Monday, August 22, 2022


Nothing quite gets the juices flowinging like having blood drawn. If the other options for early morning juiciness (coffee, perhaps a bit to eat, or just coffee dammit) are off the table. It was necessary to stumble over to the blood drawing place in early morning because I had failed a test. One cannot cram for such a test. But apparently one should remember that vitamin pills may skew results.

So no coffee, no breakfast (as other people understand it, which apparently is bacon and greasy fried potato substances OR left-over pizza), and NO vitamin pills.

Bleary eyed. Drank some water. Brushed teeth. Shaved and showered, applied the underarm deodorant and the foot powder. Clean clothes, bad attitude, bus across the hill.

[I believe that it is important to show respect for the occasion and people involved by being as presentable as possible. So no scruffiness. This also improves one's own attitude and outlook.]

The desk person at the 抽血室 ('chau huet sat') was business-like and entirely Mandarin speaking. Probably overqualified, but with fluency in only one language not yet at the level where she can actually exercise her specialty. What was my business there? Chau huet. Had I eaten. No. Had I drunk anything? No. Well okay then. I keenly appreciate that SF Chinese Hospital does not hire flibberty-gibbets, but has fully capable staff who can function in what must, at times, be a surreal environment.

When I had my ruptured appendix dealt with there I encountered native speakers of several regional languages in the Sinitic family, including Hainanese, Hakka, Toisaan, and Min, who were also capable of expressing themselves in standard Cantonese or Mandarin. As well as English. Most of them were overqualified for what they were doing, and consequently had depth and perspective. This is actually very important when the patient in question is in pain and gibbering in Dutch. As I may have been at the time. When my right leg was in agony at work a while back (arthritis meets arterosclerosis meets oedema from blood pressure meds by late afternoon) I expressed myself in Dutch. One old pussbag is probably still wondering what "verrekte ouwe klooiak" means. Literally: strained or ripped old scrotum. The figurative meaning is something else.

[There are times when the right leg is an entire smorgasbord of different pain sensations. It's quite educational and exciting. Perhaps I should have gotten the extended warranty I was called about so often.]

Blood test results (almost) ALWAYS show that the bad-tempered old dingus has blood but no caffeine. Sometimes they also say other things, like: avoids silver and mirrors, howls at the full moon, remembers past lives as a high priest having a torrid affair with Anck-su-namun in Thebes, or was a twenty thousand year old Inca princess .....

[Anck-su-namun was not my idea of torrid affair material, but, you know, some people ..... ]

Got coffee immediately aftwards, then lit my pipe and enjoyed the life-giving elixir.

Presently finishing my second cup of coffee at home. I shan't say that getting blood drawn was absolutely the best way to start my weekend, but I enjoyed popping down to the hospital as well as the peaceful smoke afterwards sitting on a bench at Broadway and Stockton. Sunlight, the passing throngs, interesting things, caffeine.

They'll call me if they need more blood.

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