Health care in America: even my doctor lines up for the community multiphasic blood screening, rather than going to the regular lab.

It costs thirty-two dollars for the usual screen, plus ten dollars for thyroid, or PSA or B-12. The blood-drawing used to be held at the local rec park building. Now it’s at the county emergency services building, outside of town on a brand-new winding country road. They could just as well hold it at the public library, or firehouse, or agricultural center—any large room usable for voting, or the traveling reptile show, could be set up for phlebotomy.

I’ve had my blood drawn in a lab attached to a medical suite, or in a hospital, or at an off-site location attractive for proximity or shorter waiting times. Those labs all resembled each other in their hospital décor, their magazine-enhanced waiting areas and nurse-like receptionists, their blood-drawing chairs set next to tables crowded with tubes. Fainters could opt for a bed or gurney with a pull-around curtain. I used to be a fainter, but then I ran out of time for the process of losing and regaining consciousness. So I started chatting up the phlebotomists while staring fixedly at an opposite wall, and remained upright.