Lockdown Diary: Bleurrgh!

I eventually received the Thriva kit through the post. I ordered it last Thursday and it arrived yesterday, so took a whopping six days to get here. I think the postal service is a bit broken right now, which is unsurprising.

Anyhow, when I opened it, a renewed sense of confidence surged through me: ‘I can do this! How hard can it be?’ So I emailed Thriva to tell them I’d had a change of heart, and they took my money again and reactivated the test kit.

I watched the instruction video. When discussing the needle, the nice lady doctor said ‘it’s only a small prick’. Now, I’ve had a lot of small pricks in my time and have often barely felt a thing, so my misplaced confidence continued unabated.

There were loads of instructions. You had to fast for 12 hours, drink lots of water, do arm exercises, soak your hand in a bowl of warm water for two minutes, swab your fingers with an alcohol wipe, and make sure the kit was laid out on a low table.

You then had to make sure you were standing up, with your hand held below your elbow, uncap the tubes which would hold the blood, stand them up in the cardboard kit, and finally twist the top off the lancet. I was FaceTiming my mate Graham throughout and he had a vaguely nonplussed look on his face – he’s given blood more than 50 times and donated his stem cells for a bone marrow transplant twice last year, so didn’t understand why I was making such a fuss!

I placed my hand on the table and pressed the lancet down on my ring finger of my left hand, as instructed. Nothing happened. I tried again, pressed harder, and after a few seconds I felt a click and a sharp pain. I took the lancet away and a drop of bright red blood welled up on my fingertip.

I wiped it away with a kitchen towel, as instructed, but my finger was hurting, and when it came to squeezing more blood out, I suddenly felt faint and as though I was about to throw up. What a wuss! Pathetically, I had to lie down on the sofa with my legs raised until the nausea subsided. I think it’s safe to say that being a phlebotomist is not in my future.

My left ring finger is bruised and now hurts to type, so I dread to think what kind of state it would have been in if I’d actually extracted the blood from it. Probably the same as this braver Thriva-tester’s. Here is the finger (bet you thought I was exaggerating!)


I threw the Thriva kit away as even the sight of it was making me feel faint, then emailed their long-suffering service operative and confessed to being their worst customer. They refunded me again and sent me a nice email:

Hi Ariane,

Thank you for getting back to us and no worries.

I’m really sorry to hear that you’ve had such trouble collecting your Thriva blood sample.

While most people find it an easy experience, we understand that some people’s blood clots much quicker than others. And that the process of drawing blood isn’t always easy at first.

I’ve cancelled your test and have given you a full refund minus £7 for the cost of the kit – as they’re classed as medical equipment and can’t be returned to us.

We’re actually in the process of finding an alternative blood collection method that we’ll be able to bring in within the next 12 months. So if you’re still interested in our tests in the future, then keep an eye on our website.

Let us know if you have any other questions.


I thanked Jack and didn’t tell him that my failure to collect the sample had nothing to do with clotting, but with my frankly cowardly constitution. Still, they got £7 out of me – but sadly, no blood.

This post has been made possible by my awesome Patreon supporters Peter Weilgony, Ricky Steer, Charlie Brooker, Mary and Tim Fowler, Steve Richards, Alan Brookland, Mark Ormandy, Oliver Vass, Keith Bell, John Fleming, Mark Bailey, Rebekah Bennetch, Matthew Sylvester, Brian Engler, Jack Scanlan, Dave Nattriss, MusicalComedyGuide.com, Aragorn Strider, Mark White, Lucy Spencer, Shane Jarvis, Emily Hill and Marcus P Knight.

If you enjoyed this blog, please support me on Patreon from just £1 a month and you’ll get to read a lot more of my writing.

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