Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Just the Wrong Word

U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate Airman Philip A. McDaniel.

What are the chances of making a fool of oneself over poor word choices twice in one week? It shakes my belief in myself. More importantly, I can never get a flu shot again.

Today at work, we had a health-care worker come to give flu shots. It was my job to stand around and twiddle my thumbs, making sure everyone filled out the questionnaire and heckling co-workers (it is fabulous to be really good at something). One of the ladies, after finishing her paperwork, sidled up to the chair, slid up her sleeve and scrunched up her face.

"Oh, come on. The shot isn't that bad," I said. "You should be fine within a week."

She suffered through the needle and stood, pointing to her arms. "It is just that I have bad veins," she offered as an excuse for being afraid of needles. "When I was pregnant, they had to get blood several times and they would poke one arm three or four times, and poke the other one three or four times because they couldn't find any veins."

"Oh, that is bad," I said, remembering the ordeal my daughter went through years ago when they tried to get blood from her and gave her a huge bruise that lasted for weeks. I glanced down at my co-worker's smooth arms, showing no signs of purple veins. "Well, it is okay to ask for the most experienced lobotomist, you know."

The health-care worker's head jerked around and she stared at me, covering her mouth with her fist and going into a fit of coughing. "Oh, wow, that is just cute," she said when she recovered. "Lobotomist?"

Oh dear Lord.

"Phlebotomist," I corrected. "Right? Phlebotomist." My eyes rolled back and I buried my head in my hands. I can only assume a lobotomist is one who performs lobotomies. And if I were to ever find myself to be pregnant at my age, I'd definitely want a lobotomist as opposed to a phlebotomist.

But still...I'll never be able to face that health-care worker next flu season.


  1. Next flu season you'll have a best-selling novel out and your chauffeur will pick up the health-care worker of your choice and deliver him/her to your penthouse.

  2. Carolyn,

    Perhaps my cabana boy will be trained to give flu shots.


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