The Jab of a Needle

December 6, 2013 — 45 Comments

Daily Prompt: The sense of touch brings back memories for us.

The jab of a needle.

I have very small veins. Whenever I have to get blood drawn, the phlebotomist always struggles. 

She sticks me. Once. Twice. Thrice.  She jabs. She misses. It HURTS.

“Your veins are just so tiny…let me try the other arm.”

I grow angry.


I’ve done this.  Many times. I know how to tie off. Find my tiny veins.

She looks at me as though I’ve lost my mind. I don’t care.

Your venipuncture skills leave much to be desired. The tourniquet isn’t tight enough.  The needles you chose aren’t small enough.  You’ve not located the vein correctly.

I pull the band around my upper arm tighter, grab the end with my teeth, pull it tight,

Then SLAP SLAP SLAP my above my bicep. HARD.

I’m an expert.

So judge me, professional amateur. You could never judge me as harshly as I’ve judged myself.

That Jab of A Needle.

Whenever I feel it, I am reminded.

It feels like…

I’m  kissing God

The Christmas fireplace with the whole family I never had.

The most magnificent church bells ringing in my soul.

My brain is being massaged by Kafka and Burroughs.

The warm golden sunshine of a perfect life.

All pain melts away and I float on pure bliss.

And once the nod passes, the energy kicks in.

I could outrun a marathon runner.

Discuss literature, politics, extensively.  Especially a good conspiracy theory.

Make my house sparkle.

Listen to Lou Reed. Become Lou Reed. Have a “Perfect Day.”

Feel everything times one hundred. His touch is the touch of a king. I have no inhibitions; my body and mind open like a flower to him. And it goes on forever, because there is no orgasm. It never happens.

I write. I am Bukowski.

I write magnificently:

“Prosper been and planes there had never been and planes to prote words in there skywriting Seing as I’m not b=vrabby, and dontfolw a grop, I;ll g wite lskmudging wy the afafe thosjoje wuf u jt sj ja aflflowed there had never and there skywriting flowed the car, fulls car, fulls car, fulls car, trailing
It was him. One corner.”

It’s not just the jab of a needle.

Every day, at the gym, when I fasten the neoprene sports armband on to listen to music,

tighten it, pull the strap through and fasten the Velcro

I am tying off a vein.

Every day. The feel of a band around my upper arm.

I remember.


Talk to me.  I’m listening. 

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45 responses to The Jab of a Needle


    How did you ever break away? So few do.

    My wife’s veins are so slight that they always use a pediatric needle when drawing blood. Even then, it’s a challenge.

    If I see the needle, I’ll pass out. I always look at the wall, the ceiling. Anything. I went through a narcotic experimentation phase (nothing like yours) and my phobia of needles is how I knew I’d never be a junkie.

    My 7-year old is fascinated with injections and like to watch the needle sink into her skin. Who’d daughter is she, anyway?


      I could definitely get a blood sample from your wife. I’m that good.

      After someone I love OD’d in my apartment, the fun kinda…went away.

      Plus, I did have that dang college education and all…so I really did not belong in shooting galleries on avenue D.

      Hey- I went on your blog cause I needed a “Mark” fix, and commented on the Murakami art. It was an old post of yours. Did you read?


        I did not see it! I throw a post up and after another post replace it, I tend to divorce myself from it. I have the attention span of a gnat.


        Well, I was reading your old posts. It’s like reading the Arts and Leisure section of the Sunday times. You take in so much theatre and art you embarrass me!
        Also, I don’t get a notification when you’ve posted anything new, so I just stroll over periodically to see what you’ve posted.


        I *think* if you click on the email button you’ll get a ping every time I post. I’ve heard it works but who knows. The whole thing is so mysterious to me. I don’t know a damn thing about SEO or marketing.


        Don’t you use Feedly or anything like that? That’s how I keep track of all the blogs I read. Nice and neat interface.


        All the blogs I follow are on WP, so I just have them on my reader.

        I have not expanded to include many outside of WP – just yours. You’re special.


    It’s the feel of the bass, pulsing against my skin, the feel of the music… it makes me want to dance, it makes me way to dance for 8 hours straight, playing with glowsticks, grinding my teeth on a pacifier, with energy to spare. It’s rubbing my hands together and remembering the callusses in my fingers from gripping the glowsticks too tightly as I spun them around, twirling, whirling, tripping on my own show and tripping on watching those around me, fascinated by the movement of the lights, captured within their thrall. It’s the feel of my jaw clamping down now, unneeded, unwanted, abused, painful… the constant reminder of the joys and sorrows of the nights and days spent in diligent service of the music, and the drugs, and the music. The feelings are always there, the good and the bad, the conflict between what was done and regretted and those few shining moments of perfect bliss that can never be recreated, and probably never existed in the first place. And still, the beat goes on.


