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You can't get blood from a turnip.

Discussion in 'Diagnostic Guidelines and Laboratory Testing' started by Yocheved, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. Yocheved

    Yocheved Spoonless In Seattle

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    I went to the lab to get my blood work done. The last two times had been complete failures, and I nearly fainted. I have EXTREMELY low blood pressure, and teeny tiny veins. This time, the guy had me hold my hand under hot water, and tried for the back of my hand. It hurt SO bad! OMG, I actually had my hand clamped over my mouth so that DD wouldn't hear me screaming. At some point, I started sobbing hysterically and hyperventilating. I was really scared that I was going to pass out, or worse, curl up in a little ball under the chair and not come out for an hour. I haven't had a panic attack like that in ages, and I hope I never do again. It felt like forever before I could get myself under control and stop crying. I really didn't want to scare DD or have her see me like that. Fortunately, she didn't seem to notice, but I was a shaking wreck for the rest of the day. (They didn't get a single drop of blood out of me, either.)

    I've been using the same clinic for the past 20 years, and they've always been amazing with me. The problem is that my health has gone downhill drastically in the past two years, and has taken my blood pressure with it. [​IMG] I feel very safe with the techs, and they are so patient and kind. I'm not at all afraid of needles, it's just my body that's not cooperating.

    They almost always get the vein the first time, but then nothing comes out! I only need 3 vials, and the last time they could get anything out of me was over a year ago, and that was only a half a vial, not enough to even test. All that for nothing! Thank G-d it's not a life or death thing, and I only need to be tested once or twice a year. I'm on such a low dose of Depakote that they are checking liver levels just to be safe, not because there is any immediate danger.

    Going to a hospital is going to be a PITA, but I think at this point it may be my only option.
    So my question is, anyone with low blood pressure or cardiac insufficiency - how do they get the blood out of you?
  2. justy

    justy Senior Member

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    Hi, i really do sympathise - i have always had low blood pressure, and getting blood out has been hard. Uusally i find phlebotomists are fine, but nurses and GPs cant seem to do it. Last time i had blood taken by a doctor she went for the outside of my wrist - youch!! i nearly freaked.

    I have been lucky though and they usually do get there without too much trouble. I usially also offer them my 'best' arm. On occasion the nurse has said no this ones no good and gone for the other arm only to go pale and return to my suggested best arm.

    Luckily for me when i was pregnant it was a doddle, depsite low BP - you get increased blood volume which really helps.
    Sorry i have no suggestions.
    Justy.
  3. SickOfSickness

    SickOfSickness Senior Member

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    I know what you mean. I can't tolerate many attempts, I'd have to leave and come back.

    I think drinking extra helped me.

    I had 2 or 3 veins that always looked like the best ones, but they would not work out half the time. I had to tell the nurses to use the others that looked small, they were better. They were skeptical, but it worked better, I got less poking.
  4. Sushi

    Sushi Moderator and Senior Member Albuquerque

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    Yocheved

    I used to have exactly the same story with blood draws. But I discovered that along with low BP I have hypercoagulation (ISAC panel from Hemex labs). I regularly take nattokinase (helps with hypercoag) but the night before a blood draw I take an extra dose, drink as much hot water or other hot drinks as I can before, wear layers of coats and turn up the car heater on the way, insist on lying down, have my arm heated with a heating pad for 20 minutes or so--and this usually works--especially if I have a good phlebotomist.

    Before, they would torture me for an hour and get no blood.

    Best wishes,
    Sushi
    Yocheved, Valentijn and Ema like this.
  5. Ema

    Ema Senior Member

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    I was going to say the same thing as Sushi!

    They would have me dressed up with warmers, out in the parking lot doing calisthenics, you name it, and nothing helped. But between Florinef to correct my low blood volume (which contributes to my low BP) and lumbrokinase, I have no trouble with blood draws anymore. And I used to go through the same thing you describe every single time...OUCH!

    Ema
  6. Sushi

    Sushi Moderator and Senior Member Albuquerque

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    Oh
    Oh, I forgot bringing hand weights to the clinic and pumping iron before the draw! I entertained many people. :cool:

    Sushi
  7. Yocheved

    Yocheved Spoonless In Seattle

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    Thanks everyone for your empathy and suggestions! Just last night I was reading up on hypercoagulation, and it makes a lot of sense. If I cut or poke myself, I'll bleed for maybe a second, just a drop, and then it stops. I'm not well enough to do exercise or lift weights. I can't even carry a bowl of soup from the kitchen to the dining table without fear of dropping it or spilling all of it.

    I'll have to do some research into Florinef, lumbrokinase, and nattokinase. I haven't heard of any of them before. Google, ahoy!
  8. Yocheved

    Yocheved Spoonless In Seattle

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    Florinef: Not available in the US, which is just as well because I have at least half of the medical contraindications.:ill:
    Seems pretty toxic and scary, too.

    lumbrokinase: enzymes originally derived from the earthworm Lumbricus rubellus. :sluggish: Not Kosher! I'll have to ask my rabbi, because I'm only supposed to make an exception in serious life threatening situations (you're trapped on island and the only thing you have to eat is bacon, or else you'll starve to death.)

    nattokinase: Fermented soybeans. That's more doable! No serious side effects noted, so I'll try this one first. :thumbsup:
  9. Valentijn

    Valentijn Activity Level: 3

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    Florinef is available in the US, but I think you're right about the side effects. Some people are helped by it, some seem traumatized by it, and some seem both helped and traumatized :p

    But to answer your original question about getting the blood squeezed out: mine's been taken from the back of my hand a few times too while being turnip-milked. Once it wasn't painful at all, once it was a little painful but mostly just disturbing (like ewww that feels so wrong) and than once it was very painful. It really depends on the person doing the blood draw and how many nerves are near the needle.

    I almost threw up and passed out after the non-painful one (8 or 9 vials), but I think that was more due to the aggravation of already-aggravated hypotension. Hypotension can trigger symptoms like anxiety (or maybe it's actual anxiety), so for the blood draws it might help to explain your problems and start out laying down.

    I'm not needle-phobic at all, but seeing one hanging out of my hand is pretty disturbing, so I'm also generally not looking at it and trying not to think about it ... just focusing on breathing normally and keeping calm. And ... "it'll be over soon."
  10. jimells

    jimells Senior Member

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    Florinef is definitely available in the U.S., even in the boonies where I live. I've been on it for a year, and it has worked very well for my orthostatic problems. I can only tolerate a low dose (1/2 of a .1 mg tablet) - any more and I get a daily migraine, ugghh.

    If they can get a needle in but no blood comes out - I wonder if it would help to get a liter of IV saline before the blood draw.
    Valentijn likes this.
  11. Yocheved

    Yocheved Spoonless In Seattle

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    The one site I looked at said that Florinef was pulled from the US market, but that could have been old info. I took one look at the PDR and ran like crazy! I take Depakote, so I'm at risk for liver toxicity, and I take antidepressants so I can't risk getting suicidal. I get horrible vascular migrianes that last for days, so I wasn't too thrilled about that, either.

    Before a blood draw I drink Gatorade like it's going out of style. It's great if you need a sonogram or a pee test, but it doesn't seem to help get my blood moving. I'm going to try the nattokinase, and have them attempt the draw while I'm laying down. Probably have them give me a warm pack for my arm, too. No way is anyone going near my hand again! :mad:

    I'm wondering about taking a Xanax before I go in. It will stop the anxiety, but won't it make my blood pressure drop too far? *confused*

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