Friday, May 20, 2016

Blood Draws: Unbruised, Unbullied

Blood Draws: Unbruised, Unbullied

Of all the pokes and bloody awfulness of diabetes, having blood drawn every few months is the worst.  I don't mind pricking my fingers several times a day or injecting insulin or even inserting the sensor. However, horrible experiences getting my blood drawn for labwork left me traumatized. I'd read all the tips (drink lots of water), but none of them really prevented the bruising.

Then I discovered my secret.

Just Say No.

I look them in the eye and tell them:  You get one chance.  If you can't get blood, I will leave and return another day.
No digging.  
No trying the other arm.
If you don't think you can do it, is there anyone here who can?

I've heard "Your doctor will be angry if she doesn't get the labs."  I reply, "Then you can explain why you were unable to do it."

I have a friend who teaches phlebotomy at the local college.  She told me that if the blood doesn't immediately go into the vial, the phlebotomist should ask a more experienced person to do the procedure.  They are not to dig or keep poking.  The sample can get contaminated by the debris, requiring another blood draw.

A good phlebotomist can get the blood on the first poke and minutes later, the only evidence on the inside of my arm is a tiny, faint dot where the needle entered.  Phlebotomists who hurt people and leave bruises on both arms  are bad phlebotomists who should find another line of work.  They should not bully people into letting them hurt them.

Since I started this, I've had good experiences and unbruised arms. Poke and I'm done.  Going to the lab the week before ensures that if I need to return another day, my doctor will still get the labs before the appointment.  

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