Musings of a Dinosaur

A Family Doctor in solo private practice; I may be going the way of the dinosaur, but I'm not dead yet.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Gods of Blood

A comment posted to Bevel Down:
I hate it when I tell people that I'm a hard stick. They look and SEE and say Nah! You'll be easy.

No, I'm not, really; I get monthly lab draws...for almost 13 years. Trust me. I'm not an easy stick. I don't care what you SEE when you look.

Then they start to feel; "Oh, here's a good one!"

Please make sure that's not the scar tissued area.

"Nah! this is a good vein! Whoever told you you were a hard stick didn't know what they were doing!"

Stick (as the JAB feels like I've just been jabbed with needle the size of the Seattle space needle)

Hmmmm ... it collapsed. No blood is coming. Odd, funny, you looked like you were an easy stick.

"yea, gee ...funny. Told you I was a hard stick.
Humility is a lesson I've learned the hard way. Here's the spiel I use as I'm tightening the tourniquet and carefully palpating for a vein (when I can push on it and tell from the give that it's a fluid-filled structure and not scar):

"Outside these four walls I'm fairly religious. I believe in one Gd; I'm active in my synagogue. But inside this room I am a shameless pagan; I worship the Gods of Blood. The Gods of Blood are jealous gods, easily angered. And what angers the Gods of Blood is hubris. Overweening pride. So I try never to say, 'Oh, that's a great vein. I can hit that; no problem.' Because the Gods of Blood will hear me; and they will strike me down and make me miss. Never fails."

By now the blood is usually rushing into the tube and I'm getting the other tubes ready. I go on:

"One time there was this guy who said, 'I'm a terrible stick', and I said, 'Nah. That's a great vein. I can hit that; no problem.' I push the needle into the vein, push the tube onto the needle, and...nothing. I said -- out loud -- 'Gods of Blood; I apologize for my arrogance. I promise I will be humble from now on.' I withdrew the needle about a millimeter and -- WHOOSH -- in rushed the blood."

At this point I usually have the tourniquet off and a cotton ball ready to press over the puncture as I withdraw the needle. I interrupt my narrative to say, "Press on this. Don't bend..." as they try to bend the arm, (bending the elbow to apply pressure after venipuncture has been shown to stretch the hole in the vein and increase the chance of hematoma) "...just press," and I continue:

"Now you probably think I'm kidding about this. But I have to tell you: I've been doing this long enough that I'm not sure how much is actually kidding anymore."

And that's why I never brag. And why I humbly approach everyone as if they were a hard stick. I've sometimes disconcerted people by looking at a huge, fat, juicy vein and saying, "I'll try." They say, "What the hell do you mean 'try'? How can you not hit that?" I just answer, "It's about my religion," as I launch into the spiel above.

It's my genuflection to the Gods of Blood.

(Oh yeah: the other way to anger the Gods of Blood is to write someone's name on the tube before their blood is in it. It implies you don't think you're going to miss. So I never write the name until the blood is in it; BUT it's the VERY FIRST THING I DO after the tape is on. The tubes never leave the room unlabelled. Sounds crazy, I know; but like I say, I've been doing this a long time. And the only times I miss are the times I get overconfident. It's kinda scary.)


At Sat Sep 30, 10:42:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where were you when I needed my blood drawn yesterday--ouch!!!!!


At Sat Sep 30, 03:37:00 PM, Blogger Margaret Polaneczky, MD (aka TBTAM) said...

thanks for visiting my blog, and for pointing me to yours. GOod reading, this.

At Sat Sep 30, 07:33:00 PM, Blogger MedStudentGod (MSG) said...

Gods of Blood. I think I've found my new religion.

At Sun Oct 01, 04:25:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a hard stick...It drives me nuts sometimes being stuck up to 5 different times. My arms are no good at all for sticking. As soon as they get that darn view, it rolls away or gives about 2 drops of blood and then stops. There is a vien in each hand that is good, so that is what I now ask them to use. Some will use a butterfly and others use an injection needle and then fill up the tubes from it.

It saves time and when I show them which ones work they can almost always get it on the first try.

At Sun Oct 01, 07:31:00 AM, Blogger Big Lebowski Store said...

The tube labelling thing must be one of the first commandments. I have to check. I'm not sure what my nurse does when we have multiples come in for their 1-year visit (Pb and hemoglobin), but I believe she labels as we go, IN the room so as not to accidentally swap tubes.



At Mon Oct 02, 10:54:00 AM, Blogger Pieces of Mind said...

The chemo nurses were thrilled that I was such an easy stick, had wonderful veins, &c &c. Unfortunately I had an extravasation during my very first tx.

The Gods of Blood are not to be trifled with.

At Wed Jun 20, 04:32:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You must read Behold A Pale Horse by William Cooper and check website and New World Order. It's our government's Top Secret having a treaty with higher intelligences who want blood for advanced technology. Being a history teacher the ancient world was ruled by the gods in seeking blood especially Aztec and Mayan civilizations. Our government has sold us down the river in exchange for higher intelligence- technology and plans to use a fear-factor in the future in seeking one world government. Dead serious!


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