Friday, February 08, 2008

Why Your Phlebotomist Hates You

Huh. Beware: full-blown rant ahead.

I just read a blog with a post about blood draws, and how awful they are. Okay, I've had enough. All you people who think that a) blood draws are excrutiatingly painful, b) your phlebotomist has it in for you personally, or c) 5 or even 10 tubes of blood is an exceptional amount, more painful, or likely to drain you dry...stop being such weenie-headed titty-babies.

Blood draws, especially for us reasonably healthy adults in decent shape, is a quick and mostly painless project if you shut up, stop wiggling, look away, and don't pretend you know more than we do. Phlebots draw blood from hundreds of people a day. just because you only have it drawn once a month doesn't make you special.

They know how to find a vein and insert a needle. They know how many tubes to draw (as long as some nurse doesn't call down to the lab 5 minutes later to add more tests), and they're not the slightest bit amused by your drama. Sit up, stick out your arm and shut up. If you're a fainter, tell them. It's a lot easier to get blood from an unconscious person who's laying on a bed than it is from a person who just slid out of her chair onto the floor. Plus, the laying-down people are less likely to puke.

And unless you're a child, or or over 80, or a cancer patient, a burn victim, or missing an arm...please, please don't demand your blood be drawn with a butterfly needle. They're expensive, they're more likely to clot (and cause the phlebe to stick you again), and they're a pain in the ass. A vacutainer draw is quick, easy, less likely to clot or hemolyze the blood, and less likely to cause your phlebe to think unkind thoughts about you.

By the way...the rule of thumb is that the sicker a patient is, the less likely they are to be babies. Cancer patients? Cheerful and brave. Twenty year old men getting their pre-employment screening so they can be longshoremen, lumberjacks or fork lift operators? Blubbering whiny assholes who beg for anesthetic, pass out on the floor, and wet themselves.

Remember...the more you whine and cry, the more we make fun of you after you leave.


SP said...

I was going to blog about this today... ok, only a little bit about this. And for the record, I am not a weenie. ;)

Ev said...

Sometimes when they're really big babies I say, "I think I see a good vein in your forehead. I'm going to have to tie this tourniquet around your neck for a minute...

And we all laught. But I'm not kidding.


I have had my blood drawn a few dozen times in the last year and only twice did I have a bad experience and the most recent I blogged about. I don't whine before they take my blood. I just repeat what they told me at the hospital, my veins are deep and they roll. I almost always end up with a butterfly once they search for my veins. My favorite blood sucker I will admit is the ones that just use the needle and draw. Like I said, 99 percent of the time, it goes well, sometimes, you get someone that appears to be clueless or a sadist. Of course that would be in every profession wouldn't it?

Finta said...

As a nurse of course I had to do the occasional stick for lab draws myself. I was good at it, but not as good as phlebot who does this hundreds of times a week.

More often I had to start an IV on some flailing soul. IMHO, this was more difficult just because I couldn't aim for the great big AC vein.

However, this one thing I know for sure. If all the veins were hidden or rolly or tiny, no obvious choice, I closed my eyes and found my site by palpation. I knew if I couldn't feel it, I probably couldn't hit it.

I do have a friend with impossible veins, suckers are buried deep. The last time she had surgery, she asked them to call me into pre op after a legion of vampires had been unsuccessful in getting a line in.

I took her arm, closed my eyes, found the site and said "right here."

The asshole anesthesiologist rolled his eyes. He tried another spot. And another one.

I waited.

Finally he sucked it up and went where I said to.


Moral: Lie still, let the professional do her job, and if she misses twice, call me.


Cedar said...

Finta: Whenever I find someone that can stick me the first time I look for them and ask: Can you draw my blood? Most of the time they are happy to and pleased I am confident in them. Other times they say: Please, go away, this is a Wal-Marts and you are scaring my children.

I guess there is a right time and place for everything.

Sharon said...

Funny... the blood draw is always a lot easier for me than an injection or IV.

I have a vagel reaction every single time someone sticks me for an injection. It's never happened with a draw.

Now that I've written that down though...

Jazz said...

YAY!!! I've always found it incredibly stupid when people come in to work after having blood drawn acting as if they'd just met a vampire who drained them dry.