I work in a religious school. Very religious. So religious my colleaugue calls it 'the kingdom of the nuns'. And as I have found out nuns are good at trying their hand at a lot of things. If you need to sign your contract there's Sister Gloria, if you need to make an enquiry about your playslip, go and ask Sister Assunta.
But I must admit that nuns didn't enter my mind when Sister Eileen came to tell me that I was required by the school to arrive early one morning last week without having eaten breakfast to do a blood test. I have very reluctant veins that require a lot of two-fingered arm slapping and aborted attempts with needles to be drawn from, so I was a little concerened, but all the same I was confident in the assumed capability of the doctor who my very reputable and prestigious school would no doubt procure to do my check up.
So I arrived apprehensive and hungry at 7.20 a.m. only to be presented with, you guessed it, a sister with a syringe. Okay, I told myself, don't make any hasty judgements. Just because she's wearing a habit doesn't mean she isn't qualified and capable.
There commenced quarter of an hour of the traditional arm slapping and punctured veins. I was getting more and more agitated and sister wasn't helping with her running commentary. "Let's try again, it won't hurt much. Okay I'm doing it near the hand so it'll probably hurt more than in the arm" . Then, when she finally started to draw blood "oh dear, I'm making a bit of a mess here. Oops, got some on the table there. Oh no, there goes some more".
My head started to spin and I broke out in a sweat. "Err, I don't feel all that well" I pleaded Sister. "It'll pass" she said airily as she mopped up drops of my blood from the desk and towel "let's just cover this stain up shall we, so that the next person who comes in doesn't get a shock".
"No really sister, I feel lightheaded, what should I do?"
"Here!" she shoved half a glass of water towards me, stirred in a packet of sugar and told me to drink it. "Okay? Better? Right then, let's call in the next teacher".
One may cast doubt on their dubious training and non-traditional techniques, but these no-nonsense nuns definitely get the job done! What a wake-up call!