skin, the traffic violations. What was that saying? Oh right, “Worrying is like praying for the worst to happen.” Hmmm… kinda helpful?
Half an hour later, I’m sitting in one of those unmistakable chairs, the ones with the ballroom dancer arms, designed for one purpose only, taking your blood. My lab tech Nicole had the gentle touch of an angel, and the procedure was already underway. I attempted small talk (“Did you see that Theranos documentary?”) and avoided looking at my arm. It was going well. I was doing it! Until I wasn’t.
First, I was cold and hot at the same time. Then I felt dizzier… and dizzier. I considered asking Nicole if we could stop, but I wasn’t sure any sounds would come out of my mouth.
I don’t remember leaving consciousness, but the slow process of coming back stayed with me. Where am I? Why am I slumped over in this chair? Who am I? Uh-oh.
And then I heard sweet Nicole say, “I am here with you. You are not alone.” Her words were like a hand reaching across the abyss, a lifeline reeling me in. As she wiped my forehead with a cold towel and pushed the hair out of my face, I felt like Julia Roberts, like I always wanted. Only it was the “drink your juice, Shelby” scene from Steel Magnolias and not the acceptance speech for my Oscar-winning performance as Erin Brockovich from my fantasies.
The moral of the story: make your prayer requests very specific, and always remember the most important words you can say are, “I am here with you.” Because the most important way you can make someone feel is not alone. There’s really nothing else we need, and it’s true in every relationship. Partner, mother, father, son, daughter, sister, brother, friend, teacher, student, stranger… That might be all it takes to bring someone back to life.
Photo Credit: Ioana Cristiana