There wasn't anyone else in the waiting room when my mother and I got to the clinic, so I got called back pretty swiftly. I invited Mom to come back with me. I'm pretty sure she hasn't been "behind the scenes" at a doctor's appointment with me since I was in high school. Once I was in college, handling my own doctor's appointments was my responsibility, even though I remained on my parents' health insurance until I was 21.

Getting blood is always a challenge with me. I have small veins that were inherited from my paternal grandmother, and using a vein in my arm is a practical impossibility. They're too tiny and they move when anyone tries to stick them. I've been getting blood drawn from the backs of my hands or the sides of my wrists for years because of this (and that's where IV's go, too, when I get them), and even that doesn't always work. Sometimes the veins just won't pop up and even when they do and a nurse can get a needle in one, they don't always bleed. Basically, getting blood drawn is a hassle and often a frustrating experience for me and whoever is doing the drawing.

Fortunately, I was having a "good vein" day that day. I'd driven us there since my mother doesn't drive on the interstate, and the heat from the sun coming through the windshield onto my hands made the veins on my hands pop up nicely. I still had to get stuck twice, though, as the first vein they used stopped bleeding after three and a half vials, and they needed four vials. So they had to stick me again to get the final half-vial they needed.

It took two nurses to get the blood they needed, and after they were done, I had to sign a paper acknowledging I knew they were doing an HIV test. I asked what other tests were being done. There were 11 different tests, including the HIV test, a test for Hepatitis B, thyroid function, a blood type test (which I told them right away was A-), and a bunch of different hormone tests. These tests would tell them how fertile I was and how likely I was to have a successful pregnancy.