Blood work

October 29th, 2009

I’m sitting at Starbuck’s in the city. I have just had vials and vials of blood drawn – I stopped counting at five – on an empty stomach and I have earned this treat, this hour in the coffee house with no children, this triple-shot latte, this blueberry muffin.

The blood work is to try to find, or not find, a cause for my embolism. The doctor running my intake paper work was the same nice doctor from my ER visit; not the brusque one who told me I had multiple pulmonary emboli in both lungs and then left but the nice hematologist who came in afterwards to clean up her mess, the one who talked me down out of my panic, the one who drew little pictures of lungs and circulatory systems on a loose piece of paper and explained to me why I shouldn’t worry about a stroke, about an aneurism.

The phlebotomist who drew my blood was kind and cheerful, chatting away while deftly switching vials, distracting me with questions about my kids, about where I’m from, if I have Heimweh (homesickness, though a more literal, and literary, translation is pain; pain for home). People see my name – I never changed it to R’s über-Swiss last name, it was too much trouble and anyway to this day I don’t think I pronounce it quite right – and they hear my book-German and they know I’m not from here. They ask how long I’ve been here, they complement my German, they ask if my boys speak English or German. They are always pleased to hear “both,” say what an advantage the boys will have with English as a mother tongue, say how good it is that they can speak Swiss with the other kids. They are always nice to me. Switzerland is gaining a reputation as Fremdfeindlich (xenophobic) – hm, perhaps campaigns like this have something to do with it? – but people are always nice to me, curious. I am, of course, the “right” kind of foreigner, but that is a post for another time. For the woman drawing my vials of blood it was probably a godsend, my Ausländerin status – something new and different to chat about as she distracts yet another patient from the sixth, seventh vial of blood.

And then it was over. She gave me a bottle of water and told me to go straight to the cafeteria to eat something. (I disobeyed, took the five minute bus ride here instead). She said it would probably be two weeks, a little longer, before my results come. There will be a letter. In two weeks, a little longer.

In two weeks, a little longer, the Boychen turns two. In two weeks, a little longer, there will be a letter, telling me a little something – or nothing at all – about  the rest of my life.