The other day I had to visit Bradford Royal Infirmary for my usual 3-weekly blood test. We got off to a good start as the waiting room for the phlebotomy department was empty and I was able to go straight in. As usual, I explained that my veins are very poor, needing paediatric needles to be used, and I have only one arm which can be used for the procedure. After holding my hand under running hot water to make the veins stand out, the phlebotomist made two unsuccessful attempts. The needle went in ok, but my blood was reluctant to flow! She said "I have been here 30 years and have never had to try 3 times"!! She was going to have another attempt but then decided it might be better if I were to go up the Chemotherapy Day Unit for them to do it. I was quite happy to do this, as no-one there has ever needed more than one attempt.
It was a longer wait as, understandably, I had to be fitted in between the chemo patients. The sister who did the procedure was new to me, but she was lovely and brought me a bucket of hot soapy water to soak my hand in. In the chemo department you also get to sit in a comfy arm chair with a pillow to rest your arm on, a cup of tea and a biscuit! The needle went in without any problem, but again my blood didn't want to leave my nice warm hand! She stroked the vein and sat and chatted to me while we waited for the syringe to fill - must have been about 5 minutes to get a couple of tablespoonsful. Then she carefully took the needle out and my blood squirted all over my hand, her apron, the pillow and the floor. We were frantically mopping up with tissues when hubby came through to wash up his empty cup. He took one look at the blood and said "It's like Hammer House of Horrors in here!" and kept walking back to the waiting room.
It was my clinic appointment next day and I told the consultant what had happened with the blood test. He said next time I should skip the phlebotomy department and go straight to the Day Unit. With pleasure! My next worry is that I have to go for an MRI scan next month and they always have a problem getting a needle in my arm for the dye needed for the scan. Last time, 2 radiographers couldn't do it and they had to go and wake up an anaesthetist for the job. Can't wait to see what happens next time (not!).