If you were asked to give your favorite number on a scale of 1 to 10, what would you say? I know, it’s a pretty strange question. But seriously, think about it. Think long and hard before you answer, because the number you choose gives valuable insight into your personality.
If someone asked me to give my favorite number on a scale of 1 to 10, I would happily respond “one”. Whenever I hear the word “one”, other words like “first” or “superior” or “winner” come to mind. Quite fitting for Type A personality, huh? When I think about the number at the end of the scale, ten, words like “last”, “end”, and “loser” come to mind. Weird right? It’s amazing how negatively I view the number ten when it’s almost omnipresent in my life.
Every ten days, my morning starts the same way. The alarm on my phone sounds at 6am, ten minutes earlier than usual. I use the extra ten minutes to get up and cook breakfast for my family, and catch a few minutes of the morning news. While watching the news, I quickly whip up homemade waffles, fry some bacon, and scramble a few eggs. I then hurry two sleepy kiddos and my husband to the kitchen table for a quick eat. After breakfast everyone gets dressed, and heads out the door. My husband drops off our daughters on his way into the office, as I head to my standard day 10 appointment at my least favorite hospital.
I arrive at my least favorite hospital 10 minutes early, as required. I take the elevator to the 10th floor, and see the same nine faces I see every ten days as I enter the waiting room. I sign in to let the nurse know that I have arrived on time, and take my seat in the back. As I make my way to my normal seat, I say good morning and smile as I pass the familiar nine faces. I don’t know anyone’s name, but we make small talk like long lost friends. We discuss the latest medical breakthroughs and wonder if the one stick wonder has made it in to work yet. She is usually ten minutes late, but for me that’s right on time.
One by one people are called by a nurse, and together they disappear into a dark door. After fifteen minutes or so they both reemerge, I give a goodbye wave to the familiar face, and the nurse calls another one. I am usually saved for last, which is fine because by then the one stick wonder has arrived. When my name is finally called, I feel immediate dread. I get up slowly and take the long walk to the dark door, wondering in my mind how many more day 10s I have in store.
Once I am through the dark door, the one stick wonder greets me with a smile. She tells the nurse that walked me back “I got her”, who in return gives a quick nod. As I take my standard seat and roll up my sleeve, the one stick wonder jokingly looks at a piece of paper and says “yep, you’re still here for 10”. She hands me a familiar tennis ball to squeeze and says “you know the drill, ten times”, as she puts on those familiar blue gloves. I give a little chuckle as I start my ten count, and find my focal point on the wall. When I’m done counting she is ready for the blood draw, and swiftly wraps the tourniquet around my arm. She then inserts the needle and quickly fills all ten tubes. When the last tube is filled she removes the needle, and hands me a cotton ball. She then tells me to hold it for ten seconds, wraps my arm with coban, and says “I’ll see you in ten”.
While ten is just a number to most people, to me it represents many things. Ten is the day of my scheduled blood draw, and the amount of minutes I have to wake up early to be timely yet feed my family. Ten is the floor that houses the lab at my least favorite hospital, and the number of people usually waiting once I arrive. Ten is also the number of minutes I wait for my one stick wonder to arrive for her shift. Ten is the number of tennis ball squeezes it takes, to make my veins come alive. Ten is also the number of tubes that my blood has to fill, and the number of seconds I hold a cotton ball on my arm before I can leave and start my countdown again.
See, for me ten is not a number at all…it’s a day in my life.