I went to the lab and it was seriously backed up. When my turn finally came, the tech who tried to take my blood missed and moved the needle around for at least a minute before I finally said please stop that really hurts. It is hard going for blood work on a weekly basis when you have bad veins. There are a few of the women there who know me and do a really good job for me. They know my particular needs:

  • Check the left arm. You will feel the vein and not see it.
  • Tie the tourniquet really tight, over my shirt.
  • Don’t use a green needle or you will blow the vein
  • I won’t touch cotton, I will have a tissue ready to press
  • I don’t want a band-aid as they eat my skin. I will sit and press and leave.

When the tech missed I suggested she grab the one who I know always finds my difficult vein. She did fine and I was out of there in 5 minutes once I saw her.

Going every week and with bad veins, I really have to walk a fine line. I can’t ever be difficult or whine – at least that is the expectation I have of myself. I find if I am relaxed and just let them do their thing with me giving them the information that I know works strikes a nice balance. Being someone with a chronic disease, you come into contact with the medical system a great deal. You come to understand what works for you and you must be able to state what you need in a calm, professional and well-mannered way. I have found that medical professionals appreciate patients who know what works for them; patients who are active participants in their own care.

I know that it is very hard to get an IV into my arm. I have learned though that if the nurse uses a hot, wet compress on the top of my left arm a bunch of veins will pop up that are great for IVs. I had noticed these veins when I was in the shower and I always wondered where they went. I tried this at my last colonoscopy appointment and it worked so well. Now, if the doctor had given me enough sedation at that appointment it would not have been such a horrific experience.

I think the whole point of this particular blog entry is to look at ways those of us with chronic diseases can be partners in our own care. My experience has always been that most doctors and other medical personnel (there are exceptions) like informed patients who are active in their own care. It is even better if you can tell them how to treat you in a better way.

Oh, and my hemoglobin is back down to 120. I am not happy by this development. It explains why I have been feeling more fatigued again. Break out the Palfer CF.

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