Cross stitch pattern of Flint Cragley from Super Paper Mario. Download the PDF here: Flint Cragley Pattern
Grid Size:61W x 100H
Design Area:4.21″ x 7.00″ (59 x 98 stitches)
My Patron, NinjaGoemon, loves finding sunken ships on the ocean floor. It’s fun to uncover a little piece of history, like all the shipwrecks in Chuuk Lagoon from Operation Hailstone. NinjaGoemon has to be careful of all the tourists scuba diving there too. She’s not the only one who loves to explore.
So, I faced one of my fears recently. I’ve never really liked going to the doctor, and even when I worked full time, I wasn’t able to afford going as often as I should. A few months ago I got in on adult expansion Medicaid, something my state was pretty late to the party on. This means that almost all of my medical costs are free and I can finally go address those things I had been putting off.
So I went to see a doctor, and we talked about everything. I even had a list of symptoms separated into four categories because it felt like too much to talk about all at once. I got a referral to a specialist who I’ll be seeing next month and a surgery scheduled for next week. It’s so strange that I’ve been pushing this away and not thinking about it for so long and now I barely have to wait at all for it to get treated. I know that my life will be easier afterwards, but it’s still scary to go through it.
Especially the blood test.
Let me give you some context. When I was younger, I had epilepsy. There’s a wide range of epileptic reactions out there, but mine was pretty mild most of the time. Still, some of the strangest things would trigger static in my brain, getting overheated, not eating enough salt, dehydration, the scent of isopropyl alcohol, even looking out of the corner of my eyes for too long. You know that meme with the shifty eyed monkey looking suspicious, yeah there was a time when I wasn’t able to do that without fuzz going though my head.
The worst would happen when I would get blood drawn. It’s an uncomfortable experience for anyone, but for me, I would get tonic-clonic seizures every time. Back when I first started getting them, they were called grand mal (big bad) seizures, and I’m torn if I like the change or not. Tonic-clonic is probably more descriptive, but the big bad seizures were much easier for my young self to understand. It was like a battle, breathe the right way, don’t look at it, keep talking, stay alert, and maybe the big bad won’t come.
It came every time, and every time I would wake up on the floor with a medical team around me testing my vitals.
It’s been at least ten years since I started really taking the reigns of my own medical health without my parents along to make decisions for me, and that means ten years of me obstinately avoiding any and all bloodwork.
I went in, got the blood drawn, and walked out just like everyone else… Haha, no, nothing’s ever that easy. I stopped responding, almost blacked out, and had to be helped into a geri chair by two doctors. But, hey, I didn’t have a tonic-clonic seizure!
My phlebotomist was super helpful. He kept me talking through the whole procedure, up until the static started. He asked questions and seemed engaged in our conversation even though I was frantically talking about Pokemon to keep my mind off of things and it was pretty obvious he only knew Kanto. He had just enough knowledge about the topic to keep me alert for as long as possible and for that I’m so grateful.
How did it feel? It’s hard to say. I knew I was safe, but as time went on, I got more and more anxious, but also increasingly disoriented, not sleepy, but like, disconnected from reality as if I was going to sleep but without any tiredness. It was all very involuntary, even though I was talking, it was hard for me to control what I was saying. I remember trying to say words like Great Britain and Stonehenge, words I know, but I stumbled to recall as if there was a black weight on my head and a heavy blanket over my eyes.
Even then, I still felt like I could manage it, but then the static came, and I knew I couldn’t take it anymore. I remember saying that this wasn’t good, but I’m not sure if the words actually came out. I remember hearing the other doctor telling the phlebotomist to stop. I could hear everything, but I couldn’t speak or really process what was being said, like listening to a podcast in the background while you’re working on something else, just for me, that something else was struggling to stay conscious.
They brought in the geri chair, and I got this burst of energy. It’s like, you know those pedestrians who get hit by a car and then walk to the sidewalk before collapsing? It was like that. Some part of my subconscious wanted me to act like I was fine and I managed to stand up to be helped into the chair.
Geri chairs are actually really cool. They let you lie flat and they’ve got wheels so you can get carted around. They took my blood pressure and glucose just like old times. The lab I went to was in a teaching hospital so at one point I had six people around me, at least one was pointed out to me as a student, so I’m glad I could be educational at least.
My brother was there to drive me home, and I’m fully recovered, but I feel like I don’t have to be as scared of bloodwork now.