One nice thing about spending one day a week at the hospital is that I know all the staff and they know me. Every week I get my blood tests, and if you have ever given blood, or had simple blood tests done yourself, then you will know it takes five minutes at the most.
But yesterday I was given a male nurse that I didn’t recognise. I presumed he had been transferred from some other department, he was in his late 40’s and I didn’t suppose he would be a trainee nurse.
How wrong I was.
The nurse stuck the needle into my right arm – my good arm – and as soon as it went in I knew it had missed the vein. It was agony. I looked the other way and distracted myself by trying to imagine a brand new colour (hours of fun). He struggled to fill the first few bottles – it took five minutes each to fill them with my blood. However, by the time he came to fill the last two bottles he had ‘lost the vein’. He hummed and hawed as he tried to find it again, before deciding that he’d go for a different vein instead.
He pierced my skin again, and missed another vein.
Oh my God, this man is incompetent. I thought in horror as I tried to find something else to distract myself from the pain. I could feel the blood trickling down my arm to my wrist. That never happens!
He took my other arm. I could tell he was getting flustered by this point; his face was shiny with sweat and there was something – a vein, a muscle? – pulsating in his forehead.
I won’t bore you with the details, but if I were to say that my skin was pierced seven times (when normally it is once), and the blood was everywhere except in the bottles, five veins had been jabbed at and he had even been considering veins on my hands, I left that room with four plasters on my arms after 45 minutes. That’s 40 minutes longer than normal.
And me, being me, just sat there, praying he would go and ask another nurse to do it, but being too polite to tell him to back off and leave my poor arms alone.
I am in absolute agony. Agony, I tell you!
P.S. It looks worse in reality than in the photo.