Well Count Dracula may have wanted it, but I’m not sure about the phlebotomists at Swedish Medical Center. Actually, they do, but they are short-handed. I’m at my neighborhood clinic for a blood draw. My naturopath wants to check my vitamin D levels (very important Northwest people, and for more than breast cancer), my thyroid, and my vitamin B12 levels. My fabulous internist agreed to order the lab work so my insurance will pay for it, since my plan doesn’t cover naturopathy. (It does, however, cover acupuncture.)

The waiting room is full. There are just enough seats for the number of people in the room, all of whom are waiting for blood work. There are three seats empty, however. Three of the men are standing because how better to make time fly than to be on your feet for 45 minutes? I’ll stop being mean. Maybe they have bad backs or something. Or maybe they have compromised immune systems and don’t want to sit in the chairs so close to the other patients. Wait, one of the stand up guys hasn’t taken his heavy looking Boeing briefcase off of his shoulder. He is also hovering close to the sign in desks. Given that he is carrying excess weight and is brave enough to hover close to the potentially germy people at the sign up desk, I feel comfortable calling him, “Impatient” and judging him silently in my mind. Taking time to negatively judge a fellow human helps me pass approximately 50 seconds of wait time.

Hey, a lady just sat next to me and asked how long I’d been waiting. I respond, “About 15 minutes.” Then I try to ensnare engage her with my scintillating small talk. She responds, but only with politeness and no apparent interest. Foiled again, but that 90 seconds just seemed to fly by. Oh hey, an older lady takes a seat across the aisle and starts to talk to me. She seems to have real possibilities! She makes a comment about someone being so happy to have their name called. Then she makes a little sideways nod, smiles, and makes a small raspberry-like noise as if to say, “Can you believe this crazy world we live in? I, for one am determined to enjoy it.” After awhile, I realize that she is not consistently coherent, says the same phrase when each person goes to get their blood drawn. The head move and raspberry noise are repeated. In other words, instead of saying, “Can you believe this crazy world we live in”, she is saying, “I have a combination of vocal and motor tics.” While I’m digesting this, I do feel a little bit happy that her neurological issues give her a certain flair and noting her leopard print socks and colorful clothing, decide that despite the tics, her personality is coming through. Maybe she really is making a positive statement about life while simultaneously experiencing tics. This is what I choose to believe and the animal print clothing clinches the deal. My combined mental efforts as an amateur neurologist, fashion observer, and self-deluder took up at least 30 minutes. Goooooal!!

My name is called. I have a short conversation with a very pleasant phlebotomist with gnarly tattos. Noting that there is evidence of multiple recent needle marks in my arm he says, “Good times.” I tell him about my cancer. that I am doing well, and that I am getting excellent care at Swedish. He says something generic but it is communicated with an air of hipster sweetness so I feel supported. All in all, the blood draw and conversation take less than 3 minutes.

My total wait time was 50 minutes. It was not so bad. I am trying to think about time and waiting differently these days and it seems to be working. I also try to make sure that I don’t try to squeeze medical appointments into my schedule.

If they hired one vampire they could take care of this problem, stat. Just sayin’.