Poking Around

The photo doesn’t show it well enough, but there’s the result of yesterday’s attempt to do a very common thing: give a blood sample. It’s been a normal part of life since I was a teenager. Phlebotomists vary greatly, but I’ve never had one as bad as this. Altogether, four needles of various sizes poked into my arm (the fourth by a different person over at Quest Labs, fortunately). The third one was the worst. She wasn’t quite willing to give up immediately and poked around trying to find a vein.

I have big veins, very easy to see and feel. Yet she missed it. Three times. It’s the poking around that gave me the swelling and the extra bruising. I had the heating pad on it yesterday, but maybe I’ll put a cool pack on it to bring down the swelling.

The best phlebotomist I ever had was in Los Angeles. I can’t remember his name because in my head he was always “Hatchet Man.” He was nigh on painless every time, straight to the vein and done. But he had this horrific scar and dent in his forehead that looked like someone had buried a hatchet in his head. I was always too timid to ask about it, but it fascinated me. Maybe I should have asked, but it seemed rude. Whatever it was must have been terrible. Probably better I didn’t ask.

UPDATE: less swelling, more bruising (fascinating, eh?)


  1. marja-leena says:

    Yikes! My veins are deep and hard to find so most phlebotomists (a new word for me!) give me bruises on both arms before success, but nothing like yours. My family doctor did it for me once and he was right on the mark the first time and not a bruise!

  2. The Queen says:

    That's awful! I always have good luck at Quest Labs – in and outta there in 5 minutes.Oh,and definitely ice pack- heat will just make it swell more & be more painful. Also, ibuprofen would be good. And, being who I am, I would send a picture of the freakin' mess to the people in charge of the idiots who did that.

  3. K. A. Laity says:

    The fourth and finally successful stab was at Quest, where she was a bit amazed at the previous tech’s inability to stab a simple GIGANTIC vein.Yeah, QoE, might be worth showing them the fine work’s results.

  4. Wendy says:

    Yikes! Sorry for that! You’ve just given nightmares to people who hate needles. Fortunately, I don’t have such a problem and I have nice, easy veins for any vampires. Although, once while giving blood, I watched a nice arc of blood shoot out after I was pricked. I got good pressure.

  5. K. A. Laity says:

    You'd have thought mine couldn't be missed. Umpteen years of blood tests and nary a problem until this time. Sheesh — but you're probably right. I'm confirming the horrors people already believed about needles. Well, none of the tattooed have weighed in but you.Miss Wendy is [cue Queen & Bowie] under pressure!

  6. Crispinus says:

    I…I’m p-passing out…

  7. slovobooks says:

    I still have bruising on my left arm from where an utterly incompetant nurse tried to put a canula in the crook of my arm on Wednesday night, eventually jabbing wildly, it seemed to me, before simply giving up and saying, “you don’t really need it anyway.” Eventually someone else came in and put one in the back of my hand with virtually no fuss…

  8. K. A. Laity says:

    A cannola?! Oh, wait, canula! That sounded even more painful (but tasty). I had a horribly black and blue hand from the drip the one time I was in the hospital — the whole back of my hand.Glad you’re out of the hospital (for now, eh?) and back on the ‘net, Pádraig. Hope recovery continues apace.

  9. The Queen says:

    Take the gun, leave the canula….

  10. K. A. Laity says:

    LOL — it always comes back to the hit, eh?

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