The forces of darkness descended on me Wednesday morning. I was hauled into a room in the dungeon of West Valley City Police Department and forced to give up a sample of my blood.
As Officer Amanda Zeller strapped my arm and prepared a needle, I tried to make sure she was following procedure.
Me • “Aren’t I supposed to be unconscious for this part?”
Her • “I could make that happen if you want.”
Cops pulling blood out of people is a big deal these days, ever since news broke regarding the video-recorded arrest of University Hospital nurse Alex Wubbels for her refusal to allow an officer to draw blood from an unconscious patient.
More than a hundred years ago, when I was a cop, the only blood we ever worried about is the blood that got on us at gory death scenes. Blood was always someone else’s job.
For example, it would freak out my wife whenever she pulled my uniforms from the laundry. She once found part of a tooth.
Never in my entire police time did I intentionally make blood come out of someone. I didn’t care if it happened during the regular course of business, but never on purpose.
The officer in Wubbels’ arrest has since been fired and his supervisor demoted for what mushroomed into a national public relations disaster. Both are appealing.
I can’t speak for those officers, but I would never have arrested a nurse when I was a cop. I knew better. There were a couple of times when I ended up at their complete mercy. So no way was I ever going to piss them off.
An emergency room nurse would have had to eat a live baby in front of me before my sense of official duty rose to the level of even a verbal warning. That’s how much I cared about maintaining a working relationship with people who might one day need to pull a bullet or an arrow out of me.
Back to Officer Zeller taking my blood entirely against my will. In reality, it was a bit of brilliant investigative journalism on my part. You’ll love this.
I let out word that I was skeptical of police officers being capable of drawing blood from people through any means other than brute force.
I immediately received a phone call from Zeller, who offered to prove me wrong. In the final stages of training to be a phlebotomist, she needed subjects to practice on to complete her qualification.
Since I had a big mouth about cops drawing blood, why didn’t I volunteer to see how much police work has changed from the time I patrolled dirt streets in a horse and buggy? I accepted her dare.
The drunk testing room at West Valley City Police Department is the size of a closet. There was barely enough room in it for Zeller, me and the needle.
Needles don’t bother me. Nail guns, pitchforks, spears and wooden stakes do, but not needles.
However, this was a needle in the hands of a police officer. What if I had already made her mad enough to insist on taking my blood from an eyeball or under a thumbnail?
It was a good stick. I had planned on screaming anyway, but she was as smooth and professional as any nurse, and it was over before I had a chance for theatrics.
The best part is that Amanda (yes, we’re on a first name basis now) gave me back my blood. It’s in a vial on my desk as I write this. There’s just about enough in there to fill a shot glass.
Time for some more investigative journalism. Would Sonny be able to taste it in his coffee? I’ll report on that later.
Correction: Oct. 13, 1:45 p.m. • An earlier version misspelled Officer Amanda Zeller’s last name.