Friday, February 27, 2009

A Botched Phlebotomy Is Better...

...than a botched lobotomy I guess. This is the positive spin I'm putting on my shitty visit for my blood letting on Thursday afternoon. So here's how the appointment went:

I arrived five minutes early for my appointment at the cancer center. This is always weird for me. It is technically an oncology/hematology clinic, but cancer center I guess has a nicer ring? 50 minutes later, I approach the innocent receptionist and kindly ask when I might be seen for my blood letting. She says she doesn't know and that they must be running behind. Wrong answer. I did not raise my voice (progress), but did make it clear that if I had the courtesy to arrive on time for my appointment, the least she could do is give me a real answer as to when I might be seen 45 minutes after my appointment time had passed. Damn. She jumped up and went back to check. In the mean time, having read every other bit of Popular Mechanics, here is what I learned from the back cover:

1. This is the 75th anniversary of Skoal "smokeless tobacco" (chew).
2. A chew is called a "dip."
3. A man who chews is called a "dipper."
4. Apparently dipping unites men into a smokeless tobacco "brotherhood."
5. Apparently there are some big events for dippers this year to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Skoal.
6. Smokeless tobacco does not require the same warning labels as cigarettes. There was nothing on the advertisement that says "Cancer from smokeless tobacco will require lip-ectomy, throat-ectomy, tongue-ectomy and jaw-ectomy." Didn't say it anywhere.

So, after waiting another 10 minutes, I'm finally called back to have my blood letting. I've got an ass kicking cold too, so I'm already unhappy. But, the fact that my dear Donna, the only woman who can find my veins in the Twin Cities, is not working, strikes fear in me- with good reason.

Nurse 1: tries to find a vein in my mid forearm. No luck. Then tries in my hand. Finds a vein, gets a few drops of blood, blood stops, she digs around and it hurts like all hell. She stops and calls over nurse 2.

Nurse 2: tries to find a vein at my elbow on my right arm. She ties the tourniquet tighter and tries again. No luck. SHIT! LOOK AT THAT! A lump standing about 1 inch off my hand has grown under the skin at the site of Nurse #1's failed attempt on my hand. Oops says nurse #2 and asks me to apply pressure with my left hand. She goes to get nurse #3.

Nurse 3: tries to find a vein near the elbow of my left arm. Marginal success. Is able to get the blood to flow in short spurts then it stops all together. She removes the needle and we give up having retrieved about 1/3 of the blood we need.

Today, I have a brownish red, raised up bruise covering almost the entire back of my right hand. Just above my left elbow is a lump and a big ugly bruise forming there too. Not pretty. On the bright side, no one needs to look closely at me, draw me in an art class, and I have no hand modeling gigs. My cold is also getting marginally better, I am in St. Louis, MO for the weekend and have nothing to do but lay about. Not so bad after all.


brenda k said...

They should have just went to the jugular! I have had the same thing happen to me. My veins are always like garden hoses on my arms any day of the week. Day I need to have blood drawn? Forget it. It's like I have none. Poke, dig and spew nervous laughter all you want there sistah - it aint happnin. One of the times I woke up from anesthesia on an extended stay at Chateau' Mayo', I had a pick line in my jugular. Ahem. THis is a joke right? One other time it was in a vein on the inside of my upper arm - so when your arm is against your body - the pick line digs a crevace in your boob that becomes a secondary issue. I say you give Donna a few bucks under the table and have her on stand by. Better yet - have her come to your house some night with a big baggie and a needle. She can unload it in the comfort of your own home. :)

Dale said...

Why can't they hire vampires from the Twilight gang or HBO to help get that pesky blood? It's no fun wearing autumn colours all over your arm like that. Pesky nurses.

themom said...

After so many medical procedures over the years - I have no veins which are easily tapped. I always inform the powers that be, you have to contact someone from IV therapy. Of course, everyone thinks they can do the implossible and I end up bruised and swollen. No more - I am putting my foot down next time - my way or NO way.

Mnmom said...

How horrid! Just HAVING this condition in the first place is bad enough, without the treatment becoming a painful circus. I second Brenda - find Donna and beg or bribe her to let you in on her schedule. At least you won't come out like a colander.

No warnings on Skoal? How'd they get that one by?