Someone Else’s Blood

After Mom’s latest checkup, we left the doctor’s office and rode the elevator down from the third floor to the first floor where the lab is located so she could get her semi-annual blood work done. It was late in the afternoon and the waiting room was almost empty. Unfortunately, so were the lab stations – there were only two phlebotomists left on duty so the wait was almost as long as a morning visit to the lab when it’s fully staffed with four or five technicians.

Finally, the scant crowd of half a dozen whittled its way down to three, then two, then one, and finally it was Mom’s turn.

I wheeled her into the back where the lab stations are located and the technician, Corrine, got her settled with a fluffy pillow on her lap and a rubber tourniquet around her arm. I left for a quick trip to the ladies room and when I got back the final vial of blood was being filled.

“You’re all set, sweetie,” Corrine said with a smile as she removed the needle and wrapped a purple self-adhesive elastic ribbon over the patch of gauze on her arm. “You just need to confirm the name on these vials for me.”

At the same time, the gentleman that had gone into the lab just before Mom was being given the same instructions, except  loudly and repeatedly.

“Mr. Ebberly, I need you to…”

“What?” the old gentleman shouted.

“I need you…”

“What?” he shouted again.

Corrine paused before handing Mom the first vial. “Teddy,” Corrine interrupted. “You have to talk louder.”

Teddy nodded and started again. “MR. EBBERLY, I NEED…”

“You don’t have to yell, young man,” Mr. Ebberly exclaimed. “I’m not deaf you know.”

“Okay, then,” Teddy replied, lower his voice slightly. “I need you to verify that this is your name on the vials.”

“Wait a minute, son,” he said, patting the front of his shirt. “I need to put on my glasses first.”

“Sir, I think you already have them on,” Teddy said, pointing toward Mr. Ebberly’s face.

“Huh, what, oh, okay then,” Mr. Ebberly muttered as he patted the frames perched precariously on the end of his nose. “So what do I look at?”

“The name and birth date on the vial. I just need you to confirm it’s yours.”

There was a long pause as Mom looked at her vial of blood and I looked at the other two and Mr. Ebberly looked at one of his.

“Yes, that’s me,” Mom responded.

“These are too,” I concurred.

“This isn’t my blood,” Mr. Ebberly exclaimed loudly. “I don’t know who Sonora Quest is, but I’m Edwin Ebberly.”

“Sir, that’s the name of the lab,” Teddy sighed.

“What?” Mr. Ebbery shouted.

“The lab, sir. It’s the lab.”

“I know it is and I know where I am. I came here so you could take my blood. But this isn’t it!”



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