top of page

Miracles Do Happen (If That’s What This Was)

Something happened to me yesterday that some people might be tempted to call a miracle.

No, I’m not about to say that I walked on the rough waters churned up by Hurricane Dorian, which has dominated our local news lately. It’s been covered by media longer than I can recall coverage of any other hurricane since we’ve lived in the Palmetto State. In fact, the closest I came to Dorian was seeing a few gray clouds overhead as the storm skirted the coast.

And no, I didn’t see any of the waters turned to wine or witnessed any blind men suddenly being able to see or cripples from birth suddenly leaping and walking about.

Nothing of biblical proportions, although I would never discount God’s ability to make any or all of those kinds of things happen. After all, I’ve known people with cancer whom doctors suddenly found were cancerless. And people whose days supposedly were numbered who ended up living for decades longer.

No, what I’m referring to is not actually a miracle in the strict sense of that term. But I refer to what is, or at least has been in my recent memory, extremely rare. I’m referring to a lab tech’s ability to locate a viable vein, insert a needle into it, and draw sufficient blood for a blood test without having to poke my arm multiple times and then wiggle the needle around in my arm in efforts to keep the precious fluid flowing.

Every time I’ve gone for blood work in the past, I’ve warned the techs that everyone has a hard time finding the vein and keeping the blood flowing. I even suggest that they take it from the back of my hand, where the vein is obvious, no exploration necessary. (That’s what one tech, who was unusually capable of learning from her mistakes, did after having tried both of my arms unsuccessfully.) But do you think the other techs would listen? Of course not! What could I possibly know about my own arteries? After all, I’m not a trained medical professional. As a result, I’ve been bruised by some of the best and some of the worst of them, and that has made me leery of all of them.

To be totally honest about this, I did have one older nurse who could do it right first time, every time. Unfortunately, she was usually called in only when two or three other younger techs had tried unsuccessfully and I was looking like a pin cushion (and the next day would look like one of those dark brown lawn puff balls we sometimes mow over here in the South, spreading a cloud of millions of choking spores all over the neighborhood).

But today was different, and I had absolutely no warning, no opportunity to prepare myself for what I was about to face.

When I walked into the lab area, however, I immediately noticed a difference. In charge was the first male tech I’d ever had poke me. He certainly wouldn’t win, or even get a nomination for, any Mr. Personality Awards. He merely grunted when I spoke to him. Not everyone laughs at my corny attempts to be funny, but this guy didn’t even roll his eyes. I began to think that maybe he could bruise me badly and never blink an eye. A sadist, surely.

I went into my by-now well-memorized warning about every tech’s having trouble finding the vein. It didn’t faze him. He just quietly applied the tourniquet and began seeking that elusive vein. He found something that I couldn’t even see clearly. It could have been a single hair for all I knew. But with his X-ray vision, he saw something. As he prepared the four supersize glass collection vials and the needle, I looked in the other direction and mentally braced myself for the inevitable “just a little prick” that becomes a major pain as the typical tech twists the needle back and forth in search of the invisible and for the just-as-inevitable golf ball- to softball-sized bruise.

Not feeling any of that, I looked back at my arm to see why he was having problems before he had even poked me. Imagine my surprise when I saw the needle firmly inserted into the vein, blood flowing rapidly, and the first vial nearly full. The tech deftly removed it, replacing it with the next. Again and yet again. And before I knew it, he was saying the most he had said since I walked in: “You’re free to go.”

As I left, I looked him in the eyes and said, “Thank you for getting it right!”

Mr. Personality just broke into a broad smile. No words can express the importance of doing your job right. And no words can express the appreciation of us pin cushions.

Miracles do happen!

1 view0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page