In vein
Friday April 27th 2007, 1:09 pm
Filed under: Non-Knitting

I’d already explained, and so I thought she was going to go for a different vein in my arm. “That’s a blood clot,” I said again.

The phlebotomist ignored me, and went right for the spot in the crook in my elbow.

“I have a blood clot right there, you MAY NOT put that needle there!”

She ignored me till right as the needle came in at the spot and I was pulling away from it. Oh. A blood clot? Oh, okay. We’ll do the other arm, then. (Ya THINK!?) She then had a hard time getting blood to come forth, my veins having been fried by multiple IVs in the hospital shortly before, and yanked the needle around hard to and fro, up and down, to try to make it come. It was excruciating.

That was four years ago. Today, there was a new face in the lab (you know you go too often when you know all their faces, it’s a huge clinic) and she wrapped the tubing around that arm. No… Veins too small… Let’s try this one. Her face fell. Oh. That’s worse. Back to the first one, and she wrapped the tubing around it again.

Given the past experience–and of having informed the lab back then that that first worker was never to touch me again–all my pavlovian reactions surged forward. I debated the urge to say, You get one chance and one only and then I want the supervisor. But then I thought, if I make her nervous she’ll do a worse job, and if I’m rude she’ll hope I never come back (fat chance). So instead I silently said a prayer for her.

And lo and behold, I almost couldn’t feel the needle, and it certainly didn’t hurt. I didn’t look, so I was quite surprised to see, at the end, that she’d drawn four vials. I was sure they weren’t mine. There’s always that jerk of the needle as they change vials, and there was no tug at all. Surely…

…But no, she then took the computer printout with my name and patient number printed onto the stickers and wrapped a sticker around each of those vials. Man, she was good!

And I wonder now, if I’d prayed for that other woman, if it might have made a difference. Dunno. It would have in my attitude towards her, at least.

9 Comments so far
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Let’s hope this person stays with the clinic!

Comment by Amanda1 04.27.07 @ 3:11 pm

My last blood draw, they were teaching a new girl how to label tubes. I work there, and know she was brand new. My arms are fat but the Right one has a nice easy to see vein, so I told her she could try. She had been planning to just observe, but I told her then she could truthfully tell the next person she had experience! She got it the first time, whew. I wonder how patient I would have been if she missed a couple of times!

Comment by Anne in Wy 04.27.07 @ 3:52 pm

I never had a problem with blood tests or donating blood until one day I met the wrong woman at a blood donor clinic. Now the very thought of donating blood gives me an anxiety attack.

And she wasn’t even the one with the needle. All she wielded was a very bad attitude.

Comment by Marlene 04.27.07 @ 3:53 pm

My first experience, a young nurse couldn’t find my veins, and after much rooting around, had to get her supervisor, who succeeded. But I passed out for the first (and only, since then) time as a result. I’m not usually a queasy person. But it took years before I stopped telling every phlebotomist that my veins were hard to find. I think mine are tricky, but she was inexperienced. Now I keep my mouth shut….

Comment by Kim 04.27.07 @ 3:54 pm

I wish I could share my awesome veins with you. I have 3 cousins that all became nurses. While they were in school they were always eyeing my arms. They wanted to practice on me. Um…I said no.

I hope you get the good one again next time!

Comment by Lisa 04.27.07 @ 5:34 pm

That’s an awesome story, on so many levels.

I have very… difficult veins. They’re deep in, very narrow, not ‘where they’re supposed to be, whereever that is, and generally just hard to draw from, not to mention, my blood likes to stay inside my body, for some ole reason and so they have a hard time getting ‘enough’ when they need to do tests, so a good phlebotomist is essential. I can spot a trainee/inexperienced one from 10 feet away, AND one that is so set in one method that they won’t listen when a person who knows her veins is giving them information that will help them do their job.

In addition, behold the power of prayer! Along with calming her, it probably also calmed you, so that the experience, while not necessarily pleasurable, was quick and painless. Hooray!

Comment by Miss Knotty 04.28.07 @ 1:53 pm

Well, they didn’t like the results, so I get to go back Monday. I wonder who I’ll get…

Comment by AlisonH 04.28.07 @ 4:39 pm

You can have a favorite server at a restaurant so why not a favorite
nurse to draw your blood? My 9yo ds will only allow Susan give him his allergy shots. He has been getting shots for 6 years. He says she does not make it hurt. I know they think I am a terrible mother because I let him get away with that. But it makes him so much more comfortable to have Susan.

Comment by Sonya 04.28.07 @ 6:24 pm

[…] didn’t get this person today at the lab.  Someone else […]

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