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Blood test for DS - argh!

(14 Posts)
WellThisIsShit Sat 07-Oct-17 13:46:10

How can I make it possible for DS to go through with a blood test?

He's absolutely terrified of (in no particular order): pain, blood, hospitals, needles.

But he needs these blood tests, which have been ordered to be done at a hospital with a good children's department, but will be done in a general bloods clinic.

I'm dreading it and I need to know if there's anything I can do to help him. Before it gets to holding him down whilst he has a panic attack. I can't actually bear to do it again, & I'm not sure I can do it either as he's 7yrs now.

Sadly, he's got good reason for these fears, they started after a terrible experience he had a few years ago in hospital. It was horrific and very badly handled, and I wish I'd felt strong enough to intervene then, but I didn't & I have to live with that (and not show any of my feeling to DS!). Anyway, he has got better about his fears, & I'm so proud of him, and really worried this experience could set him back a lot.

He had a small op last year at the hospital he's having the tests at now, and they were amazing. They did so much to heal the wounds from that awful experience, and made me realise just how terrible it was, as they helped DS (& me tbh) through the whole thing step by step and did everything they could to do things differently and respond to how DS felt. They were ruddy amazing! He ended up having a great time, except for the cannula he woke up with, and freaked out about. So not exactly got the whole needles/blood thing sorted, even then.

And these tests are being done before we see a doc/ nurse, so I'm not sure how I can prewarn / get help at the hospital for the blood tests?

How can I make it ok?

He was interested when I explained about 'hedgehog cream' (local anaesthetic cream they put on children's hands before they put a cannula in?)... he would like to use that but is that possible?

Any ideas welcome!

Gileswithachainsaw Sat 07-Oct-17 13:48:41

Phone your gp and ask for a prescription for emla (sp) cream it needs to be applied an hour or two befire the test but it really works dd didn't even feel her blood test

PlugUgly1980 Sat 07-Oct-17 13:57:58

Is there a reason they can’t be done in children’s outpatients, rather than a general clinic? My 3 year old has them done by the children’s nurse and they’re amazing. Play worker in the room, toys and gadgets to distract, etc. They used the numbing spray, which we say is like from Frozen. It’s not nice but they make it as painless as possible.

WellThisIsShit Sat 07-Oct-17 14:44:05

Thanks that's helpful. I don't know why they've been set up like this.

Probably because the gp's did the only thing they do / do normally? I've had that before where there is a gap between gp referral procedure and the specifics of the hospital procedures / departments.

Do you think they'll have a paediatric bloods type of facility?

If so any idea what it's called? And should I go back to the gp and ask for another referral or the hospital to ask if they can transfer DS to a slightly different department?

I'm worried because unless it's set up beforehand, I'm doubtful they'd have the ability to do things differently on the day?

It needs to go well (or as well as these things ever can!), he's going to have to have alot of medical stuff done over the next few years and it's going to completely traumatise him if each little procedure is such a terrible ordeal. sad

Argh I feel like I'm stumbling around blindfolded, which is ok when it's me, but not DS. Hospitals & healthcare in general is so difficult to navigate!

WellThisIsShit Sat 07-Oct-17 15:01:43

We had play specialists before when they were trying to do some procedures without a general anaesthetic... sadly it failed miserably!

They were so good, gave him really good coping strategies and plans for getting through it, which made him feel more confident and able to cope... right until the consultant went near him with an implement, and DS just lost it.

He turns into a panicked little animal under attack, and none of the sensible, rationale eager to please boy remains, it's like flicking a switch.

Nothing calms or comforts him, he's so scared. Not even me, which is sad as before I used to be a huge source of comfort for him, before the awful hosp experience when I did hold him down, & told him it would be ok and made promises that i was stopped from fulfilling. Yes, I know I'm not over it either. But I pretend I am very hard when DS is around. I lost his trust that day, and although it got rebuilt for every other situation, that it's still there for anything medical.

He used to react like this about every scratch and fall, and I'd have to just hold him as he freaked out and got lost in his own fear and hysterics. Every. single. time. And just this summer he's started to be more resilient and cope with some of the everyday little knocks and scrapes.

Soooo, it's kind of difficult, even though half my brain is thinking 'ffs, it's just a blood test!' The other half is thinking, no, it's not for DS though is it?!

God I hate this. He needs the tests, and it's the start of many. But he needs to feel safe (and not betrayed by me) and like he walks out super proud of himself and able to forget about it.

girlingerrupting Sat 07-Oct-17 15:05:36

Do don't need a prescription for emla cream you can just buy it over the counter in a chemist. Just smear it over the area to be pierced an hour or so before and leave it. Cling film over a thick layer if necessary.

tkband3 Sat 07-Oct-17 15:06:27

You can just buy emla cream over the counter - you don't have to have a prescription for it.

At our local hospital, you have to make a specific appointment for a child's blood test, so they can make sure that one of their specialist paediatric phlebotomists are available to do the test.

Are you on your own with DS? I only ask because my DDs are often calmer about this kind of thing with DH than with me. He is able to be more detached than I am, I think (not saying he cares any less though). Would it be an option for DS' dad to take him for the blood test instead?

tkband3 Sat 07-Oct-17 15:08:03

Oh and when you get the emla cream, I would suggest getting two tubes. They will come with the necessary plasters in the box (or at least they should do - if they don't ask the pharmacist for the appropriate ones). Then you can apply the cream to the backs of both his hands and the veins in the crook of his elbows as well. Taking blood from the back of the hand is far more painful and traumatic than from the arm (I think).

WellThisIsShit Sat 07-Oct-17 15:56:47

Thanks smile

Yes on my own, I'd love it if he'd be better with someone else!

Moana123 Sat 07-Oct-17 16:01:08

My 6 year old dd had blood tests earlier this year at a specialist paediatric unit at the hospital, they were pretty standard tests, so I assume all children's bloody tests happen there. With the emla cream, all the books, toys and specialist nurse I don't think she even realised that they had done it. They were excellent... I would try and get booked into one. Hope all goes well

hungoverhippo Sat 07-Oct-17 16:44:44

I've heard a technique where the child is cuddling you with their arm across your back so they don't see, and the magic cream so they don't feel it. Could this be worth a try?

Gileswithachainsaw Sat 07-Oct-17 17:22:31

My apologies abiut the cream we were prescribed ours if I'd have known I'd have bought it rather than waste a prescription.

WellThisIsShit Sun 08-Oct-17 13:04:04

Don't apologise, it was still helpful, I didn't know you could get emla cream from anywhere smile

I'm going to phone the hospital on Monday to find out if they have a special paed blood testing service...

WellThisIsShit Sat 14-Oct-17 00:48:35

Thanks all, he's now booked at the paed clinic and will be arriving early to do Emla cream. They have a play specialist / therapist type person (forgot the name sorry!), and they've made a note that DS is going to need lots of support to get it done.

Fingers crossed for Tuesday afternoon (slight gibber from me)

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