Nurses Aren’t Always Faithful To Listen To Their Patients

, , , , , | Healthy | May 16, 2020

Unfortunately, I have notoriously difficult veins to hit when I need blood drawn. Many, many seasoned medical professionals have tried and failed to hit the veins in my arm. Usually after poking me up to six times — ouch! — they find a vein in my hand they can use that I have started calling Old Faithful.

Doctor: “We’re going to draw some blood for labs.”

Me: “Okay, but I have really, really bad veins despite all the water I drink. Send in your best vein finder — it’ll save everyone a lot of time — and tell them to go for this vein in my hand.”

Doctor: *Chuckles* “Oh, I’m sure it’s not that bad. People always say they have bad veins but usually it’s because they had a bad experience. You’ll be fine.”

Me: “I had cancer two years ago. My blood is drawn all the time at every doctor I visit. My veins are so bad people have had to use ultrasound machines to find them. Whoever is drawing my blood needs to go through my hand after using a warming pack. I cannot stress enough just how hard my veins are to hit.”

Doctor: “It’s more painful when we stick your hand instead of your arm.”

Me: “Usually, it’s more painful, yes, but I have Old Faithful here, and someone hitting her on the first or second try is much better than them trying four or five times on each arm before going through my hand anyway.”

The doctor leaves, shaking his head, and sure enough, the nurse who comes in ten minutes later tries my arm first despite my pleading. She tries twice before I say anything more.

Me: *Pained* “Please just use my hand.”

Nurse #1: “Oh, but it’s so painful through the hand! I’ll go get [Nurse #2]; she’s very good at hitting veins!”

[Nurse #2] enters and sticks my arm three more times before switching to my other arm, despite my protests. My entire forearm hurts at this point, and I’m annoyed that three different people have ignored me. [Nurse #2] misses yet again.

Me: “Go through my hand, please; you’ll hit Old Faithful so much faster.”

Nurse #2: *Trying my arm yet again* “The hand is more—”

Me: *Snappy* “More painful! Yes, I know! Everyone keeps saying that, but you know what really hurts? Being jabbed seven times in the wrong place because no one will listen when I tell them I have bad veins! Just go through my hand, please!”

Nurse #2: “Fine, fine, I’ll give it a try. It’s gonna hurt.”

She hit Old Faithful easily and immediately and got the blood needed in less than two minutes. The arm that was jabbed five times predictably had four large bruises — two had merged into one huge super-bruise — where the vein finding attempts were made, and now I refuse to let anyone touch me until they confirm they’ll try my hand first. Old Faithful hasn’t let me down yet.

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