Carpenter's Column: I’ll have the ham and cheese on rye

Carpenter's Column: I’ll have the ham and cheese on rye

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Carpenters Column

I am in the middle of a fast at the moment, the prelude to a blood draw scheduled for later this morning. Nothing to worry about, dear reader. Just a taste test of my humor soup to insure all the ingredients that constitute the me of me continue to be adequately apportioned.

My appointment is at 10:30 a.m. Presently, the time is 6:43 a.m. The earlier time slots have been scooped up. So, I have avoided going anywhere near the kitchen and my emergency stash of Oreos in my desk is depleted. I fear not for I am not hungry. However, merely as a thought experiment, I am contemplating eating a leg off my chair. Maybe not the entire leg. Perhaps just a small bite; a nibble, really, nothing substantial enough to skew the test results.

I attempt to distract my hunger (I had tacos 12 hours ago) by diving into an internet search engine to find out about this thing called blood testing. Blood types were identified in 1901 by an Austrian Physician and Immunologist Karl Landsteiner. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for his work.

Here we are 120 years later and I’m going to have eight collection tubes of blood drawn in order to locate constituent ingredients of the Mulligatawny stew that is my sanguinity.

I am as easily amazed as I am easily amused. I am amazed that I can visit with my physician to discuss a symptom. She asks questions, takes notes, and Presto! Through the miracles of technology, chemistry, medical science, and health insurance, blood tests are identified and ordered. The bottom to where we will get is somewhere in my hemoglobin and plasma.

I have the blood test order here in front of me. It looks like a ham sandwich: thick slabs of deli ham on Jewish rye, with spicy mustard, and mayo, and a slice of cheddar cheese.  . . . I shan’t eat the order. I shan’t eat the order. Maybe just a teeny tiny nibble on the chair leg. I can blame the mar on the cats.

The coding on the order comes into view. I search the internet for explanations and manage to place a couple of corner pieces of the puzzle called “The Wheat Field” that is my understanding of medicine.

A couple of SRV music videos later and I’m off to see the phlebotomist. A cheerful gatekeeper takes my temperature and my paperwork. She raises an eyebrow.

“Are you fasting, Mr. Carpenter?”

“Yes. Well, I suppose, technically, no. I had just a nibble to tide me over.”

“Just a nibble?”

“Hardly worth mentioning.”

“Your blood draw order stipulates that you are not eat anything for 12  hours prior to the draw.”

“Yes, I am aware of that.”

“Yet you are telling me you’ve had something to eat, correct?”

Yes, ma’am.”

“What did you eat?”



“I ate a small piece of oak from my office chair.”

“How small?”

I hold up two pinched fingers. “About yay small.”

“Too much fiber. You’ll have to reschedule. Next!”


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