blood thief

After my initial one hour glucose screening tests, the results came back a little bit high. Not high enough to diagnose anything, but not low enough to be safe. So here I am… sitting at the doctor’s office again.

If you “fail” the one hour test, you’re in luck, because it means you get to the the three hour test. Some how the math gets messed up though.

1 hour test = 1 blood draw

3 hour test = 4 blood draws

Go figure.

So I stopped eating last night, before 10 pm, as I was directed by the nice nurse that called me. Easy enough, I went to bed. BUT… after an hour of not sleeping…. it was 11 pm and I had terrible heartburn. So, I had been directed to stop eating at 10, and come in at 8:30 am for the fasting test. This isn’t something I had to make an appointment for. They said I could come in any day, any time, and just chill in the waiting room between blood draws.

So I took some TUMS and re-set my alarm.

At 9:30 I left my house and drove the 3 minutes to the office. I signed in… waited… and waited some more. There was only one other person in the waiting room… she was obviously waiting for her next blood draw too. I don’t know why it took 30 minutes… but they didn’t get me back there until 10.

It is notoriously difficult to get blood out of my arm veins. The only person who has ever gotten blood on the first poke was an ER nurse. Today it was the same nurse as for the one-hour test. Last time she took my blood I explained that it is usually difficult to get blood from my arm, but that most people can do it easily from the vein on the back of my hand.

She scoffed at this.

I chocked it up to her maybe having a bad day. She definitely wasn’t very comforting or personable. Both characteristics that I am used to finding in people who spend all day poking people with needles.

Regardless. I went back to the room, sat down, and asked if she remembered me. She did, and recalled it been tricky to find a vein. I told her which arm (the left one) had been successful the previous time, and she tied a thingy around it and went to poking. Lots of poking.

Eventually, she gloved up, cleaned the area… and poked. And then I watched as she moved the needle around under my skin searching for the vein.

It was painful.

Then I drank the orange stuff again. And again, it isn’t terrible (I guess you could practice by drinking flat orange soda). I will say that it is worse the second time, but thankfully during the three hour test I was allowed to drink water through out the test (unlike in the first one).

Then I waited. I read a book I have been working on. It’s about the developement of Deaf education. Very interesting.

At 11 she took my blood again. From the same spot, on the same arm.

Again, very painful. I don’t remember blood drawing being this painful in the past… and I have plenty of experience with this.

More waiting.

At 12 she called me back again she took one look at my left arm. The place where she had been poking around is swollen, and rather bruised now. About the size of a dime. With the slightest sound of defeat she says “Would you like me to take from your hand this time?”

“YES!!”

She had said she didn’t want to do it previously because apparently she thinks it is more painful… but out of all the times she has taken my blood… the one on my hand was the least painful. Of course… it is very very easy to see the giant blue vein on the back of my hand – which makes accuracy a lot easier.

Another hour of waiting, another blood draw (from the hand) and it was all over!

*

I tried to ask the doctor if I could do a week of self monitoring instead of the 3 hour test. He then proceded to tell me what a stupid idea that was because the 3-hour test was just four blood draws, while the home monitoring involves pricking your finger four times a day for a week.

I’m going to be honest.

I think I would’ve preferred the 28 tiny pin-pricks on my fingers spread out over seven days than those first two blood draws.

Aaaaand… I probably sound like a whiny complainer – which is why it is so weird, because getting blood drawn has never been painful before.

If all of the draws had been from my hand, the doctor would’ve been right. Instead my inner elbow is sore and swollen and blue.

*

Something I have learned over plenty of years of doctors appointments is that doctors know a lot about the human body, but then don’t know everything about my body. I wish the doctor had listened to me when I said I would’ve preferred doing the home monitoring, instead of using scare tactics to make me agree to do what he wanted. I also wish that the nurse had listened when I explained my past experiences with phlebotomy. They knew how to do their job, but I’ve been living in my body for 23 years – they owe me a little credit.

 

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10 Comments

  1. Yes, I think being a patient is a careful balance between trusting the medical professional's education and experience… and knowing your own body and your own limits. It always frustrates me to hear stories about doctors like this because they give ALL doctors a bad name.

    Sorry you had such a bad experience. 🙁 I hope the results are good.

    1. I have known some good doctors, so I know that not every doctor (or nurse) is like that. The woman that I see at this same office is great, they just try to rotate through the doctors so that the patients know who ever may end up delivering the baby. Thankfully when that time comes around, I'll have my Mom with me… and she's not a push-over like me. 🙂

  2. Oh my gosh, I'm definitely with you on the home monitoring. I have an irrational fear of blood draws to the point where I pass out every time they take my blood. I have no idea if it hurts or not because I'm so busy trying to stay calm. Only once can I remember a time that I didn't pass out, and it was because the person taking my blood was so kind. He completely distracted me so I was able to relax. If I had a choice I would go with a thousand finger sticks before I ever picked 4 blood draws.

    Also, I'm pretty frustrated that the nurse didn't listen to you! Nurses are supposed to advocate for their patients so she should have been upfront with you as to why she didn't want to use your hand. Then you would have been able to say "do it anyway." It's your body, you should be able to dictate how others treat it – even when they "know best."

    1. I've never thought blood draws were painful before – no worse than getting a shot. Today I have a large bruise on my arm from those draws, and two tiny dots on the back of my hand. Its so frustrating some times, but it doesn't matter now! It's all over!

  3. It is so true that a patient knows more about their body than the dr. There are doctors that don't appreciate that. The ones I had when i was preg with V were like that, and I hated it. It made me feel horrible about myself and made me sink into a depression on more than one occasion. Pregnant woman are emotional as it is, and drs like that make it worse.

  4. So true. I hate that medical professionals sometimes get so jaded into the "right" way to do things that they can't see there's no one "right" for everybody.

    1. My thoughts exactly. Thankfully there is more than one doctor in the practice, so I don't have to see him every time.

  5. It's something I'm learning in this country: ask questions and advocate for yourself. I haven't had blood drawing issues, but with the whole insurance systems I'm starting to learn my lesson.

    I had the flu in January, the Dr was probably 99.99% sure of it but offere to have me take the swab test. I was like sure. Grrr, I need to learn to ask "and how much is that going to be? Is this a necessary procedure?". Because each test was $50 and not all was covered by my insurance.

    Acting in my interest would have (in my opinion) meant to tell me: I don't think you need those tests who are an additional cost because you are on the tail hand of the flu, but it can be done if you wish.

    Ok, done ranting.

    1. Yah, that is annoying! Unfortunately, I don't think the Doctor actually knows anything about cost of things and who's insurance covers what. You would've had to ask the people in the office to call your insurance and ask. It's all pretty complicated.

      My docotor sent me for an ultrasound, saying he wanted to make sure the baby was growing appropriately… and it ended up costing me $200 because they didn't bill it as "medically necessary". Gah!

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