So I went back to have my blood drawn today, and again, they couldn’t find a vein in either arm (this should have been a hint). So the tech asked if it would be okay to tap a vein on the back of my hand instead. Sure, I said, figuring we were still talking about a tiny needle and less than 1% of my total blood volume, what could go wrong?

She had me make a fist and inserted the needle while I carefully studied the marketing stickers on the office laser printer. Then the stickers started getting… well, not fuzzy, really, but more like I was looking at everything through a white screen or really thin gauze.

Then my hearing went. I’m already partially deaf, but I can hear pretty well in a quiet room. This was like like suddenly I was wearing earplugs and just lost 20db across the board.

Cue the water works. I started sweating, a cold sweat that soon made me look like I just got out of the pool. And now my vision’s getting worse, the gauze is getting thicker.

I let the technician know what’s going on and she wraps up as best she can (she noticed that not only did I get very pale, but the flow of blood into the tube started really slowing down). Then I scarf down three glasses of water and go lie down on the X-Ray table, noticing that the wall next to me is filled with star charts, of all things. After ten minutes or so my senses come back to full strength and I feel strong enough to stand, thank the technician and go home.

This is the first time I’ve ever gone into shock. I often get woozy when having blood drawn (there’s something fundamentally not right about volunteering to have someone tap your circulatory system and wait patiently while you pump your very life fluid out of your body) but this was different. I don’t know if it was the dehydration or unusual point of withdrawal or what, but I can definitely say I don’t recommend it.

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