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So apparently I'm an intravenous drug user...

(36 Posts)
wawabear Thu 15-Jan-15 20:44:19

This because in the course of my GTT 5 medical professionals tried 10 times to get blood out of me. Then this snotty midwife said "usually when we have this problem it is because the lady in question is an intravenous drug user?".

I was furious, I don't even smoke ffs. To be compared to a drug addict (and no offence to drug addicts, I'm just now one) was really offensive.

After fasting from the night before, come 1:30 when they had finally stopped trying, I felt really faint and quite emotional and said I didn't want to come back for the next appointment (more bloods), at which point the doctor accused me of not doing what is best for my baby! What!

One of the nurses had to wait for her nails to dry before she started one of the attempts to get blood.

Now I am terrified of giving birth in case they can't get medication into me or blood out of me.

I've always had small/iffy veins but it's never been as bad as today and they've never just given up before.

wawabear Thu 15-Jan-15 20:46:44

Sorry that should read 'I'm just not one!" Bloody autocorrect!

Ironically after being accused of being a drug user, I now look like one as I have needle marks up both arms from all their failed attempts, and a beautiful bruise where one of my veins collapsed!

I couldn't be a drug user even if I wanted to be, I'd never get a vein!

TarkaTheOtter Thu 15-Jan-15 20:46:57

How much water had you had? Being well hydrated always makes a massive difference as to how easy it is to get blood from me.

Andante57 Thu 15-Jan-15 20:48:49

You have my sympathy as I've had exactly the same problems. I was in hospital a couple of years ago and by the end I had a phobia about it as the nurses (who were kind and were doing their best) poked around.
I'm supposed to go to the surgery to have a blood test for something and I just can't face it.
Maybe in the hospital they could give you a dab of local anaesthetic where they were trying to take blood from, or a sedative.

wawabear Thu 15-Jan-15 20:49:02

I had a pint of water for breakfast and then a litre in the time between tests. The first blood test went fine, the disasters occurred in the follow up.

annielewis Thu 15-Jan-15 20:49:37

God that sounds awful, I'm similar to you and have shite veins (also a non Iv drug user). I was going to say the same about hydration, if I haven't drunk enough there's no way anyone's getting my blood!

What do you mean' nurse had to wait for her nails to dry'???

wawabear Thu 15-Jan-15 20:50:56

I'm not scared of the needles, it's just they physically can't get a vein. I was fairly relaxed during all of the attempts. The digging around isn't ideal but I'm not too fussed about it, it was just frustrating that they couldn't do it and they just gave up because they ran out of time.

wawabear Thu 15-Jan-15 20:52:18

One of the nurses in the room was painting her nails when I went in. To be fair I think she was in her break and just tried because the others had struggled but we had to wait for her to be 'touch dry' before she put her gloves on!

Stuffofawesome Thu 15-Jan-15 20:52:20

Ask them to get a phlebotomist to do it instead of the nurse they are usually better at it.

hazelnutlatte Thu 15-Jan-15 20:57:36

Lots of people have difficult veins and most are not IV drug users! Just try and make sure you are well hydrated next time and mention that you have had problems before - Some people are better / more experienced than others at taking bloods so hopefully you will get someone who is an expert next time. Had the nurse really just painted her nails? I can't think of anything I would be less likely to do when running a clinic - we are not supposed to wear nail varnish at work anyway (a rule ignored by many) but I can't imagine any nurse actually painting her nails whilst at work!

fuctifino Thu 15-Jan-15 20:57:56

When I was having my 2nd, the midwives couldn't get a needle in.
I'm a blood donor, so really not bothered about being poked about.
Anyway, after 9 (apologetic) attempts between them, they got an anaethsetist to do it. Him, realising there was no way it was going to go in the back of the hand, put it in the crook of my arm. The alarm went off every time I bent my arm and blocked the flow.
So, don't worry, they will get a needle in somewhere if they need to.

Stillyummy Thu 15-Jan-15 21:00:49

I am the same, somtimes I lie down and hang my arm off the bed. I had a drip in my foot once so don't worry- if they need to they will find somewhere.

Stillyummy Thu 15-Jan-15 21:01:28

Also not a drug user- I am a controls freek and scared of needles, so nothing is less appealing!

wawabear Thu 15-Jan-15 21:06:23

One of the people who tried was a phlebotomist, but he didn't actually go in with a needle, he just took one look and said he wasn't confident. The people who tried ranged from a student midwife to a doctor along with a midwife and two nurses.

I was pretty shocked she was doing her nails, albeit I think she was on her break, but I wouldnt dream of doing my nails at my desk, whether on my break or not and I work in an office not a hospital!

