Thursday, August 26, 2010


I think I officially have a needle phobia now.

I got an order for a massively comprehensive blood panel and urinalysis from my doc. I was and wasn't thrilled. I mean, yay tests, maybe something will come back that's helpful. But then there's the needle/blood thing. I've learned to warn phlebotomists, and explain my mild aversion. It's never been a big deal, I just don't look, and they are required to warn me before the needle goes in. As long as these things happen, I'll walk away smiling. Unfortunately, the last few times I've had blood drawn and/or an IV it's taken more than one try to get blood flowing and it's been mentioned more than once that my veins are not easy. I don't know what changed, I used to never have a problem. Since the last guy who stuck me mentioned that I might be dehydrated, I drank a ridiculous amount of water beforehand, hoping it would help. So, I don't know if it was me, or the phlebotolady, but she stuck me twice and got nothing. And she forgot to warn me the first time and only sort of warned me the second time with some weird baby talk, "Aaaaaand eeeeaaasy now." What? And then she spent five minutes prodding at my arms and tying the rubber tubing ever tighter to try and find a source of blood in my apparently bloodless limbs. I suggested tapping my hand, since that was the last successful stick I'd had but she demurred, saying that fourteen vials of blood would collapse those small veins. Fourteen. And then I started quietly crying. Not noticing, she continued to blather on about how she would probably have to stick me at least twice anyway, since that much blood would likely collapse any of my teeny veins. Then she laughed a little and looked at me. I was nodding, tears rolling down my cheeks, trying to be strong but failing so miserably.

I think that freaked her out because she finally admitted defeat, which I appreciated. I'd rather she admit she was stumped than keep trying and failing. She suggested we try the guys downstairs, a different lab company in the same business complex. I wasn't thrilled, but really did want it over with. We went downstairs (more nauseating elevators, weeee!) and waited. I was getting more and more stressed. I took a valium, which never kicked in. I suggested that we leave, that I was too stressed out, and then the door opened. Crap. But the new and improved phlebotoguy was a humongous, gentle-mannered man. And I think my boyfriend warned him that I was teetering on the edge because he quietly explained every step of everything he was doing, and the next few that were coming. He had me lay down for the actual draw, warned me gently but clearly, (no babytalk necessary, amazing!) stuck me, then reassured me when the blood started to flow. Once he got down to the final three vials, he started counting them down. He was fabulous. But I still cried a little anyway. I was okay, just mostly relieved and crazy-stressed with the beginnings of a migraine making me even more frazzled.

As soon as it was over, I pretty much bolted out of there, despite being dizzy. Did I mention I'd had to fast, too? As soon as I got out the door, I dug an apple out of my bag and ate it in about three bites, but I was already seeing spots. I've had ice on my head ever since. But at least it's over, and hopefully that'll cover every blood test they could possibly ever run on me. Though I'm a little worried about my urine test. I drank so much water, it was totally clear. I hope they can still get their readings out of it. Whatever, I can always pee in another cup.

Thus ends another eloquent blog post.


Migrainista said...

Oh my! Well I guess now you know where to go if you ever have to get blood drawn again.

I hope you are feeling better now.

WinnyNinny PooPoo said...

Extra water doesn't hurt a UA. Just shows you were adequately hydrated. Hoping your tests come back all OK.

Your veins can pull tricks on you. Mine tend to plump up just to get the phlebotomist all optimistic and ready to poke and then whalah! Disappearo the minute a needle comes at them. Not sure how my body can do that, but it sure does it every time I need an IV or blood drawn. Remember the lying down trick for the next time!

Baby talk is never reassuring to someone with a phobia - I have a dental phobia that was earned the hard way - very bad dentists - and baby talk will have me out of the dentists chair and out the door before they know what hit them!

Sue said...

I'm so sorry that you had to go through that. I have "difficult" veins as well. I love how they tell you that as if it were your fault. Sheesh.

As part of my first career in lab technology, I was also a phlebotomist. I never stuck anyone more than two times and I NEVER used baby talk. I worked with someone who did and it made me crazy. Talk about unprofessional.

I'm glad phlebotguy was so kind. They should all be like him.