28 March 2011

One of the pain-in-the-asterisk things about having a few chronic conditions is having to report every now and then to a doctor who looks at you and grunts "Yeah, you look all right." The bigger pain is that about a week before that appointment is the required Trip To The Lab, which has to be done in the morning before eating, and in my case, before 10:30 a.m. because they don't accept lab results on some of my tests if they're done later.

I'm not a morning person, not at all. Given a choice, I would be up until 3 am and would sleep until noon, but the cats have removed that as a life choice for me, what with wanting to be fed and all.

Next week is my annual appointment with the endocrinologist (but, I can't remember what time it is...this could be problematic...) so this morning I dutifully peeled myself up early (meaning I slept like crap last night, waking up every 30 minutes, because the possibility of OH NO I OVERSLEPT kept poking at me) and after feeding the cats (you know how they food = something of mine meeting a toothy death) I headed out into the freezing cold (ok, 44 degrees) to let the lab vampires have at me.

Not my arm
Now, I have no real fear of needles. It's just a little prick, and I endure a little prick on a daily basis. But I am a hard stick, and getting blood drawn can be An Event.

I think the record for sticking me to find a vein is 22 times. And I warned the guy before he started that I would be difficult, but I got the, "oh, I never have problems" along with the everyone-says-that eyeroll.

When he had to call for help, and the help had to call for help, I totally felt vindicated.

But...the people at this lab are good. The first few times I had blood drawn there, I warned the guy. And he didn't blow me off. But he was able to get the needle into a vein with one stick, which impressed me. And every visit thereafter, he's gotten it. So I wasn't particularly concerned when I got there this morning; this would be quick and easy and I would be home in another 15 minutes, where I could crawl back in bed if I wanted.

And I kinda wanted...but I had to get the whole blood thing taken care of.

The guy with the golden gloved fingers was sitting there behind the desk when I arrived, so I rejoiced a little. For sure this would go well!

I checked in and was waved back, and I sat in the weird blood letting chair...and Super Dude stayed at the desk.

The blonde who had been sitting next to him, pouring over an anatomy book, was the one who got up and headed for the vacuum tubes and blue latex gloves.

Still not worried.

But then she started asking him questions. Questions of the I'm-so-new-I'm-still-in-school sort. Questions that had me mentally thinking "Oh, shit..." Because when someone who is about to jab you with a needle asks the other tech, "So, will it be easier if I put alcohol on both her arm and my fingers while I look for the vein?" you tend to start losing confidence in how smoothly things will go.

It doesn't help when she adds, "I have a lot of questions for you in a minute."

I resigned myself to getting a new record in how many times I was going to be jabbed. I probably could have spoken up and asked for the guy I know can draw blood painlessly, but hell, she has to learn on someone. And it doesn't hurt much, it's mostly annoying. Plus, it would give me something to whine about.

Not my tubes
So while she rubbed an alcohol wipe across my skin and then across her gloved fingers, I braced for it. She felt and she probed, and then she grabbed the needle and slid it in.

And damned if she didn't get it. She popped the first vacuum tube on, and it filled effortlessly.

Less than two minutes later, she was done. Four tubes of blood, a piece of gauze taped over the puncture mark, and I was out of there.

I practically skipped back out into the freezing cold (ok, 45 degrees) and headed home, where a nice warm bed was waiting for me.

But then I decided to pop onto Facebook "for just a minute" and then I had to read some headlines at FARK, and then there were blogs to be surfed.

Yeah. I don't think the bed is warm anymore.


Roses said...

Yay for you!

I sing praises to techs who can draw blood with little to no pain. I thank them profusely.

I once had a pair of idiots who, together, couldn't find either of their behinds much less one of my veins.
I wanted to kick them in the shins.
They didn't even apologize.

I'm so glad this was a good experience for you. You had me worried.

cheryl said...

yay for you!! glad you had an optimal experience; i was on pins and needles (you should excuse the expression) while i read your post. i have great sympathy for you--while i am a VERY easy stick, my beloved groom of 34 years is a notorious trypanophobe. he fainted while getting our pre-wedding blood test, and nearly knocked over the little tech setting up his IV drip for surgery once: he was flailing about while fainting (fully reclined) in the "weird" chair.

ps--i bought myself the e-charybdis books for my purrthday--thanks for writing them!! i'm looking forward to some quality time on my droid very soon;-)

Shaggy and Scout said...

I have downloaded the e-charybdis sample for my kindle too. (Sorry it's just the sample so far!)

I'm one of those with "rolling veins" They have to stick me 2-3-4 times to actually hit the vein correctly. Then I have a massive bruise all week.

kenju said...

Oh, you really need my heated mattress pad!!

Congrats on the good sticker. I think my max was 7-8 sticks at one time. You endured much more than that.

Angel, Kirby and Max said...

It is great that they can get a vein on the first try! If I watch I flinch but I can watch after the stick has happened.

Just Ducky said...

Way back when, in the dark ages, I worked as a MedTech. Our "rule" was two attempts max. If you didn't get it or didn't feel confident, you backed off. No 4-5 sticks before calling for help. It worked out well for both the tech and the patient.


Thumper said...

The 22 sticks happened in a military hospital...those guys are determined...

Roses said...

You know, maybe you should get a tattoo that pinpoints where the needles should go!