I'd venture to guess that 90% of Americans don't know their blood type. In the past, I used to giggle and snort at the fact that it was listed (alongside your religion, no less) on Turkish ID cards. Come to find out, not only is this info kinda important if, God forbid, you find yourself in an emergency situation, but also if you want to join a gym.
My birthday resolution (I like to give myself 10 more days to eat, drink and be merry AFTER the new year), was to take better care of myself by going to the gym. A friend of mine suggested that I go to the sports club run by the municipality, called the Hanimlar Lokali (The Ankara Women's Club). This place is kind of a women's center where you can acquire just about any skill set under the sun from step aerobics, to theatre, guitar and swimming...you can get your hair and make up done, check out a book from the library and play table tennis...all for $68/year. Compare that to a high-end gym around here, which will set you back about $3000/year and this seems like highway robbery. I've decided to carry out that crime and join the Ankara Hanimlar Lokali.
When I started to look at the list of requirements to join, though, I realized that there's another price I have to pay...getting myself stuck with a needle. At every single doctor's appointment in the past (this is NOT an exaggeration), I passed out. It goes exactly in this order: I sweat, turn as white as the nurse's jacket, I unconsciously hold my breath, and then comes the "helmet"--the invisible enclosure that starts to come over my head and block out all sound and eventually sight, followed by the kind nurse (that has been forewarned) resting me gently on the bench and giving me some form of sugar. Needless to say, I had a small anxiety attack when I walked into Guven Hastanesi today to have the requisite blood drawn and resolve my "kan grubu" mystery. I warned the nurse, who must have been half my age, of my trypanophobia, and she told me to look away and don't forget to breathe (a pretty good reminder for someone like me). She asked which arm was better, and I laughed, explaining that I have abnormally narrow veins and it doesn't matter which arm--she'd probably have to end up circling around attempting to poke something that would serve up the appropriate cc of blood in both arms in the end, as per usual. I inhaled, felt a small poke, and kept on breathing...soon enough, it was over! I didn't even break a sweat, nor were there the usual purple and blue works on my inner elbow! Cheers to the Guven Hastanesi nurse--you accomplished something no other nurse in the history of mankind has done! I decided then and there, in case of emergency, I choose Guven Hastanesi and if I need blood, ask my hubby...we adorably belong to the same "kan grubu".
I wasn't so hopeful when I went to the Saglik Ocagi (polyclinic-type thing). I will spare the gory details, but I was thankful I only had to go there to get a note from a doctor who simply had to look at me and sign a piece of paper saying I looked physically ok to participate in sports. I was kind of surprised at the operation of that clinic, and I'm not so secretly glad that I didn't have my blood drawn there. I know most people only go to such places for simple procedures...but I think I'll stick to having all procedures, simple or not, at Guven Hastanesi.