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.: evil estonians | 2010-09-03 05:27AM :.
I went to have blood drawn and it was my worst medical experience ever. First, this young nurse tried. I could literally hear a tearing sound as I was pierced by that thick needle, which was awful. She got half a vial of blood or so and then stopped. I thought "Glad that's over with." But it wasn't.

Then she motioned for me to give her my other arm, and I thought "What? Again?" I groaned, and laughed, because it was bad luck, and acquiesced. That time, she didn't get much blood, and was moving the needle around inside my arm, which made me feel nauseated, but I waited for her to finish. I was no longer cheery after that, because I knew she would want to do it yet again. The young girl fetched an older woman, and I thought "I really don't want to do this a third time, but hopefully she'll have more experience."

But that second woman was much worse. First, she insisted that I lie down and not look, which only makes it harder. (If I can watch the needle, I'm not surprised by the piercing.) I tried to wait patiently, hoping that it was going well, but then I felt something terrible. I looked and she was moving the needle all around, tearing shit up inside my arm. (I can't really bend my arm now, because of that.) I noticed the vial was partially filled with some nearly-clear liquid. I have no idea what she was getting out of me, but it wasn't blood.

Seeing my distress over this, the young girl suddenly waved smelling salts in front of my nose. Gah! I asked her to stop that, and she did, but a few seconds later, when I wasn't looking, she stuck them in front of my nose again! Then they complained that I wasn't relaxed! No shit! After that, I asked them to just stop everything.

I had said "okay, but the third time is the last time" half-jokingly, but now I was feeling pretty serious about it. I was thinking "You've got enough blood, just combine the first two vials!" But that's probably against the rules. That older woman tried to get me to lie down again, but that wasn't gonna happen. So a third woman came in and blamed me for everything, saying "You're not relaxed, and that's the problem." Hello, I was relaxed until they started tearing up my insides and waving smelling salts in front of my nose after I asked them not to!

I was about ready to walk out of there, but I didn't want to go through all this again in a week or something. So this third woman helped, and it went fine, I think. I'm sure somebody will think that I just have "bad veins", but I'll note that I've never had any trouble having blood drawn in the USA. Not that mistakes are never made, but four tries? Moving the needle all around? Come on! I've probably got vein damage equivalent to 10 years of being a junkie, now! I think the Estonian medical system is more likely to kill me than to save my life.

PS. Out of curiosity, I searched Google for phlebotomy and found several how-to articles for nurses. I'll note that of the things the articles said to never do (emphasis theirs), they did all of them, and most of the things they said to do (i.e. orient the needle's beveled tip with the point towards the vein, use a finger to anchor the vein and prevent it from "rolling", etc), they didn't do. They even forgot to bandage one of the holes. I remember myself thinking "Shouldn't the tip of the needle be pointing at the vein?", but of course I didn't say anything. They're supposed to be the experts. I'm annoyed now. You know, vein damage never really heals. I'm permanently damaged (however slightly) because they couldn't do their job well. Damned incompetence.

PPS. Okay, this post was somewhat tongue-in-cheek. At least the title was — I don't think they're actually evil. I do have a deep, visceral dislike of any type of injury that never fully heals, though, even if it's small, and that's the main reason I was upset.

.: Blood Draws... | 2010-09-27 06:13PM :.
First let me say, "Thank you for the laugh!" Second I am sure Laura will know exactly how you felt and hard as it is to get blood out of her arms!

I also know that "digging" around feeling - and will never forget when I was in school for medical assisting and the teacher used me to show everyone else how to do it. I have really good veins and thought it would be easy - but it wasn't and I have been emotionally damaged since then about having to have my blood drawn.

However, I can also say that part of my job was to "draw" blood. It can be difficult to locate a vein on some people. Personally, I would see if I could find someone else to do it when I encountered these people.

an anonymous Mom
.: RE: Blood Draws... | 2012-05-31 10:06AM :.
Hey, thanks for that story. It's something I never knew.

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