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Blood, urine, talking to the dead, and more

Today’s column is not for the faint-hearted.

It is a pair of stories about blood and (simulated) killing.

You have been warned.

First the personal story (the one about blood). Last week I went to the hospital for a blood test. It had been over a year since my last one, and the doctor wanted to check that my blood-sugar level was still OK. I had to fast for eight hours before the test, which was set for just before 1.

That meant the fast had to start at 5 a.m. For most people, that wouldn’t be much of a problem, since they probably aren’t up until a couple of hours after that.

I, though, am up at 4 a.m. five days a week to do the early-morning stuff at CFIS. That meant I couldn’t take my usual snacks in with me to the station, which meant my fast ended up starting at 9:30 p.m. the night before.

I checked in at the hospital, got in relatively quickly and, in a somewhat pleasant surprise, had the nurse find a good vein on the first try.

As she put some gauze over the pinprick after the blood test, she casually mentioned I needed to provide a urine sample as well.

That was going to be somewhat more problematic. This was the first I had heard of this, and I had actually gone to the bathroom at home just before I came down, so the bladder was dry.

I tried for about five minutes there, then confessed my failure to the nurse.

“No problem,” she said, bundling the sample vial into a plastic bag. She told me I could do the sample at home any time over the next couple of days.

I told her it wouldn’t take that long, went home, had a couple of glasses of water, and was back at the hospital with the sample within an hour.

The good news came the next day, when my doctor called to say the test results showed everything was looking good, including the blood sugar.

The simulated killing I mentioned at the top of the column? That came in a computer game called Escape from Tarkov. It’s a team-based first-person shooter, where you actually can (unlike a lot of other similar games) shoot your teammates.

I was watching a Twitch streamer play the game with three other players on her team. They all had chat on so they could talk to each other in game.

At one point, one of the other players asked, “Are any of you crouched in the bushes in front of (a particular building)?”

She was assured none of them were, so she took a couple of shots at the figure. She hit and killed it, then asked, “Just checking. You’re all still alive, right?”

The player I was watching assured her teammate she had not been shot by friendly fire, then turned her mic off for a few seconds and laughed about the apparent absurdity of the question.

Of course, asking if someone is alive isn’t quite so absurd when you realize that in Tarkov, you can chat with your teammates after you die.

Her, nobody ever said computer games were totally realistic.

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