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Surviving Your Regular Blood Work Appointment

Credit: Unsplash
While it may not be enjoyable, it doesn’t have to be unbearable.

As I age, I’ve noticed an increase in the frequency of needle pricks compared to my childhood. Some individuals have no issue with needles, but personally, even the mere sight of my own blood makes me uneasy, not to mention watching it being drawn through a large needle. Just writing about it is making me a bit dizzy. Nonetheless, routine blood work is crucial for keeping track of your health status. When your physician advises you to have it done, you might groan initially, but it will be over before you know it.

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Initially, when your doctor instructs you to undergo blood work, ensure that you confirm a couple of details. Firstly, make sure you are aware of the nearest testing facility, and ensure your doctor approves your choice. Although your physician’s office may arrange the appointment for you, you will likely need to do it yourself. It’s not complicated; simply visit the lab’s website, fill out the required information, and they will reserve a slot for you. Some labs even send text messages and QR codes for check-in, but we will discuss that shortly.

Prior to your blood work, in the event it involves a standard set of tests, fasting is required. You must refrain from eating anything for at least eight hours prior to the blood draw to prevent interference with the results. During this fasting period, you are permitted to drink only water (ensuring your veins are hydrated) and take your usual medications. If you are taking any vitamins or supplements, it’s advised to skip them, but seek clarification from your doctor if necessary. Scheduling your blood draw in the early morning is advisable, so you don’t have to endure hunger for an extended period.

Credit: Unsplash

When the time arrives, simply enter the reception area and either check-in at the counter or using an automatic kiosk. Once called, provide your identification and insurance details for verification, and you will be escorted to the blood drawing room. The phlebotomist will tie a band around your non-dominant arm and insert the needle. If you are uncomfortable with needles, make an effort to look away and consider inhaling a soothing scent like lavender oil. Professional phlebotomists strive to ensure your comfort before proceeding.

Upon completion, congratulate yourself and have a snack, as you will likely feel hungry. Most labs will deliver your results within approximately four days, allowing you to resume your daily activities.

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