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Silent Conversations with a Nurse

June 10, 2014

I had a real person/generic doctor appointment the other day. The secretary (receptionist? I never know which is the right word, but I worked as one  from 16-20something and didn’t care, so, I don’t care what’s appropriate – woah derailed) handed me a medical history (& family) form and other papers. I filled it out, gave it back to the secretary, and the nurse called me back almost immediately. She did the generic “how are you? let’s weigh you? Do you have any questions? thing, and then looked at my computer file and said “your medical history is not in our system, let’s go over it” NO LET’S NOT BECAUSE I JUST FILLED IT OUT THANK YOU VERY MUCH. STOP WASTING MY TIME. (If only I had known about the wasting time later!) We went over it. On the paper it asked for medical conditions that people had, and if they had passed away. So when we got to maternal grandfather she said “oh, he passed away from heart disease.” I responded that no, he did not. He had heart problems (for years and years and years and years and I’m just grateful that he was able to live so long with them), but that he passed away from complications of a ruptured intestine.” STOP LOOKING AT ME LIKE I’M CRAZY, LADY! SOMEONE COULD HAVE HEART DISEASE AND DIE IN A CAR ACCIDENT, DOESN’T MEAN IT’S NOT SOMETHING I CAN IGNORE AS FAR AS FAMILY HISTORY GOES. (Have you noticed she’s definitely not my favorite?) “You didn’t fill out any information about your siblings.” I explained that I don’t have any siblings and her look would’ve indicated that she was watching a head or 3 grow on me. She left and the doctor came in (who is new to me), and she was great (although she needs a little work/understanding on the “you only get one chance to make a first impression.”) The doctor and I talked and talked and she remarked how healthy I am, especially with type 1 diabetes (I wrote on my medical history “type 1” next to diabetes). I was all smiles with that little tidbit (not that this is new information to me, nor am I trying to brag).The nurse came back in for a few minutes and Dex started blowing up that I was low, which I had already figured out and treated.  I finished with the doctor and went to get blood taken by the nurse. Keep in mind that this is my same, not favorite, nurse, not a phlebotomist. Like I ALWAYS do, I said, “they always have a tough time getting blood.” It was true when I was three, and it’s true now. She poked and prodded and explained to me what EXACTLY was going to happen. I responded that because  of diabetes, I’ve been getting this done every 3 months since I was three, and that I exaggerate my breathing because I used to hold my breath when I was little. She found a good vein and stuck that needle in and told me it was okay to look (NO! NO IT IS NOT! I THINK I KNOW WHAT I CAN HANDLE WAY BETTER THAN YOU LADY!) “Why don’t you take a deep breath?” I AM BREATHING SO F***ING STRATEGICALLY & HARD THAT I CANNOT TELL YOU THAT I ALREADY AM! AND HOW ARE YOU NOT NOTICING THIS?! She starts wiggling that needle so that she can get blood and says “tell me if this hurts.” CLEARLY IT HURTS OTHERWISE I WOULD NOT BE BREATHING LIKE THIS! She gives up and pulls the needle out and starts looking for another place to stab and find blood. She tells me that I am the reason no blood is coming out because I am too tense (I am never not this tense, so, lies!) At this point, I’d give anything to be at Joslin in their lab. She looks at the top of my hand and I tell her that my hand has always worked really well. This was figured out when I was in the hospital when I was 18 and there weren’t enough places for IVs and insulin drips and blood draws and you get the idea. She starts to get my hand ready and wants me to talk to her so that I’ll be less tense (me & my shy introverted self don’t do well talking to people I don’t know & don’t like). She decides that talking to me about my early onset (OHMYGAWDITISEVERYWHEREANDICANNOTHIDEIT) gray hair. This will totally calm me down. (Please tell me you catch the sarcasm.) She shoves that needle in my hand and says “tell me if it hurts” and I’m thinking that it always hurts but then she starts shaking it to find blood, blaming it on me (and my tears at this point – remember that low BG?) that she can’t get any. I thought it couldn’t get worse and she pushed even harder and told her to take it out. She calls for another nurse who stabs me in my other arm and she’s blaming me for no blood too. At this point I am just waiting for this third needle to come out because I can’t wait to walk out, screw your damn test. (My mind is back in NH when I was stabbed 5 different times to find blood and I vowed to never do it again.) She wiggles it and makes it dance and god knows what else, before she takes it out and says “let me look at the arm (first nurse) did.” I say “no, I am done.” She was flabbergasted. YOU WERE WARNED THAT MY BODY DOESN’T LIKE TO GIVE UP BLOOD, BUT I HAVEN’T HAD THIS PROBLEM SINCE I WAS A CHILD AND YOU’RE GOING TO TRY AND GUILT ME INTO MAKING IT MY FAULT. I DON’T THINK SO. “Let me see if that’s okay.” I repeated that I was done and that I would not be letting anyone else try. They got me a form so that I can come back at some point. As she handed me the paper she said, “we’d like you to go right over to the hospital and get this done.” I said okay, but in my head I was laughing and laughing and laughing and dreaming of the Dunks down the road.



7 Comments leave one →
  1. June 10, 2014 9:59 PM

    OH MY!

    I can’t even!

    I give you major props though for saying no and that you were done.

  2. Katy permalink
    June 11, 2014 6:19 AM


    I love that you left. Good for you.

  3. June 11, 2014 10:06 AM

    They never seem to have a problem with getting blood from me, and I don’t mind the needle; but I can’t watch it go in either. I can’t imagine having to endure all of those pokes. I can’t believe you waited so long to walk out. Hope your next experience is better, though I’m sure you really don’t want to think about it right now.

  4. June 11, 2014 10:53 AM

    I’m glad you left. I would have, too. I was cheering you on in my head as I read!

  5. June 11, 2014 2:27 PM

    I have similar blood-letting issues, but thankfully have had some very nice phlebotomists, and never Nurse Needle-hack like you had. My last 2 blood draws have ended in multiple stabbings (of my upper arm, inner elbow, and hand – ouch), and only 1 near faint from pain. Sigh. I’m with you, girl.

  6. June 13, 2014 12:22 PM

    Good job in standing up for yourself – and so emphatically! I’m wondering what’s on that lab slip — I suspect it’s probably the typical “comprehensive metabolic” test, and that you probably already have recent results of that from your endo. Most doctors never bother to check…

  7. June 14, 2014 8:17 AM

    I’m so glad you walked out. Yay, you!

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