Midnight Intruders

The healing process can become even more challenging when all you want to do is leave but know that you are unable. Fear and uncertainty can pervade. Worse yet, people keep telling you to get your rest. But aside from the sleep clinics (which I’ll tell you about later), hospitals are the worst place in the world to rest. It’s nearly impossible to sleep through the night… largely in part because of the vampires.

The most intimidating people in the hospitals are not administrators, surgeons, or (*gasp) the collections department. They are the phlebotomists – a name that even sounds intimidating. Phlebotomist. It’s a job title very few people outside the hospital or medical community have ever heard, disguised to make you think they are something they are not (like “politician”).

They can appear anytime, but usually sneak into your room when you are just about to fall (or have just fallen) asleep. They will also come in to wake you any time that you have finally achieved deep slumber (often at 4 or 5am). They are relentless and undeterred from their mission to stab you with their needles and extract your blood.

In all my years, I never met anyone who openly admitted to being a phlebotomist. In real life, I think they remain incognito by choosing to tell people things like: “I’m in the import/export business” or “I work for a research lab.”

…After her job was completed, I hit her with: “Great job this morning. You’re awesome.” She looked stunned by my comment. “No one has ever called me that,” she said flatly. “People hate me. I have the worst job in the hospital.” I started to feel sorry for her, realizing she was right. In a moment, she finished, packed up the blood, apologized and went on her way. It must be hard having to say you’re sorry all day for doing your job. Then, as she turned to close the door, I swear there was a little glimmer in her eye and the faintest hint of a smile on her lips. Of course, it had to have been because of my sparkling personality and quick wit so early in the morning … or was it because she had successfully bitten yet another victim?

What follows in this chapter of the book is a discussion how relating to people changes the way they relate to you and the impact that can have on your own healing mindset and the mindsets of your caregivers.

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