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To the Medical Lab Staffers Who Helped Me When I Couldn't Do It Alone

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I’ve been a neglectful mom as of late — I’ve been putting off something that needs to be done. I don’t think I’m different than any other procrastinating parent, but my reason is the anxiety associated with it.

I’ve been needing to get my son’s blood work done to test him for allergies and a full blood panel to test for vitamin deficiencies. He’s been on medication to help him sleep with his Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), acid reflux and restless legs syndrome. My infant sleep specialist thinks it’s related to his allergies.

I too need to get blood work to figure out why I have a cataract in my early 40’s and why my prescription changed so drastically. So I’ve made parenting mistake #5,411 by putting off the tests.

This morning I made a social story up about going for blood work. My son watched it on my phone for an hour before we left for the appointment. I rubbed some lavender oil on my pulse points to calm me down and sprayed it on my kids and off we went. I had phoned prior to request two nurses be with my son, who has sensory processing disorder (SPD) and is being assessed for autism spectrum disorder.

I registered us and sat in the play area of the lobby and waited. My oldest son was reading, and my youngest son was playing. I was sitting and playing the social story so he could hear it. Our turn came, and I left my oldest there and took my youngest to the room.

He sat on my lap, and the lovely nurse talked to us both about what would happen. A second nurse came in and prepared my son. I was playing the social story and feeling a little vulnerable.

I looked away, but I began to feel sick, and then my son was shrieking and wiggling out of my lap. The nurse stopped; she wasn’t able to find his vein — something he inherited from me. “Invisible veins.” He wouldn’t wear the tourniquet either.

Suddenly I felt nauseous and dizzy, and when the nurse asked me if I was OK, I replied, “No, but I’m trying to be.” She quickly got me a garbage can, and I leaned forward and inhaled the smell of rubbing alcohol, which made me almost pass out.

After I started sliding down the chair I could see my son giggling and saying, “Mommy’s funny,” and the nurse got me a wheelchair. I felt so relieved and silly at the same time. My kids joined me in the exam room, and my husband was called.

The staff at the medical lab were incredible as they helped me onto the exam table, set my sons up with paper and crayons and checked on my blood pressure. It’s always been low, but since I was experiencing emotional flashbacks to my son being in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), it was even lower.

All the memories of my poor helpless premature baby being held down to be tested day after day for jaundice played over again. He was so small and vulnerable, with a shrill cry. It all kept flashing back to me as I sang my son’s favorite song to calm his nerves. My husband arrived, and the nurses were relieved and got the blood work finished.

He held our youngest son while my oldest drew me pictures. Five vials of blood later and then three from me and we were on our way home. I’ll never forget how amazing pure love, kindness and compassion felt. Truly the best gift to give and receive.

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Originally published: March 1, 2015
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