Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Simple Tip for Easier Access to Veins that Just Don't Cooperate

In the years since I started this blog I've posted more than once about how difficult it is to find a good vein in my arms for drawing blood or running an IV. (Usually I'm complaining about nurses or lab techs who won't listen to me and end up sticking me several times, without success - grrrr.)

Recently, a really wonderful lab tech suggested that I run hot water over my hands for a minute or two before she attempted the draw and, Eureka!, it worked like a charm. For every draw since then I've used the hot water technique and it's made the experience SO much better.

Yesterday I had a CT scan with contrast and we ran into the same issue - my two good veins weren't an option for several reasons and the veins on the back of my hand were tiny and rolling. Then I remembered the hot water trick and BAM!, the vein worked. The only downside was that they didn't warn me how the contrast was going to burn in my vein going across my hand and over my wrist. I literally yelled, "Oh, shit!" Frankly, they were lucky I didn't drop the f-bomb (I have a terrible potty mouth). Lord, I hate it when I'm not told to expect something in advance. No matter how bad it's going to be, just tell me or I'm going to hate you and never trust you again.

I digress. This post is to recommend the hot water trick for people like me, who have crappy veins and suffer because of it. I hope this works as well for you as it has for me!

Photo by William Stadler


Jessica said...

Thank you so much for your blog!! It is helping me through my transplant journey. I received heart & liver transplants Sept28th and 29th. I would love to correspond throuh e-mail or Facebook. My e-mails I have been having problems with depression right now. I hope to hear from you!
XOXO, Jessica

Anonymous said...

How long do your veins burn??? I am going for a CT Scan with that crap this week. Kate

Jay said...

Dear Anonymous - The burning lasted for just a few minutes. I don't believe it would hurt everyone and that mine hurt because of the vein they had to use. I have to admit, though, that I'm not certain this is accurate. I hope your procedure goes smoothly and that there is little or no pain for you.