Needle Marks

I have to get blood drawn today… and I already have a needle mark in my arm from an IV Monday.

I’m looking at the inside of my elbow as I don my shirt this morning, and I’m wondering, “What if the nurse thinks I’m a junkie?” Because the vast majority of “customers” at the walk-in blood-draw lab are job applicants taking an employer-mandated drug test.

Of course, that’s silly. Why would I care what the nurse thinks of me? Yeah, human nature, but still, I’m mature enough to not worry about that. Or should be. And one needle mark does not a drug abuser make.

But it got me thinking about two things.

  1. There’s a story here. Guy – say age 22, no college, no self-esteem – donates blood for money one day, and the next has to take a drug test for a job application. The nurse brands him to his face an addict. “No one’s going to hire you. That why this place exists. You’re like all the rest of them: in complete denial. Well, young man….” From there, his life truly spins out of control, because of the off-the-cuff and utterly incorrect opinion of one person that he sees as speaking with legitimate authority.
  2. Why does seemingly every company do drug testing these days, especially in a state where recreational marijuana is legal? What percentage of applicants are using harder drugs? (Or having poppyseed bagels for breakfast?) Or do these employers believe that the threat of a test will scare off “those” kinds of applicants? There’s that denial thing from the previous point. Oh, and follow the money – who’s profiting off all these tests?

(For the record, the docs are trying to find the cause of a cardiac myopathy. PET scan on Monday, blood test today to be sure the meds aren’t screwing up my kidneys. I’m lucky that this search is not a financial strain, though my wife’s insurance helps. And pissed off that this is pretty much the only first-world country where physical well-being in the face of a medical problem depends on fiscal well-being.)