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Labs, something I rarely write about

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Hi Forum Friends,

Today, I had a blood draw, something we all do and I do every three months.  There is never anything special about it, my numbers rarely change.

Today, I met the new nurse, a perfectly nice fellow.  About the time he stuck the needle with the little butterfly into my vein, he started shaking.  I thought at first it was an earthquake as we get them all the time in California and unless it is registers more than 3.5 on the richter scale, there is nothing to be concerned about.  However, the room was not shaking, the nurse was. 

They always draw 4 vials and I fast without being told because one or more vials are for cholesterol.  He kept pulling the needlle in and out, moving it around.  He went through the vein, over the vein and under the vein.  Blood was not flowing so after vial # 2,  I told him to stop and get someone else to finish.   My arm looks like needle point and if I connected the dots, it may read "HOME SWEET HOME."  If these people are so qualified, what are they afraid of us?  This clinic has 500 patients and only does HIV work.

My arm will heal in a few days, my results will come back as 495 CD-4 and non-detectable VL.  I probably will not have to start taking Lipitor again because my cholesterol levels will be normal.  I left the clinic, went back to the Executive Committee meeting and said nothing about it to anyone.  His boss and I sit together in most meetings and I didn't feel like bringing it up in conversation.  Have the best day
(who rarely get excited about earthquakes)

nice that you didn't fly off the handle

i can't even imagine what i would do. i think i would be 100% tongue-tied --- meaning, what should you say in that situation? ???

as always, thank you for sharing and the food for thought


When you say "new" nurse, do you mean a person who has been in nursing for a while, and has a new job at the clinic? Or is this the person's first nursing job? I could understand being nervous if it is the latter. I remember being very nervous the first few weeks on my first "real" job after college.

If the person has been nursing for a while, and is concerned about contracting hiv from a patient, they should perhaps be working in a different field.

Joe K:
Sorry, I'm a firm believer in the "two strikes" and you are out philosophy.  Any nurse who tries to poke me more than twice, or think they are going to "explore" my vein, are quickly replaced.  It's not about his being afraid, it's that he's incompetent to work in this particular field.  Time to show him the door and you would be doing the practice a favor, by telling them of this instance.

Medicine is still a consumer product and you have every right to receive quality care and when you don't, if you don't speak up, then you can't complain.  But seriously, a guy like this needs another line of work.

I gotta say I totally agree with Joe here. I have had people take blood so gently that I barely even had a mark after. And I've been stabbed like a stripper at a Fatty Arbuckle party. After thirteen years of enjoying the healthcare system insofar as HIV is concerned, I've become a little crabby when it comes to tolerating bad service.

And incompetant or shoddy phlebotomy is just that. Once, a nurse poked me while watching television. Of course, she missed the vein. When she turned to me to try it again, I told her that having poked me once, unsuccessfully, while watching her stories, she would forgive me if I did not trust her to try it again. Person here, not tangerine. I didn't raise a stink, but I politely told her that I needed another person to draw the blood. She complied, and had the decency to say she was sorry.

I understand the tedium and fatigue that sets in, at the end of the day/week/career. I do. As the one with the arm, I don't have to tolerate it however.


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