Friday, April 13, 2012

Phlebotomy Hell

To prepare for my Radioactive Iodine Treatment, I had to have some blood work done.  In case you were wondering, thyroid stuff means you have to get your blood taken A LOT.  Anyway... the blood tests included thyroid panel, thyroid cancer marker tests, CMP (whatever that is), and a blood pregnancy test (please...).

Now, I am not someone who is afraid of needles.  I'm not a huge fan of them, but getting my blood taken doesn't invoke a panic attack or make me want to vomit/pass out.  I think it is because whenever I had to have my blood taken when I was little, my mom bribed me with a Happy Meal if I was a brave girl.  Which I always was.  Loved me my McDonald's.

Usually, the tech that draws my blood does a wonderful job.  Can't even feel it.  No bruise.  She is wonderful.  So there really hasn't been any need to be anxious

But my last blood draw from the lab at the endo's office was SO PAINFUL.  I had a different tech and she was horrible.  It was one of those where they dig around and say, "Oops!  I went too far."  And thyroid tests take like 6 vials, so it isn't a short process.

So when I went in on Tuesday, I was really hoping for my previously wonderful phlebotomist.  I got a different lady.  My previous interactions with her haven't been that stellar.  This is mostly because she lacks any people skills.  And partially because she was wearing a Star Trek pin.

I sit down and she asks to see both arms which she then proceeds to grope, trying to find the right vein.  For those of you who don't know me, I am white.  Like super white.  Practically translucent.  I make vampires and albinos look they are from the Jersey Shore.  She finally finds a vein and it is a SUPER PAINFUL blood draw.

At this point, I was kicking myself for not requesting a different phlebotomist.

The one redeeming thing about this woman was when she said, "It must be scary to think about them cutting into your neck like that."  That is nice.  She then followed it up with, "Hopefully the doctor has a steady hand."  Yes.  That very sentence caused about a month of panic attacks before my first surgery.

My arm hurt for the rest of the day.  Literally 10 hours of arm pain.  And she left me with this:

{I told you I was white. You can see my veins in this picture.}

I love looking like an intravenous drug user.  Good times.


  1. If ever I am in your situation, I hope to be 1/3 as brave as you. I got weak in the knees, just reading the word blood. You are going to be one strong chick once you get through this!

    1. Thanks Misty! You do what you have to do, you know what I mean? I am just hoping I am almost done with the "treatment" part and then I can move on to the next part. :)

  2. NOT OKAY!
    manfriend has to go give blood every 2 weeks due to his liver absorbing too much iron and if i were to show this to him, he'd probably throw up. he's not a fan of the blood draw.

    YOU, my friend, are one brave soul.
    i like it.

  3. Oh my gosh! That's ridiculous!! I'd say something to the office manager or your doctor next time. Seriously no reason for that....yikes!

  4. Oh no, oh no!!! Those are such terrible things to say to a patient!! Horrible! They definitely should put her to analyze tests instead, and never come out to see human beings - ever!

  5. She went through your vein and more than likely hit a ligament. Bruise from popping your vein, pain because of the ligament. Those are newbie issues, ask for an experienced phleb. Better yet THE most experienced. I'm sorry it happened to you, makes me a little bit sad to see. Shouldn't happen.

  6. whao no way that bruise is insane! ugh i'm sorry, hate when you aren't given a good caretaker

    stopping by from the not mommy hop!

  7. Argh! This post made me both laugh and cringe. I'm new to your blog, so I don't know the background to all of your medical stuff (though am about to look at the tab at the top), but I have totally had the same experience of people literally digging around in your arm trying to find a vein. That happened to me the very first time I had to have IV steroids an chemo for renal failure. NOT cool. As if I wasn't nervous enough to begin with!

    I am also super white, so my veins are right THERE, which always leaves me wondering "Come on! You can SEE them under my skin!? How the heck can you miss!"" but apparently you can. o.O

    I hope you never have to deal with that person again! :O

    Holly :)
    Just dropping by from #FF!

  8. Oh my gosh that is a crazy terrible experience. I think I would have cried as I already have issues with needles. I admire your strength though. My sister had thyroid cancer two years ago and I watched her endure alot to get to where she is now, Which she is really good. She is cancer free, able to maintain good levels and now pregnant with her third child. Miracles do happen. Wishing you the best with this challenging journey.

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