Illustration by Jan Igoe
It was a dark and stormy night when I felt an eerie presence. I wasn’t alone on the empty street. Something evil mingled with the shadows, stalking me as I rushed home. My heart pounded as terror vanquished all rational thought. I tried to cry for help but had no voice. Just then, a sinister figure materialized in my path, her black cape yielding to the howling wind. As she moved toward me, her fangs glistened in the streetlight. She sank them into my throat and began to drink.
While most rational adults don’t think twice about a semiannual appointment for “routine blood work,” for those of us with a propensity to faint at the mere mention of blood, it’s a semiannual date with a vampire—one who prefers the professional alias “phlebotomist.” Armed with sharp needles, these sadistic, Bela Lugosi types pierce veins for a living. It’s hard to say why, but none of them seems to like me.
When patients select doctors, we look for things like modern sanitation, a leech-free office and no evidence of ritual animal sacrifice. But we’ll overlook those minor details if the practice accepts our insurance. All I really care about is the resident vampire. I insist on interviewing him or her and doing a background check to uncover any criminal or mental health issues before going under the needle. These are my terms:
- Let’s pass on the cold, hard desk chairs. I prefer to be lying down when I faint.
- We’ll use those tiny butterfly needles that give wimps a fighting chance to stay conscious.
- We won’t operate in a room decorated with hundreds of blood-filled vials, because we both know there are bodies somewhere nearby.
- You will not stick me multiple times while cursing my puny veins and lamenting that you could have gone into cosmetology.
- Don’t bother telling me to go to my “happy place.” If I’m there, you and your needles are not.
I’m not proud of this faint-over-blood thing, but there is one ray of sunshine. I just might hail from great warrior stock. WebMD more or less says that fainting over blood was a great self-defense ploy in battle. If you got a boo-boo and passed out, the enemy would assume you were dead and ride off to dismember somebody else. Survivors proudly passed on the ability to faint over the red stuff to a lucky 15 percent of the human population. It’s an evolutionary thing.
I am one of the lucky ones, ready to faint at a moment’s notice, in or out of battle on any dark and stormy night. So, you vampires should show some respect. I’m mighty when I’m conscious.
Jan A. Igoe is an evolutionary marvel who is not afraid to faint when things get icky. She plans to discuss this with Count Dracula the moment he contacts her at HumorMe@SCLiving.coop.