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Mumsnetters aren't necessarily qualified to help if your child is unwell. If you have any serious medical concerns, we would urge you to consult your GP.

Poorly dd and Fear of Blood Tests

(27 Posts)
Verbena37 Tue 03-Oct-17 19:20:06

Dd is 15 and has venephobia (fear of veins and having veins touched) and carpophobia (fear of wrists being touched).

She has been away from school a fair amount since term started and really doesn’t want to miss anymore school. She has a poorly feeling most days, has gone off her food, is lethargic all the time, threw up today and generally feels unwell. She has been off probably about 4 or 5 days since they went back after summer.

So far, following the nurse practitioner saying she needs a list of things checking by bloods tests, we have tried twice to take blood, but failed.
The first time, at the hospital And she screamed the place down and today, at the surgery with the phlebotomist and lovely nurse and she went floppy and almost fainted. She then had a panic attack and her body shook violently like she was in shoc and she went freezing cold. They said they wouldn’t be able to get blood from her hand (only place she felt ok having it taken from) as her veins weren’t up enough.

She managed to tolerate the cuff over her sleeve for a few seconds which impressed me but then went faint.

The nurses couldn’t suggest anywhere where she could have entenox administered or a sedative etc. We don’t really want to spend lots of time having hypnotherapy etc as she really needs the bloods doing soon. It’s already been two weeks since she went to see nurse practitioner.

Does anybody know any way through NHS or privately somehow she could have them taken using an effective method?

busytimesahead Tue 03-Oct-17 19:49:52

I don't know if this will help but it might:

I was like this as a child - did not know the wrist thing had a name till your thread and I still can't touch my wrist or look at that part with the vein. A so called friend used to play/pluck her wrist tendon to wind me up and writing this is making me wince...

But what helped me was an iPod and briefing the nurse to not talk or describe anything they are doing - I would have my music on, look away and use my other hand to cover create a screen to block the view (still do this now, but not the music bit)

And counted slowly focused on the music & it got better.

I used to be a mess as a teenager, I got diagnosed with an under active thyroid at 18 after a few years of glandular fever/ME symptoms and moved the mindset to I need these tests to make me better - with the iPod and marking sure no one showed me or shared with me any details.

I still (post three children) don't look and ask them to not to describe what they are doing.

I can still feel hot and faint, but distracting helps.

I feel for her and hope she can find a method that works for her.

Verbena37 Tue 03-Oct-17 22:11:17

Thanks Busytimesahead.
She took her phone and headphones but still couldn’t stand the feeling and stress of it all.

Think crying, screaming, pulling away, slipping down the chair from feeling faint, can’t focus due to low blood pressure etc.
All sounds very dramatic but it was...she is very phobic poor girl.
I’m thinking perhaps exposure therapy but again, that will take weeks probably and I really want her bloods taking ASAP.

123bananas Tue 03-Oct-17 22:14:21

Children's Outpatients generally have special phlebotomy clinics with play staff to help children with their fears. Get GP to refer.

Kaffiene Tue 03-Oct-17 22:22:15

Some children’s hospitals have a thing called a Buzzy which may help distract from the feeling along with music etc. It’s a small Buzzing Bee which vibrates you put it higher up than the area being accessed and it helps to confuse the nerve endings.
www.buzzy4shots.co.uk

DD has a Buzzy, music on, head phones in. As quick as possible. Pain relief or freeze spray makes her worse. Hope that helps

Draylon Tue 03-Oct-17 22:32:20

Not at all helpful for people's DDs, but HCPs, in these cash-strapped times feel so sorry for you worried and sometimes desperate parents of mid- late-teenage DDs who are so phobic. Many of you will have experienced the barely-disguised eye roll as your DD fails to cope with the idea of a blood test or cannula. I have nothing useful to add except to say it must be hideous as you know your DD will very likely benefit from what YOU know will take 45 seconds of mild discomfort from her life sad

chickhonhoneybabe Tue 03-Oct-17 22:45:24

Have you spoken to your GP to ask if there's a mild sedative she could take?

NICE guidelines advise that children under 19 can take midazolam.

Verbena37 Tue 03-Oct-17 22:58:14

Thanks everybody.
Useful to know about the midazolam....will ask GP.
Draylon, I know it seems it’s a teen thing however, we are petty sure it stems from one event.

When she was 4, she lost the ability to walk one day. Couldn’t put her foot to the floor. The GP suspected Pethés Syndrome anx she was taken to hospital. When she was scared about having her bloods taken, 4 nurses held her arms and legs down on a bed and took it. Obviously this needed to be done but it was traumatic for her and it seems, since then, the phobia has grown.

I’ll check with GP about getting a referral to the hospital play team. The sad thing is, the hospital has a really great play team but once kids get to 12, they send anyone over 12 to the city care centre for bloods....like adults. A referral might work though.

busytimesahead Wed 04-Oct-17 00:06:40

I forgot to add I always used Elmer cream, I am sure she has tried the numbing cream. But Elmer cream does work for some, for other children the cold spray is better.

Also ensuring it is put on in lots of places may help reassure her that they will use that.

