We’ve all experienced it: Waiting in the doctor’s office, hospital room or ER, perhaps in a flimsy, colorfully printed gown with your backside hanging out, for the friendly phlebotomist or nurse to come in with a rubber strap, a needle and a rack of tubes, each perhaps the size of your little finger.
The usual procedure, deftly performed in an efficient ballet: wrap the band around a bicep, have the patient flex until the vein bulges, swab the area and put in the needle.
If you’re lucky, the phlebotomist will stop at filling one tube. But often they suck out a second, a third, or more, until you’re sure you’ll be drained dry. Each tube has its own colored cap, designating the laboratory test for which it’s destined.
Unpleasant, but necessary, right? It’s all about finding out what’s wrong and how to fix it. Those extra tubes could provide the vital clues to a cure.