this is the stark view from the chair at quest where i get my bloodwork done. the room is almost completely bare and cream-colored, save a couple of old framed pictures of flowers on the walls and a clear shelf stacked with colorful vials, ready to be filled with blood. whenever i come into this room, i know i will be surprised by the number of vials they need to fill; i will count the vials, before they are filled and during (having to recount often because counting can feel dizzying), and try to believe that this is just a part of life, that there is nothing wrong with looking at vials filled with liquid that used to be a part of me; to normalize the idea that this is something i am expected to do, that i am somehow accountable to my doctors, to their requests that i deposit my blood in a lab near my house so they can analyze it, so they can better understand what’s going on inside me.
but as i become more familiar with this process, as ten vials starts to sound like a reasonable number and a relief compared to what they took last time, i become equally familiar with the results. i know my iron will be low. i know they will ask me to take more supplements, to start taking my iron pills again. i know they will tell me i’m not absorbing vitamins B or D well, that they might ask me to do another stool sample, which will take me six months to do because the whole process feels demeaning and tedious.
soon, no part of this process will surprise me at all and i will feel no engagement in it, will have no emotions to devote to it. pick up scripts from doctor, check. make appointment at quest, check. take a half day, check. eat and drink before appointment, check. look away before they stick the needle in, check. count the vials but don’t care about the number, check. listen to results and pretend to care, check. nod when asked to purchase more supplements, check. continue on with your day, check.