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Blood Draws/Good tips for getting through them!

Discussion in 'Diagnostic Guidelines and Laboratory Testing' started by FernRhizome, Feb 17, 2010.

  1. FernRhizome

    FernRhizome Senior Member

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    Over the years I've figured out the best way for me to handle blood draws and thought it might be useful for others so I'll post my Fern Tips here:

    1) Have your doctor write a note that you are very hypovolemic (low blood volume) and tubes should be filled only to the minimum amount needed.

    2) I always ask for "peds" tubes—pediatric-sized tubes. So that's less blood they have to draw. They can't use Peds tubes on all draws but usually they can for most draws. The lab technician often has to check on that per test. And for special research draws I never ask for peds tube.

    3) Ask for a "butterfly" needles. This is the very smallest needle. It is useful because first it hurts less and secondly it leaves less scar tissue. I've heard that sometimes the smaller butterfly tubing may occasionally be so small it may possibly damage blood cells. I do not know if this is true, but the only time I don't do ask for a butterfly is, again, if it's a critical research test.

    4) I ask the technician to go above or below the most obvious place they always want to go. That's because after hundreds of blood draws I have a lot of scar tissue and that helps avoid the most painful spots.

    5) Never bend your arm after the draw. Keep it straight. Bending it can create more scar tissue & make future draws more painful.

    6) And here's a Tina Tip: If you tend to faint during blood draws, ask to lie down.
  2. Sushi

    Sushi Moderator and Senior Member Albuquerque

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    Albuquerque
    Hi,

    I have my little list of "musts" too for blood draws. I also have scar tissue, tend to get a vasovagal response that can lead to a faint, have hypocoag issues etc.

    So, to add to your list:

    I take a double dose of nattokinase the night before (reduces fibrin). I drink a lot of hot water for a couple hours before unless it is a "no water" test. I also get myself heated up before hand to plump up the veins -- turn on the car heater, wear a down jacket etc. Then I ask them to put one of those heat packs on the vein before they do their vampire tricks. I insist on lying down, and I ask for a pressure bandage afterward as I tend to bruise.

    Sometimes I have had to ask for a pediatric or neo-natal nurse when they couldn't get blood.

    If it is a fasting event, I take a recovery pack with food and a thermos of a hot drink.

    Gee, what fun! :tongue: But this routine works well for me. I have even taken 3 pound weights to the clinic and "pumped iron" before the draw!

    Sushi
  3. bee33

    bee33

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    I don't have the problems you describe, I'm just terrified of blood tests because I find them very painful. For the pain, you can ask the doc for a prescription of a numbing cream called Emla. (It's rather strong so maybe try a small amount first to see how it affects you.) It's usually only used for children or for much more painful procedures, but hey... :)
  4. FernRhizome

    FernRhizome Senior Member

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    The smaller butterfly needles are also a lot less painful, you can ask for those...
  5. andreamarie

    andreamarie Senior Member

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    I had twenty four vials drawn yesterday and I only have one good vein. It was fasting and I didn't know if I could drink so I didn't. She did use butterfly and it was fine except I was VERY WEAK afterwards. Have to have IV for procedure every three months. Any tips for that. Can't drink before. My veins are all scarred but one due to massive transfusions forty yrs ago from Crohn's.
  6. IntuneJune

    IntuneJune Senior Member

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    I am over 60 years old and never knew about butterfly needles until I went to an immunologist in Boston who draws blood in the office. These blood draws consist of multiple vials. What bothers me a lot during a draw is the pain I feel when vials are changed. The first time I had my blood drawn in this office, I choose to look away. First there was the initial pinch, then I waited for the pressure/pain of the "big switch." Hummmm, nothing. I looked over and the assistant had a tube running from the needle downward and was chaning the vials at the end of the tubing, no pain.

    Wish I could get all my blood draws there.

    Every three weeks, I undergo intravenous immunoglobulin infusions and the nurses are so happy to see big veins on my hands. I have SEVERE pain when they use the top of my hand, and ask they look elsewhere. One nurse said, "oh, but I am good and I want to use the hand." Oh my, she hurt me so.....I told her that was enough, she stopped and went for another location.

    Nine days ago, I had foot surgery, same thing. The anesthesilogist headed right for the top of my hand with eyes that glistened. I had to stop her, put my foot down, "any where but there." At least she listened.

    June

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