The Luck of the (Blood) Draw

Last Saturday, Brad and I had our bi-annual blood draw and breakfast. An event where he inadvertently fasts with me, drives me to the lab to get blood drawn then takes me to out breakfast, because he’s a good husband.

Instead of going to the lab in our old neighborhood in order to visit our favorite breakfast spot near our old house, we decided to go to the one in Avon so we could run some errands after breakfast.

The lab was quiet and there were only a few of us going in to get stabbed tests that day, so they called me back along with another person and put us in cubes 2 and 3. There was some confusion when the phlebotomists came back because they thought it was cubes 1 and 2. But somehow I got lucky on that particular draw.

I put my arm out and she began looking for veins. Then she noticed my medical id that I almost didn’t put on that morning.

“What’s your bracelet for?” Continue reading

“Giving” Blood

In the past 7 days, I’ve heard two people say, “I’m giving blood this week.” I automatically interpreted it as an altruistic gesture, treating “give” and “donate” as synonyms, and replied, “That’s nice.”

Only to be told that it’s routine medical stuff, not actually a donation.

When I go in to have routine medical blood testing done, I refer to it as a blood draw or having my blood drawn. I guess everyone interprets things differently.

This week, I actually gave my blood away. Unfortunately, I’m not allowed to donate blood in a traditional sense because I don’t weigh enough (yes, people with diabetes can give blood). The blood draw (as I have been calling it) won’t result in lab information for me or my medical team. It got packed with ice and shipped to scientists. Continue reading

It Hurts

Having type 1 diabetes is a physically painful condition for me. Generally speaking it causes me pain, thankfully it doesn’t cause constant pain and the pain that it does cause helps keep me alive.

New pod sites hurt, and sometimes they hurt for the whole three days, but if my blood sugar is fine I’m not going to waste a pod or the insulin in it. Sometimes I end up with nasty bruises due to my insulin infusion methods.

For my last set of labs, I went in for the blood draw expecting it to hurt. I followed all of my recommendations in this blog post and I actually ended up asking the man drawing my blood if the needle was even in my arm! Continue reading

Blood Draws for Total Babies (like me!)

I’m a total baby when it comes to having blood drawn. It goes back to long before diabetes, but my panic over having lab work was exacerbated when I was dehydrated and having hourly draws nearly two years ago.

On Friday, I needed to go in to get regular testing done, including losing giving 3 vials of blood and peeing in a cup (having diabetes is all fun and games, didn’t you know?). Because of Good Friday, I ended up with the afternoon off so I headed out to the lab. When I got there, I thought I’d have to wait for a long time because there were several people in the waiting area. I didn’t even wait 5 minutes, come to find out all of the waiting room people were waiting on people who were already being seen. I was the only one there on my own which was strange.

Anyway, Friday’s draw was by far the best experience I’ve had since I put into practice the things I’d learned from past bad experiences… and I thought I’d share my tips for anyone who might be a bit of a wimp when it comes to blood work… like me.

  1. If you are not required to fast for your blood work, don’t. Being low on energy then having blood drawn is a recipe for bad news. If your blood work is fasting, eat a snack before bedtime and go early in the morning. Take a snack along for directly after.
  2. Be well-hydrated. The more water I’ve had before a draw, the easier it’s gone. Dehydrated Rachel veins like to collapse and I end up getting poked more times than necessary. I gulped down 3 big glasses of water right before leaving on Friday and only had to be poked once. As a bonus, if you have to have a urine test as well, you’ll be prepared.
  3. Don’t think about it. When you know you have to go, think about something else beforehand. I have a horrible habit of psyching myself out beforehand. Listening to music on the way in and reading my Twitter feed in the waiting room helped a lot. Continue reading