It’s been one of those weeks and, being black and blue and sore, I’m glad other people aren’t scheduled to stick sharp objects in my poor veins for a while.
I’ve written before about how much of a needle-phobe I was when I was younger. When you have RA, you pretty much have to get over that. But occasionally, like this week, sometimes enough is enough.
I am pre-diabetic so I take a daily injection to help control my glucose levels. It’s a short, tiny, tiny needle and I don’t even feel it, so it’s no big deal.
On Sundays, I take two injections. In addition to my daily glucose shot, it’s also methotrexate day. I hate this one because even though I use a pretty fine (25 or 30 gauge needle), I have problems actually getting the needle inserted (more about this later).
Monday was my infusion day. There was a new infusion nurse. My doctor has changed the company that does the infusions. My old infusion nurse was great. I have tough veins but she figured out what worked and usually got the IV started on the first try and I seldom bruised afterward. The new nurse, even though I told her what had worked in the past, didn’t do as well. She hit a vein the first try but then it blew out when she irrigated it. So we tried a couple more times. Finally, her supervisor tried a smaller gauge needle and found a vein and (after 45 minutes of poking me with sharp objects) finally got my 30-minute infusion started.
I turned black and blue and every vein that is worth its salt has been poked and bruised but I had to get labs done. I waited a couple of days hoping my veins would heal up and headed to the lab. I love the lab. They’re great and they know me and immediately start reaching for the small butterfly needles when I come in. But when I went in I told them I wanted them to look first and if they wanted me to wait a few more days to heal up, I would. After a couple of them looked and thumped and consulted, they decided I had one vein that would work. The tech hit the vein between two knuckles on my right hand on the first try and the tube filled quickly. (Happy dance!) Then it just … stopped. We still needed two more tubes.
At this point we’re committed because the order has been started in the computer, the labels have been printed and the first tube has been drawn. I won’t tell you how many times I got stuck trying for those last two tubes because it was WAY over how many times their lab policy says you can stick a patient. But I just wanted to get it done and not have to come back, so I told them to keep trying. Which they did. Time and time again. Finally, we found something that would work and they took only the bare minimum amount that they needed.
So, so far this week, I’ve been stuck 17 times. Sigh. #PinCushion indeed.
On a related subject, I don’t know why I have such problems with my MTX injection. I use a standard vial and syringe, but I have major issues getting the needle to go in. I’ve tried different gauge needles and everything I can think of. Today, in a discussion in a Facebook study group I’m in, someone mentioned that they use an autoinjector for their MTX injections and it works amazingly. Apparently you fill up your regular syringe, put the whole apparatus in the autoinjector and push the button. I’ve always preferred the autoinjectors for my biologics but I wasn’t aware that you could get them for use with regular syringes. Apparently a lot of people use them to give their pets injections. At any rate, I’ve ordered one. It should be here in time for my next MTX injection, so we’ll see. I’d be interested to know if anyone else has used these and what your experience has been.
So that’s my life at the moment. Colorful (at least black and blue) and full of holes. I hope you life is full of good things that make you smile. Thanks for checking in.