I can relate, obviously as an adult now looking back it is easy to suggest things but the GP maybe able to offer CBT to help her.

If it comes from the holding down, hopefully with something like CBT she can move to the mindset the more control measures she puts in, the more in control of the situation she will be.

If it is the wrist or area she doesn't want to see, can you do something clever with long sleeved tops and layers so only the part needed is exposed for that moment.

Verbena37 Wed 04-Oct-17 00:09:48

We’ve just been looking into it and I think it’s also like haemaphobia. Fear of blood and blood being taken.

Maybe cbt will help long term but short term, think I’ll ask about the sedative drug mentioned above.

Verbena37 Fri 06-Oct-17 17:53:49

chicken they’ve prescribed diazepam to be taken an hour before the blood test, first thing Monday am.
The Doctor is going to attempt it and was really sweet and said if she doesn’t feel comfortable to go ahead, he will stop.

She is still worried but I think the tablets will hopefully work.

chickhonhoneybabe Fri 06-Oct-17 20:27:04

I was going to suggest diazepam, but wasn’t sure if teens could be prescribed it.

It’s good stuff, hopefully it will help her relax enough to let the dr take her bloods.

Abbylee Fri 06-Oct-17 20:39:35

Our ds had this. It was horrible throughout his childhood and this is the first time that I have seen anyone besides my mother sympathetic. Thank you to every one for your help and kind words even though I am not the op.

Ds did outgrow this when he went to university bc he made himself give blood. It was a "growing up" task that he set himself.

Best wishes.

Verbena37 Fri 06-Oct-17 21:32:37

That’s really positive your DS was able to do that Abbylee.
chicken pharmacist said diazepam is actually not as strong as midazolam but she had no information about it’s use in children under 18. As it’s a one off, I’m sure dd will be fine.
I might just have to keep her at home for a couple of hours until the drowsy effects wear off.

Draylon Fri 06-Oct-17 21:49:04

Well done to your DS, sort of 'taking ownership' of his phobia; that's impressive, and shows great maturity.

Verbena37 Mon 09-Oct-17 14:03:15

Oh blimey!
Took dd this am for bloods at GP and even having taken the 4mg diazepam, she still couldn’t have them taken.....she was shaking and worse than before.
Called hospital play team and asked if they had a date to go in and the coordinator said she didn’t know who said it would be ok but they don’t take GP referrals and that even if she was on the list, it would be after Xmas when they could do it! She did say she would speak to someone and find out.

I’m so upset and a rather cross. She needs bloods taking and the play team lady said they use entenox all the time for the procedure so I don’t see the problem. Even adult phlebotomy could surely use entenox?

Floralnomad Mon 09-Oct-17 14:17:35

What about a private hospital , afaik the Spire group do blood tests but whether they would do an under 16 I've no idea . You could try an enquiry at least , or ask the GP for a recommendation. Unfortunately although this is urgent to you , because it's your child ,in the great scheme of the NHS she is one of many in a similar position .

Verbena37 Mon 09-Oct-17 14:22:30

Really? Many children are venephobic to the point where three lots of bloods have failed to be taken?
I’m surprised.
I know there are lots of kids on waiting lists but didn’t think phlebotomy would be one. Perhaps you mean for the play team....which I totally understand.

I will look into the Spire hospitals you mentioned though and pay privately if we need to. Hopefully th play team will come back with a positive answer.

Floralnomad Mon 09-Oct-17 14:26:06

Yep , loads of children have major issues with blood taking , my dd included .

Verbena37 Mon 09-Oct-17 14:41:05

Just reread my post.....I didn’t mean for it sound condescending. It was me honestly saying I didn’t know.
I guess, if that’s right though, that’s why I can’t so cross that better services aren’t in place for children who need blood tests.

Verbena37 Mon 09-Oct-17 15:13:43

DD’s symptoms could be a simple vitamin deficiency, glandular fever or it could be something more serious so we definitely need them taking ASAP.

Verbena37 Wed 11-Oct-17 09:58:52

So children’s ward play team person said they’re waiting to see if childrens phlebotomy team will do the bloods with entenox because of her age (15).

If not, I’ll be taking this further through PALS. I cannot believe there isn’t a system in place for children over twelve but not 18. There is a lack of service provision and my dd needs these bloods taking. I’ve checked with three walk in city care clinic and none will use entenox.

Draylon Wed 11-Oct-17 17:54:42

There's no doubt that there probably is a bit of a 'hole' in that sort of provision for a 15 year old, tbh.

Let us know what you find out.

Verbena37 Wed 11-Oct-17 18:40:09

So I’ll hopefully find out tomorrow if the children’s ward will do it.
Dd said she will give consent to let me hold the gas and air mouth piece if she is unable.

Called two private hospitals....one won’t do it as they sub their blood tests to pathology direct and the other very local one I need the city care centre won’t use entenox as they need trained people to use the entenox!
Hoping for a miracle tomorrow then!

Verbena37 Thu 12-Oct-17 09:26:37

They just rang me....and the children’s ward will do it with entenox.
Phew!

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