As usual I disgraced myself. A blood test which should take a matter of minutes resulted in me sweating profusely and on the verge of fainting. Don't know what happens to me. All I know is that, at the moment, I just can't seem to control myself, and anything to do with blood and veins just doesn't go down well.
I did all the right things leading up to it: made sure I was really hydrated, and kept telling myself to relax and breathe in and out and think of something else. This being me, I kept thinking of all the brave anti-government protesters in Egypt, and comparing their struggle for freedom with my struggle to avoid passing out. Alas, my feelings of solidarity were obviously not strong enough.
I did manage to avoid fainting, but only just. And only after I had FOUR nurses fussing over me. One holding my hand, one wiping my face with a damp cloth, and the other two to wonder whether all 32 year old English men react like this when having blood taken. All I kept hearing them say was that they'd never experienced a reaction like this before. What utter rubbish. They must have done.
All the while this is going on, I'm having to explain to them (in French) how I'm feeling, apologise for being such a wimp, and get one of them to open that damn window so I can stop sweating.
After I stumbled out of there (I looked back to see the 4 nurses looking at me, almost sighing in sympathy), I made my way downstairs to have an ECG. This was, thankfully, nice and drama-free; just lots of wires and various things stuck to my chest to measure whatever it measures.
My trip to see the anaesthetist a week later was merely a quick appointment to find out my height, weight, and general health. I told her to make a note on my file ahead of the surgery: "doesn't like needles, or anything to do with veins. Handle with care. (May need to be comforted by lots of nurses)."