Forewarning. This is not for the faint of heart. If you get squimish about giving blood or needles you might not want to read this. A few months ago, I took a blood test. Terrified. I’ve never been a fan of giving blood. Then again, who is? However, every time I’ve given blood it’s been an absolute disaster. They either take too much or they forget I’m on the table. I remember when I walked in. She was sitting there. Polishing her needles. A wide grin on her face. I imagined her waving me over and taking my blood. All of it. Until I was nothing at all. Just a skeleton sitting there. A Jack Skellington. Then, I imagined the surgeons from Resident Evil walking in to collect the rest of me while clapping and saying something along the lines of, “We finally got him. We’re finished here.” Back to the story. I sat down and the vampire asked me to extend my arm out. “Just a prick” she said as he lunged at me with the mini sword in her hand. I’m fairly certain she was calling me a prick because there was nothing said prior to that. Shoving the needle into my arm, she told me to make a fist. No blood came out. Nothing at all. She just stared at me. “Is this normal” I asked. “No” she coldly responded, “We’ll have to try the other arm.” The other arm was a success. About a week later, I got an email with the basic lab results. This was the bare-bones basic info like cholesterol and blood pressure. Everything was perfect. I felt on top of the world. Imagine that scene in Titanic where Leo’s standing on the railing screaming like an idiot. That was me. Then, I got a letter in the mail. It was from the lab that took the blood test. Opening it up I figured it was probably just the results on paper. As I read the first line, I thought I was a goner.
“Dear Ryan, we urge you to speak with your physician immediately.” That was it. One sentence and a ‘Sincerely’ sign-off by the Grim Reaper. I literally dropped the paper along with my stomach. I ran to my computer to login and look at my lab results again. However, this time everything was in red. The basic info like cholesterol and blood pressure was still fine but everything else was flagged. Things I didn’t even know existed were flagged. I called the doctor immediately. They’re closed on Wednesdays. A day later I was in his office. “Give it to me straight Doc, how long do I have?” I squealed. “Ryan. This isn’t anything to joke about. Your liver enzymes are very high. The numbers here are what someone with Liver cancer would have.” He would then go on to say numerous other medical things that all equaled one outcome. A dead Ryan. Imagine me just sitting there while an old Italian Doctor spoke Italian to me using over-exaggerated gestures. He held his hands in the air as if he was showing me the size of a Bass he caught. Got down on one knee as if he was a place kicker in the NFL. All in Italian. In the end, he suggested we take another test to compare the results. For an entire week, I spent every minute of my day thinking about what could be wrong with me. WebMD didn’t help. Based on my numbers, I had liver cancer, hepatitis A,B,C, renal failure, and AIDS among other things. I lost 10 pounds stressing out. My hair started falling out. I had no appetite. Then, I got the call from my Doctor. Trembling, I answered the phone. “Ryan. The tests came back. Your liver enzymes are back to normal. There must have been an error with the readings. Everything seems to be fine. However, your testosterone count is practically nonexistent. You’re a woman.”