Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tales from the human pin cushion

One of my mother's favorite sayings is, "You can't get blood from a turnip."

Well, as it turns out, you'll have a hard time getting blood from her youngest daughter, too.

My doctor ordered a series of blood tests last weekend. He's baffled by my inability to lose weight and wants to rule out insulin resistance. Testing for insulin resistance is a fairly simple procedure, he told me. You have your blood drawn at the hospital, and then they will have you drink an orange substance. Two hours later, they'll draw blood again.

Piece of cake, er, no, that's too much sugar. Piece of turkey, right?

Yeah, that's what the lab techs thought, too.

But I'm a complicated girl. When I had blood drawn before my wedding, it took seven needle pokes before they found a vein willing to give up blood. Finding a vein for the IV was the most painful part of the labor/delivery process when my youngest was born. At one point, I thought I wouldn't be able to give birth because they couldn't find my veins.

I've been warned by nurses and lab techs everywhere not to ever, ever, for the love of God and my own body, donate blood at the Red Cross. Shucks, and I have O Negative blood.

They use itty bitty needles for my tiny, tiny misplaced veins that like to like to roll away and escape. And if, by chance, a lab tech catches one, it's rare to see it give up more than a few drops of blood.

I give props to the gal who drew my blood at the hospital on Saturday. She found a good vein -- by my elbow -- on the first stick. (I'm actually talking about my elbow, the back of my arm, not the elbow pit.) Unfortunately, two hours later, another lab tech wasn't so lucky. After poking me in two separate areas and listening to me tell her four times that most lab techs get lucky finding veins in the backs of my hands, she called in the girl who successfully drew blood the first time.

This lady took one look at me and shook her head. "Don't take this the wrong way, Kathryn, but I was hoping you'd be gone before I got back from lunch," she said with a laugh.

No offense taken. I'd hoped that I'd be gone by the time she got back from lunch too.

She didn't have as much luck the second time around. Even looking higher up on the same vein, she scored only a droplet of my pulsing lifeforce. She discovered a good-looking vein on my left index knuckle, but that just sounded too painful even for her to chase. So, after two unsuccessful sticks, she handed me off to another lab tech who finally found success . . . in a vein on the back of my hand.

At least I got a Snoopy Band-Aid for my trouble.

1 comment:

Sheri Boeyink said...

OUCH!!! I'm having waking nightmares right now just reading this.

I had seven vials of blood taken from me a few months ago for testing, and unlike you, Kat, my veins protrude in a rather unflattering fashion I might add. My tech, who was a student, was MORE than thrilled to draw my blood.

I wish I could share some of my veiny attributes with you so you could donate that O negative that is so badly needed.

Hey, kinda goes with yesterday's post....FREAK OF THE WEEK ----