    I’m glad you got away from the junk. I’ve helped scrape three dead kids up from the same Jack in the Box bathroom floor over the years and each one had a syringe nearby that they just had to have. It’s tough to kick so you must be pretty amazing.


      That is so sad. I can’t possibly imagine what that’s like.

      Our job as parents is to keep our children away from dope. They’re all one friend away from ruining their lives.

      I don’t know if I’m amazing. But I try to surround myself with amazing people – I found you, didn’t I?


    Y’know, it’s odd… I was just talking to a friend about woes with the phlebotomist for blood draws. I go to a particular one my father recommended to me because she is ace. Tough old broad that gently jabs me only once or twice and gets blood, while the others, heh, they have to use a butterfly needle in the back of my hand.

    I’ve talked to my sister about this… she’s had to walk those peeps through it, because she’s got contrary, sinking, rolling veins just like Dad and me. She told me most of them aren’t trained to take blood out of the back of their hands. (Wow.) She has some skill with needles, but it’s because of having type I diabetes since childhood, with all those insulin injections. She uses an insulin pump now, but she remembers well enough.


    Wow, Samara, this is wonderful. I stopped to feel the emotion coming through. So emotional charged and raw. Thanks again for stopping by my blog. It’s great to have found you!


    I just followed you, but I was looking to follow you via email. Many of the posts in my reader, I don’t see! I have so many. So, I usually rely on the email notifications. Do you have one?


    Not sure I know what exactly this is… poetry, music, something in between, but it gave me a buzz that I usually only get from a half to a full bottle of wine. Ever read something and feel inspired to write something yourself? That’s what this is. You have some crazy writing voice, I love it.


    I loved this. From light to dark, to a brighter light, and back to dark again…. or light? I’m not sure, but it was a poetic journey despite of (because of?) all it’s reality.


      Rara love-

      You and Trent both thought of this as poetry. I hadn’t thought of it like that, but it must have a poetic ring to it, because you said so. And you are one of the the best. And Trent said so, so that makes it doubly true.

      The journey ends in the light. I’m in the light.

      Seeing you on my blog keeps me going, Rara kitty cat. Love you.


    I have small veins too… remind me to tell you about the time I had to get 13 shots in one day… at one time… 7 in one arm and 6 in the other… because I pissed off the U. S. Navy… sigh…

    cassidyleigh207 January 14, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    Ok, this is hilarious. I had just got done reading this post (congrats on making it to ‘Freshly Pressed’!) and I am currently at work (Yes, I am a phlebotomist and ssshhh, don’t tell anyone I am hanging out on WP while working) and before I could respond, a patient comes in with all the tell tale signs of being a junkie, track marks, bruised up puncture sites so I did with him what I do with ALL of these types of folk and asked, “Where should I go? You tell me.” and he wryly grinned and said, “Wherever you want… don’t matter to me none.” I missed him the first time (Well no, I was clearly in there but nothing came out.) but struck him the second on a barely visible surface vein just under his median cubital area. Grateful that he only needed one tube drawn… 2 and it would have collapsed. When I drew blood at a psychiatric hospital, I always knew to ask the addicts what hand they write with- and primarily search there, as it is harder for them to get the blood with their not dominant hand and chances are, there are still intact veins on that side.

    Very cool to “meet” you. Even after just briefly skimming through your content, I feel a kinship with you and you are doing with your blog in a sense what I wish to do with mine but haven’t been consistent enough with- tying in a “sordid past” with a more family friendly, sane present. 🙂


      Thank you so much for taking the time to read, and to comment. I’m really grateful, and hope you’ll come back.

      Yes, the whole “sordid” past and “responsible” present is so interesting, isn’t it? And true for most of us!


        cassidyleigh207 January 14, 2014 at 2:00 pm

        You would appreciate a blog I wrote- “Five Things the Lab Wants You to Know About Having Your Blood Drawn.” It blew my mind by spreading like wildfire, as I am still new to this whole blogging thing and the viral power of the internet. I will definitely keep tuning in. 🙂

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