26 October 2005

trippin to the docs, the blood draw OR a halloween tale

Wed.  8:40 am appt. Yea, for me!  I got there early.

The doc pulled a pop-pap on me.  THAT caught me off-guard, but it's not like I had to study or anything...I just wasn't expected to experience that jolly treat.  There's a reason we do this once per year and no more.  Although I feel better hearing, "your cervix is looking healthy" to which I want to respond, "well, a healthy cervix is a happy cervix"; it isn't something I devote lots of thought to.  This paragraph is probably the most I'll focus on that part of the exam, here in the journal or anywhere else for that matter.

Moving on...the nurse was new.  She came in to do my blood-draw.  I asked her what all she was drawing for...she told me, seemingly offended.  I said, "um, ya need another tube, without gel in the bottom."  She snaps the tourniquet on my arm and snaps at me, "been doing this a long time, I KNOW which tubes I need."

Ok, folks.  I know getting the nurse pissed that's gonna stick ya is not a good idea.  But dudes, I've been going at least every 3 months for blooddraws for the past several years, because the one drug I take could seriously torque the liver functions...that and I need to stay within range for max benefit.  So, I know which tubes LABCORP uses for which tests that I need to have done...cuz where my health is concerned, I just am a busybody and like to know what is relevant to me.

Besides which, I have been increasingly hard to part with my blood.  My veins are easily "blown" and I bruise super easily.  Once they get the blood flowing into the tube, leave the stick in and snap in the next tube, really it's for the best.

I say to her, "no, I'm serious, you'll need to do a tube with NOTHING in it for the (drug) levels".  She pops her jaw out and with clenched teeth, grinds out, "I know what I'm doing."  Nope, she didn't.

She is slapping away at my arm, thumping, poking, prodding, rubbing, sterilizing, and then doing it all over again.  I hesitate to tell her that she might as well forget the inner creases of my elbow which is usually where draws are done, and go for the lower (fore)arm.  I mean, what the hell do I know?  I must not be around when I get my own blood drawn.

Finally, she seems to have found something.  I think she was just determined that she was gonna get that needle in me no matterwhat.  So she stuck me.  Nothing.

She jiggles the needle around.  Nothing.  She slides it in and then slides it mostly out.  Nothing.  She angles this way and that.  Nothing.  She now is beginning to mumble to my arm and the needle, as tho my vein will pop into place and the needle will seek it successfully with a little verbal coaxing.

She then drops the tube and all the accutraments, leaving the needle and its casing bobbing in my arm.  She bends and then suddenly straightens, cuz I am guessing she remembered that you aren't supposed to leave a needle unattended in the patient's arm.  Not good policy, all kinds of things could happen.  I could have for instance, pulled it out and stuck it in her rump when she was bent over.  Not that the thought even occured to me, but I'm just saying.

She is very flustered by now and says to me that we'll need to do this later.  After popping a bandaid on me, she vacates the room and my doc breezes in.  I like my doc.  I interviewed her and chose her to be my doc.

We do the ol in out scrap thing.

Later, I'm in the lab.  Waiting for the next attempt at the blood draw.  The same nurse wants to try the other arm.  Fine.  Basically a repeat of the fishing expedition.  Only this time, it's hurting some cuz, well, there're nerves in there.

Then, after she has popped another bandaid on me, she calls in the reinforcements.  The headnurse of the lab (who has stuck me both successfully and not so, in the past) comes in...she assesses the situation.  Moves back to the first arm, and tries for a nice beautiful blue line to the extreme edge of my arm.

Nothing.  Then, SPLAT.  OMG, the two nurses actually jumped back like my blood was gonna spurt on them when it is in a contained butterfly tube.  But there is no flow.  Not into the tube anyway.

There is however a nice pool spreading inside my arm, under the skin.  A widening woman-made pond that is not going to yield any fishing in the near future.  But because of the jostle the nurse gave the needle, there was a bit more pain and I felt momentarily woozy as she pulled back.

Now, my blown vein is dripping blood unto the countertop.  I remain fairly calm.  I even make the dry suggestion that they could just pop my wrist and the nurse was horrified, omg, no, you'll bleed to death.  This as I am wondering how many CCs I am losing to the papertowels...and the red haz-mat bag.

My doc sticks her head into the lab.  Problems?  Umm, yeah.

She comes over, lemme try.  Sure, I say, go for it doc.  I bare my other arm.

I say, I know it hurts, but can you take it right there?  pointing 1/3rd way down my forearm to the side a bit, where there is a bright blue line practically pulsating at me.

Sure, she says.  Ever so gently, she inserts the needle.  The nurses are peering over her shoulders.  No one is breathing.


And then, YES, a blood-flow!!  As the first tube is filling, the doc asks the first nurse for the other tube.  She gapes about as though something will come to mind in an hour or so.  I say, she doesn't believe that a clear tube is necessary.

The doc deftly reaches under the counter and snags the right tube without losing a second and pops the first tube off and affixes the second.  She says to the nurse, "you always do drug levels in the clear tube, no gel in the bottom or any other prep."  The nurse flushes deeply.

I am happy to be finally through with my impression of a pin-cushion and/or bloodless ghoul.  The doc slaps another bandaid on me.  The nurse is protesting that at her old job they never did it this way...and the doc says, "well, LABCORP is particular, ya know...."  shrugging as she leaves the room.

I hop down from the elevated stool and skedaddle on out, feeling like I ought to have a sucker.  I mean the least they could have done was offer me a dum-dum.  I like the rootbeer ones best.


  1. OMG you poor thing, i can't stand needles and would have been flat on the floor fainted after that first attempt :( will put you on alerts and keep reading :)



  2. You do deserve a lolly....a big one.  Hope the arms have got over the shock. Rache xx

  3. Bonnie says, "Thanx for the memories." She too has had nurses who are unable to locate vessels in which to place the needle, and come home black-and-blue from blood tests. I lucked out; my vessels are prominent.
    Bon & Mal

  4. I have walked out on many doctors. I am very picky. It is MY body, MY health. You have rights. Don't let anyone, doctors, nurses anyone to walk over you. You deserve the best! Make sure you get it. I have a couple of horror stories I can tell you about some of my doctors. One could have killed me. You have rights. Use them!


Thanks for taking the time and effort to let your thoughts be known!