Thursday, November 5, 2009

"Don't be shutting the Door"

I'm going to start this post with a definition. Mainly because, until this Summer when Stephanie told me she was going to take some classes so she could be one, I had no idea what a phlebotomist was. But also because I like to call things what they are... If it's a duck, call it a duck...

A phlebotomist: an individual trained to draw blood, either for laboratory tests or for blood donations. They are also responsible for performing Phlebotomies.

I'm no phlebotomist, but as a girl who's had children, I've had some experience with having blood drawn and this just doesn't seem up to par. (Excuse my pasty white arms)..
As mentioned above, I do know a phlebotomist and I think I need to consult her for her professional opinion on my latest run-in with one....


Last week I needed to have some lab work done. (No, I'm NOT pregnant)... I'd talked to my dr. about having my thyroid checked. I feel drained and tired a lot, I'm always hot, and I weigh more than I want to.


I'm a Google-er (which many times has led to self diagnoses) and this time was no different. I'd determined my lack of energy, my body's inability to control my inner thermostat, and my weight were due to a thyroid imbalance.


After discussing my symptoms and self diagnosis, my dr. thought it would be a good idea to have the thyroid checked. Of course she might have thought it would just shut me up for a while, too, though... Either way, I was relieved and saw this as my chance to get medical proof that I indeed did have a condition and DW could stop saying I spend way too much time self-diagnosing on the Internet. The bad part about the whole deal was the lab work that would be needed...I am a straight-up SISSY when it comes to needles and blood...I used to pass out and the first time I had my blood drawn when I was pregnant with Cooper, they made me lay on a bed to have it done. Dramatic, I know. I'll claim it. I have gotten slightly better over the years, though, and I can now have it done sitting in the chair like a big girl.

My Dad got back from Africa last Sunday, so he was off from work all week and I'd asked him to take me so that he could hold AB while I was having it done.


The girl at the desk called me back and told me I'd be in Room 1. I walked in, shut the door behind me and settled into the big plastic chair with a magazine, expecting to be there a few minutes. I was flipping through the pages when this big tall girl flings open the door and gruffly says, "Are you OKAY?" I was a little confused and sweetly said, "Yeah..." (with a smile, because I want to keep all those girls with the needles on my good side and I could tell she was aggravated)... She rolled her eyes and said, "Well, we keep doors OPEN around here, don't be shutting the door..." I apologized and she walked off.

She was ticked... I was confused... I shut the door out of habit---you always shut the door at the doctor's office...???? I don't know if I looked like the kind of person who'd try to swipe needles or what, but rest assured, I am not (but if I was) the stealing kind of person, the only thing in that place that would have any value or appeal to me would be the little individually wrapped anti-bacterial wipes. I love to have those in my car and diaper bag. (LOVE that they give them out at Chick-fil-A, too!)

I was hoping that the same girl wasn't going to be drawing my blood. I had a feeling that my hopes for saving my veins were in vain. (Ha!) After waiting about 5 more minutes, she came back in the room, grabs my arm and puts the band on it as tight as she possibly can. I tried to do start some small talk. I told her how much I dreaded having my blood drawn and that I always have... yada yada yada...This is my standard conversation for procedures such as these and typically the NICE phlebotomists laugh and say "it won't hurt a bit"....She had no time for sissies though or conversation. Without so much as a warning, she pokes me and I swear it felt like it went in one side of my arm and out the other. Then she puts the cotton ball on the entry site and wraps the longest piece of "stickier-than-duck-tape" tape on my arm so tight that my skin was overlapping. Then she took off her gloves and started putting away everything, still silent. I asked if we were done, to which I got a "yep"...

With that, I walked out to the waiting room to get my Dad & Annabelle and get the heck out of there. On the way to the truck and as we were running errands I kept telling my Dad that my arm was still burning and hurting... later when I got home, I took the tape off and I've been sporting this bruise for a WEEK now.
I took this picture today and I know it doesn't look that bad, but it's starting to fade.... it really was worse... either way, I've never gotten a bruise before when I've had blood drawn and it's never hurt as bad as this did either. So a lesson was definitely learned... I'll never shut the door when I go in to have lab work done again. I'm just doing my public service for the week and passing the tip on... So, if ya'll go in to have blood drawn, "don't be shutting the door!"...it will just make your phlebotomist ill with you and she'll take it out on your veins.

Oh, and just in case you're concerned about my thyroid... don't be.
I got the results back...turns out my thyroid is normal. I know, I was shocked, too. ALL the signs and symptoms pointed to thyroid disorder.... Looks like I'm hot all the time because, well, it's hot most of the time in Florida--and I'm tired because my 10 (nearly 11) month old keeps me chasing her all day, and if I'd stop eating so many cookies I wouldn't weigh as much. Go figure...

