I'm sure most of you, just like me have had a lot of experience getting blood drawn and maybe even IV's inserted. Do the phlebotomists and nurses have trouble? Well I have learned over the years that it really is a marvelous skill and some can draw my blood with a butterfly and I tell you I don't even feel it while others can torture me with the needle -- poking, prodding digging around and leave me bruised. I had one experience in a doctor's office where the nurse stuck me 8 times and then called for the Dr. I knew I was in trouble then because the Dr. I'm sure has less experience than the nurse but somehow he was able to get a vein in my hand to give him some blood.
I've also had experiences in the hospital where they had to call for the expert in because no one could get my IV started. But I've also had times where they have no trouble at all. I'm trying to figure out what makes the difference. I am always careful to be well hydrated first, I know that is important and usually make sure I'm thoroughly drowned if I know ahead of time. I know a lot of it is the skill of the person doing it but I wonder if there is some difference in my veins at some times. I've been told I have small veins, rollover veins, veins that hop, Etc.....
But yesterday I was told a new one -- the nurse said I have hard veins?
As an aside I have no skin symptoms except hard and splitting cuticles and scleroderma pattern on capillaroscopy no hard skin anywhere.
I had to go for 2 iron infusions. Last week I had my first one and the nurse doing the IV brought a hot damp towel and wrapped my arm and I was also given a warm blanket. When she came back after a while to do the IV she noticed my hands were still cold, then I told her I had Raynaud's and she proceeded to warm my hand with her hands before she would begin the IV. She got the IV in the first time with no incident.
This week I went for my second infusion and a different nurse -- this one used no hot towel and just began trying to get the IV in -- she also noticed I was cold and commented she had seen in my chart that I had Raynaud's, but still didn't bother to try to warm my arm at all. Well needless to say today I am bruised and sore because it took several attempts a lot of digging and twisting of the needle and lots of apologies from her(why she didn't stop and warm my arm I never had the courage to ask, I just put up with the pain). Well as she was having difficulty she kept tapping the veins in my arm looking puzzled and looked at me and commented -- it's almost like your veins are hard. Has anyone ever had a comment like that from a nurse or phlebotomist when you don't have hard skin? I'm thinking it has a lot more to do with the Raynaud's and the cold, and that the nurse I had last week had the right idea. I'm going to pay more attention now to see if things go easier getting blood drawn when I am warmer. A lot of the time even when the needle will go in, it seems they have a hard time getting the blood to flow on me. One phlebotomist told me it is because of my small veins it closes it off or something. But I'm wondering if it has to do with being cold. Any nurses out there have any ideas?