SilverStars Thu 15-Jan-15 21:26:43

I am afraid My reply would have been " when medical staff are incompetent I find a trained phlebotomist is successful at first attempt, so please send me to that dept!"

parabelle Thu 15-Jan-15 21:33:20

Usually the phlebotomists are slightly better. I have the same problem but like you am not a drug user. How rude. I hope you have complained.

Teeste Thu 15-Jan-15 21:55:22

Pff, in my experience, when they can't find a suitable vein, they're a bit shit at taking blood!

I've been stabbed and bruised too many times by incompetent medical staff, I really sympathise. But some people manage it no problem. I can't imagine my veins change that much.

HappyIdiot Thu 15-Jan-15 21:56:01

I had this problem all through my pregnancy. I even fainted once because of the pain I ended up in when a doctor ended up hitting a nerve in the back of my hand. There was one phlebotomist who could manage it, so I always saw her.
OP I don't want to freak you out, but here's a word of warning... During my labour, they needed to put me on the drip to speed up my contractions. By this point I was about 30 hours in. Nobody could get the cannula in, including the anaethsatist and my veins were collapsing. It took an hour. Up till that point, I had managed fine but all the stress made me panic. It is no exaggeration to say it was the worst part of the whole labour. And I include the emcs I ended up having in that statement! Both my arms were black with bruising from my knuckles to my elbows.
I know this is a very extreme example, but my birth plan for next time will say that if there is even a slight chance they will need IV access, they are to put the cannula in as soon as possible after I arrive at hospital to try to avoid a repeat. It might be worth mentioning it on admission or in your notes.

monkey2014 Thu 15-Jan-15 22:53:39

I was going to say the same as happy idiot - for other reasons it was suggested i could maybe have a cannula in for labour which it now. Turns out I dont necessarily need, but I'm going to ask to have it because of the faff at the diabetes test. It was no where near as bad as you experienced though I am sorry about it!

MrsKranky Thu 15-Jan-15 23:04:48

We're you at the GP or hospital? If the nurse/GP can get any blood from me (I also have dodgy veins!) I tell them not to bother trying anymore and go to the heamotology department at the hospital. They tend to be able to manage in a couple of try's, as taking blood is all they do all day and there's a few of them, all trained. It is much better than the nurses usual generous offer to try the back of my hands once theyve messed up my arms. Thanks, but no thanks.

Bondy83 Fri 16-Jan-15 10:23:42

What was the reason you was having the GTT test in the first place? I was meant to have one at 28wk but decided not too have it. I was supposed to have it because my bmi was 30 at time of booking, I'd since lost 1.5st and bump wasn't too big and there'd never been any trace of glucose in my water so decided against it. If yours was only a precautionary test I wouldn't worry too much about having my midwife was fine about it and said if I do develop any diabetes symptoms I could get tested at a later stage no problem

wawabear Fri 16-Jan-15 14:30:43


I was at hospital - and the phlebotomist was one of the ones that tried but failed... in fact he didn't even go in with a needle, he just took one look and said he couldn't see a viable vein!

My BMI is over 30 but I have lost weight in pregnancy and my bump is if anything on the small side. I didn't even put on weight over Christmas despite pillaging several cheese boards!

They really laid it on when I asked if it was necessary and brought out the "are you really thinking about what is best for your baby, or you" card. As if I am thinking about anything else other than my baby at this point!

I asked if they could have an anesthetist on hand when I go into labour to administer any meds or put a cannular in - they said they couldn't guarantee this as they don't know when I will be going into labour - which I fully accept - but that makes me wonder if they should offer me a C section so they can make sure they have someone around that can stick a cannular in.

I'm scared to death of giving birth now in case something happens to the baby because of my rubbish veins sad

MisForMumNotMaid Fri 16-Jan-15 14:39:29

Please try not to worry about the birth. I have terrible problems giving blood for tests too, I've had lots of bruises resulting from attempts to get blood. However later in all my three children's pregnancies giving blood has become far far easier. I think its due to there being far more in your system as the pregnancy progresses.

It hasn't been a problem at any of the births. I have had three c-sections so needles involved each time and none of them has been a problem.

dancestomyowntune Fri 16-Jan-15 14:40:28

You have my sympathy. I have carp veins too, very deep and they move about, so even when they THINK they can see one, by the time they get a needle in its disappeared. That being said when you go into Labour they will find one if they need it.

I also have never been a drug user! How bloody rude!!!

WiseKneeHair Fri 16-Jan-15 14:47:52

Don't worry about giving birth, you probably won't need a cannula anyway and if you do, it's likely to be an anaesthetist who does it.
Just wanted to comment on the nail polish woman. I work in the NHS and all the hospitals I have worked in have had a no nail polish policy, so she shouldn't have had any on at all, never mind putting it on in the toom you were in. I am shock and would personally complain to PALS about that, but I am a grumpy old sod.

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