Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Well, just a little bit. For the most part my medical appointments went okay today but I came out of it all just a bit bummed.

First order of the day was bloodwork. To prepare for the usual difficulties, I remembered to drink several glasses of water before my appointment. I told the nurse I'd done that and was feeling hopeful and right away she said she could see a great big vein and that it would be no problem. YEAH!! But she spoke too soon. That vein collapsed pretty much immediately and then, ironically, after she pulled the needle out, the damn thing wouldn't stop bleeding. She was surprised that the vein had collapsed and said that for my veins a butterfly needle needs to be used. I recognized the term and I said that's what is usually used on me. She said I should tell nurses to use a butterfly needle, which nobody has told me before. I really don't know much about these things - I thought a nurse would know what kind of needle to use in various circumstances. All these years of having blood taken and nobody has ever told me that I should be telling nurses what kind of needle to use. *sigh*

So, then she wanted to switch to taking blood from the back of my hand but I really don't like that and usually they're able to get blood from my arm even if it does take more than one poke. I've had this nurse a few times before and I've learned that her personal preference is to take from the hand - it's almost always her first suggestion. She used my hand the very first time I had blood taken at the Cancer Centre ... before I had a PIC-line. I remember that it really hurt having it taken from my hand. Two other times before today she's been my nurse and both times she has suggested using my hand but, with my encouragement, she's been able to get blood from my arm. So this time I told her that I didn't want to have it taken from my hand if at all possible and so she waited a minute before trying my arm again. And again. Both times she couldn't get a bleeder. So she switched to my hand, assuring me it wouldn't hurt because she "does it all the time and it never hurts". Obviously she didn't remember having taken blood from me before so I told her that she had been the first nurse to ever take blood from my hand (except for a little stint in the hospital after Luke was born) and that it had, in fact, hurt. She questioned my memory on that ... suggesting that perhaps it wasn't her, but I told her that I remember quite clearly and that it was her. It's not like we had an argument and I wasn't churlish or cranky, but I did let her know that I wasn't keen to have blood taken from my hand unless it was absolutely necessary and since it did appear to be necessary, I said "go for it" and I commented that maybe it wouldn't hurt this time just as sometimes it hurts when taken from my arm and sometimes it doesn't. It wasn't so bad but the hand does hurt more later during the day just because I'm always using my hand and the muscles and tendons are constantly moving around the needle hole so I'm pretty much always aware of that soreness. When blood is taken from my arm, even when it hurts at the time, it doesn't usually bother me much during the course of the day.

The reason I've gone into so much "needle detail" is that maybe some other people out there have teeny tiny veins like mine and based on the many different experiences I've had with needles, maybe it's useful to someone else. Ultimately, it's not a huge deal as long as they can get blood. Annoying and uncomfortable, yes, but not a big deal. I've asked why some people have tiny veins while others don't and all I've been told is that it's probably genetic and that I should drink lots of fluid before I get poked. Still, my experiences suggest that having tiny veins are definitely a disadvantage ... especially with what happened with my veins during surgery. Lots of trouble for the anesthetist and then, after surgery, something went wrong and the morphine that was supposed to be going into my blood stream to make me comfortable when I woke up wasn't and it was going into my tissues instead. I woke up in a great deal of pain. All because of my teeny veins. I wish I knew how to make them bigger.

So ... needle pokes done. Then I saw the oncologist who is such a nice man. He's so gentle and very warm. Very personable. There were the usual questions and there have been no real changes. I told him about my "phantom bruises" that have been coming and going over the past couple of weeks but he didn't have any thoughts on those. He didn't know if they might be signs of shingles or not. On my short list of things to ask him about is a little open sore ... just slightly bigger than a pencil eraser ... on the upper left side of my back. It first emerged in August of last year and I discovered it because it was a bit itchy and I felt a slight burn in that precise area. I had Kevin take a closer look at it and he said it didn't look like a pimple or anything he'd seen before. He put some ointment on it and I expect it would just heal. But it has never really healed. It just stays there looking like an open sore but usually only slightly pink. Most of the time I'm not aware of it at all but when I remember to look, it's still there. Every now and then I feel that burning sensation and when I look that little sore appears inflamed. The oncologist couldn't identify it but he told me that I need to see a dermatologist and get it biopsied. Great. I know that almost all skin thingies that are removed are biopsied as a matter of practice so I'm not expecting any trouble with this but it does bother me that I don't know what it is and it's not like anything I've had or seen before. I can't even speculate.

I immediately made an appointment with my family doctor to get the ball rolling and hopefully I can get into a dermatologist very soon, if that's the route he also recommends. I would like to see a dermatologist NOW, thank you very much, but since that's not going to happen, I doubt I'll be able to have it looked at before we leave for the States on March 4, which is too bad. It means I'll just have it hanging over my head while I'm on vacation. I just have to force it out of my mind and deal with it when we get back after March 14. We'll see what my doctor says at my appointment this Friday. Maybe ... just maybe ... he'll know what it is. Wouldn't that be nice!

So ... I'm bummed. It's not serious and I don't think it will turn out to be anything serious. Really. Honest. I don't. But, that said, it does mean more medical procedures ... doctors ... surgical stuff ... bandages ... medical crapola. And waiting for results. I'm not very happy about it, that's for sure. So I'll allow myself to be bummed and a bit down for a little bit and then I'll buck up and get on with it.
Posted by Picasa


No comments:

Post a Comment

Sorry for the word verification thing. Without the comment spammers are relentless!

Thanks for commenting!