Today I feel somewhat like this pincushion.
Over the past few months I’ve had my blood taken a lot while we’ve investigated my body for various problems and along the way caused side effects to some medications that then need treating with others.
One of these was that I was, until recently, on a potassium ‘depleting’ medication for High Blood Pressure. Given that many of my asthma medications can also deplete potassium levels in the body, this was a cause for concern. So I ended up being supplemented with, what felt like huge amounts of, potassium.
Potassium is pretty important to be within a good range for the body. As I can’t eat bananas due to my allergies I had to take supplements. 8 HUGE pills a day.
Anyway, my respirologist didn’t like this so recently switched my BP medication to a potassium sparing medication instead. So I took the new medication under appropriate precautions, in case I was allergic to it. So far so good. However, I now have to reduce the supplementation while keeping my potassium in a good range. Hence the need for blood work.
So I had blood taken on Monday. I’m having it taken today and I must have it taken again on Tuesday! The problem is that I have veins that are hard to get and we usually need several vials of blood for the tests.
Which is where feeling like a pincushion comes in. If the phlebotomist doesn’t listen to me and insists on using a straight needle if often takes at least two attempts to draw enough blood. If she uses a butterfly needle and listens, we can often hit it first time. I also don’t bruise as much.
I’m currently running out of elbow crooks for taking blood. I only have two arms after all! Which means that we’ll likely be moving to my forearms by Tuesday.
Hopefully following the protocol set for me by my respirologist, my potassium will stay within normal range and I’ll be off the supplements after that!
I just hope nobody looks at my arms in the next week or so…. as I look like I’ve been physically assaulted!
So please, phlebotomists when patients say that we’re difficult to draw blood from and please use a butterfly – please do as we ask. I know the butterfly needle costs a little more but probably not in reality as you can often use just one, rather than 2 or more straight needles as you get the stick first time. I also don’t bruise as much which is much nicer for me 🙂
Remember, the motto in healthcare is meant to be – Patients First!!