~amw~

16 comments:

Julianne Hendrickson said...

OUCH! I hate it when that happens...those needle offices are so scary!

Stephanie and Adam said...

AHHH- I just realized, I haven't ever had them shut the door on me either! Wonder why????? The day I had Ava they tried to start an IV in me- girl, they had 3 nurses trying and had to keep switching my arms, I guess I was so swollen they were having a hard time finding a vein. I had bruises for at least 2 weeks!

Ps. I emailed you something and I'm not even sure if you still use that email address- so if you didn't get something from me- let me know.

Charon Benton said...

GIRL!! You need a new lab! WHO did that to you??? That is awful!!! I have the best phleb. in the world and the even better part? I can make my appointment online!! Yahoo! Come to think of it though....I've never shut the door on a blood-draw...you know I get mine done every 3 months to check my cholesterol....I'm a big girl now too and actually help them hold the dang supplies.....LOL!

Aleta Kaylee said...

That's horrible. What a witch. I think you need to go somewhere else, honey. (BTW, I will mention here that google-ing and self-diagnosing aren't the best things to be doing. This coming from the girl that self-diagnosed herself with esophageal cancer last year...only to find out later that it was an "inflamed tastebud." haha...and don't watch House either. hehehe) Hope that your bruise goes away soon. Love ya.

Stephanie Heintz said...

I am seriously in disbelief. There is NO excuse for a bruise like that, NOR an attitude that woman (if you want to call her that) gave you!! Uh... see, its people like her that give phlebotomists a bad name and make people go home and talk about them!!

I'm utterly disappointed. Thats a bad bruise. For real.

On the other hand, so glad you don't have a bad thyroid!!

Janet Wilson said...

Okay, that's just WEIRD that they don't shut doors!

As far as your thyroid, though.. .I recommend that you read through the information on this site: stopthethyroidmadness.com
Chances are, you could very well be experiencing symptoms of hypothyroidism. But, if your doctor tested your TSH levels, then he's testing the wrong thing. Sadly MOST doctors do this. Only a select few enlightened ones do the proper testing for thyroid as well as the proper treatment.

So... Please - if you want to feel better, then read through that site and find another doctor. Obviously, this one hires insensitive and inexperienced phlebotomists, anyway. ;)

I've been a thyroid patient for 1/2 my life and was mismanaged by doctors for 20 years before finding out the truth. I wish you the best! Good luck!

Lemonade Makin' Mama said...

I bruise REALLY Easy because I have veins that slide away... there is some technical term but I end up with arms that look like that no matter what! I feel your pain. Hope the tests are helpful!

Shannon said...

Ouch!! I had a VERY similar experience one time. I had a bruise for a week like you. I complained to a nurse one day and she said she had several complaints about this person and I have not seen him since. I really don't think it is normal to get bruises from having blood drawn. :)

Whitney said...

Hope you figure out what's causing your symptoms! I have an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) and have taken medicine for it for about 10 years now! My main symptoms were I was very tired and cold all the time. I've never ever had even a small bruise! That's ridiculous!

Jana said...

I always look like I've had the tar beat out of me after I have blood work. But her attitude was unacceptable!

Katy said...

Oddly enough, I am having those same symptoms and went to my doc to have the same test run. My needle experience went smooth though. I don't know the results yet, but I am hoping for answers. As traumatic as this experience was for you, you made it funny for us. The public service announcement was hilar!

Heather Bug said...

Ok, I am laughing because I just KNEW I had a thyroid problem, too, so I went and had my blood drawn...nope, no thyroid problem....it's perfectly normal. :) I actually drew blood for awhile at my dad's office. The only time I ever saw anyone bruise is when someone's vein would blow....happens from the vein rolling or collapsing. That is horrible that she was so mean to you. I would have closed the door, too. I mean, who doesn't close the door when they're in a doctor's office. I'm so sorry that happened to you. Did she use a butterfly needle? They are really small and hurt a lot less. I'm thinking, since she was so mean, she probably didn't. :( Hope it gets better soon!

Aunt B said...

Laughing my butt off....I am the same way... However I do remember a time when we slept in a ditch with lots of needles on the dash of the truck....ah the memories.

Heather said...

Girl, bless your heart! I hate needles too. I also hate it when nurses can't do it right! UGH!

Katie said...

OUCH!! I don't mind needles at all...but I DO mind people like that! Sorry she was so nasty! I am glad and thankful you don't have thyroid issues! :o)

Becky said...

#1 They don't need to give anyone a phle license that doesn't have "bed manners". #2 They should tell you to begin with, or have DO NOT CLOSE DOOR posted as you go in the room. (If they aren't going to use them, don't put a door up....that'd solve the problem real quick.)I may have taken her picture with my cell phone, taken her name, then told her she would be the next subject to my blog.