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Stargate Monuments


Martha Wells

My Flying Lizard Circus

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The Story of Yesterday

So yesterday I was supposed to have one of those routine, screening, drive a camera through your insides tests. I spent Wednesday, on no solid food, just chicken broth, jello, tea and juice. Drinking the prep liquid that night was not as bad as I thought it would be (it tasted like Hawaiian Punch that had gone bad in some strange chemical way). The only hitch (we thought) was that I had to get up at 4:00 am to take the second dose. I spent the night in the guest room so I wouldn't wake up Troyce, then I screwed up when setting my alarm and almost slept through it. Troyce woke up anyway, realized there weren't any lights on, and woke me up. So the whole morning we were congratulating ourselves on not messing up the whole thing at the last moment and having to reschedule.

We got to the doctor's office at 8:30 am where they are running people in and out like clockwork and everything's going great, and I got a very nice nurse to get my IV line started so they could give me the sedation. Except I'm dehydrated, and my veins hide really, really well. So she tries, and the anesthesiologist tries, and we end up trying in both hands, both arms, one foot, and the right side of my neck. (That last one is not fun, I don't recommend it.)

My veins are triumphant! No one can catch them. Nurse and anesthesiologist feel horrible (and they really did, no one wants to be on either end of this process) and we have to stop, so the doctor decides to send me to the hospital where they can do a central line. (Troyce asked me where they would stick the central line and I said probably in my eye.)

But the first opening isn't until 1:00, so we have to go home for an hour and then get to the hospital at 11:00. (The good thing is, both these places are less than 10 minutes from our house because we live in a small town. The bad thing is I haven't had food since Tuesday and no water since 4:45 Thursday morning.) It takes about another hour to check in at the hospital, but the doctor had allowed for that in her schedule, and eventually I get an outpatient room.

The first nurse glares at me and asked if I normally have a problem with IVs. (I have a feeling that most people who get referred to the hospital for this are just perceived as being difficult. I am not difficult, I let them stick three needles in my neck and they're the ones who had to give up.) I told her I hadn't had an IV in thirty years so I didn't know, and when I get blood tests it is difficult but they always manage. First nurse leaves and then a second nurse comes in and says the first one went on lunch break. (This is a relief.) This nurse listens to the problem and says it would be better to avoid a central line, so first let's let Wesley try, so she gets Wesley.

Wesley turns out to be an actual blood wizard. He asks me what exactly the other people said was going wrong, leaves and comes back with a double handful of equipment, then, while laughing and chatting with us, uses a different technique and gets a vein on the back of my wrist on the first try. This is a HUGE RELIEF.

The rest of it was anticlimactic. Got wheeled in, got the sedation, woke up and hour later ready to go home. I remember the doctor coming in and talking to me, and explaining a picture of my insides, but it's very dreamlike. I think I'm very good at faking being coherent when I'm actually still mostly unconscious. But I have to do the test again for ten years, so it's a win. I'm hoping the insurance still covers everything like it's supposed to. The hospital didn't try to beat any money out of us when we were checking in, so I'm cautiously hopeful. We'll know when we get a bill, I guess.

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I'll hope that it's covered. I really need to do that test, but given everything else I've done in the last year, I'll shove it off a bit longer. (No one in my family has had problems, so I don't feel too unsafe.)

I'm glad you got the wizard. ;o)

I haven't commented on one of your posts for a long time, but I definitely sympathize. I finally stopped donating blood because it was ruining the only good vein I had. As for your screening, I'm glad you are on a 10-year recheck cycle and that you got a clean bill of health this time. After my last "run through" with that I was put on a 10 year schedule, too. Such a relief knowing by the time it comes around again I'll have forgotten was a hassle it is

What a horrible experience! I often do have trouble with blood draws, so the back of my hand and a pediatric needle is the way most phlebotomists opt to go with me. I'm sorry you didn't get a better one to start with and that it took so long to get to Wesley.

Oh, god, the veins that fight back! It's just awful. It's amazing to me that every hospital seems to have a Wesley, and what a difference it makes to see the wizard first. (I also sympathize about the infinite fast. For various reasons, I can't do anything involving anesthetic in an outpatient setting, so I ended up having to have my similar procedure done at the local hospital, and they kept bumping me for actual emergencies. Fair enough, but that meant my 9AM procedure actually happened around 3:30PM. My hope is that by the time my 10 years are up, I can just swallow a sensor and let it look around.)

Had a similar experience earlier this week, though in my case, it was just a before-and-after blood draw. For the after blood draw, the tech was trying to prepare me for getting blood from my hand since the veins in my arm weren't cooperating for her, but then spotted the tech who had done the first blood draw. First tech popped in and got the vein she had before, right on my right elbow.

Some people just have a well-trained gift, and I am glad they are employed in the medical field.

Having been there -- both with the "cameras checking the insides" and "let's see if we can turn Epi into a pincushion!" -- you have all my sympathies today, and a wish that the results and financial matters are in your favour.

Had that problem before surgery 9 years ago. They wound up doing something to get the IV in in the OR rather than wheeling me with the IV in place. Have usually gotten through colonoscopies and the like without too much grief. Hope you don't wind up with extra charges.

Ugh, I'm glad it's over for you! I often have trouble like that, too. Once I left the clinic in tears because a brusque Russian phlebotomist left both my inner elbows puffy and purple from trying to draw blood for a routine test. I sat in the car and cried until I could calm down enough to drive home. When I had to have an IV for a CT scan, it took two nurses three tries to find a vein. Ouchie.

I am having visions of a Wesley Crusher that followed his mom's path toward medicine and happened to be hanging out in the past today.

Seriously though, glad it got taken care of, in the end!

Wow! You're even a tougher stick than I am. Did he use the vein finder? That thing is cool, they used it on my husband and got him first try but I think you have to be in the hospital to have access to it. I'm so sorry you had such a rough time of it. I hope you had a really good meal afterwards and congratulations on the good results.

No, he used multiple tourniquets, moving them down my arm gradually, then gave me a lydocaine shot next to the vein before he tried to stick it. Worked perfectly!

Thanks! And it was great seeing you at ArmadilloCon!

My veins never give anyone a problem -- but my colon has problems. My doctor wants a yearly colonoscopy. I'll do what I'm told, but I don't have to like it or get used to it.

If this happens again tell them to use an ultrasound to find a vein. Most doctor offices and any hospital should have at least a small portable unit. Also, ask for a heat pack for the area that they think is the best bet; it should help the veins there stick out a bit more. Make sure they're using the smallest needle they can for what they need to do. Keep track of which veins work and which don't and tell people working on you as soon as they arrive whether they ask or not. And ask for an IV nurse rather than a phlebotomist (if blood work) or general nurse or nurse's assistant. Also, remember, you should always feel free to tell them you want someone else to do the work if you're not comfortable with anything they say or do. Getting tense does not help and some people start getting annoyed at you if they have problems finding a vein. Not that I have any experience with this issue at all ;)

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