My fellow Phlebotomist phobics, do I have a story for you! Last week I had to have blood drawn at UCLA Medical. I have veins that can be extremely hard to find—a family trait—but haven’t had trouble lately. I was taken into a room by two young women in white coats. Then a man came in and introduced Holly and Nicole: students at UCLA who would be practicing on me.
“My veins can be difficult to find,” I warned.
“Not to worry,” James, the phlebotomist, told me. “I’m sure Holly will be able to find a vein. And I’m here to step in if needed.”
Oh great, I thought as they all gave me toothy grins.
Holly actually did find a vein, but the needle wasn’t in exactly the right spot so by the time Dr. James intervened, the vein had dried up. He was distressed (because he looked like an idiot, I think) and couldn’t find any more likely veins on my right arm so we turned to the left. I’d already pointed out that my left arm was even less giving than my right, but Dr. James poked anyway.
“Did you drink water today?” he asked sharply when the only blood available was from the pokes on my arm.
“Yes,” I said.
“Well, you didn’t drink enough. You’re dehydrated. You need to drink a lot of water if you’re going to have a blood draw.”
I almost apologized but caught myself. He was the professional, for goodness sake! I did give him a pleasant smile. He was beginning to sweat and I wanted him to be calm–I had a couple of more vials to be filled.
He started looking up and down my arm and then at my neck. I swear he began to grow fangs. I quickly pointed out an almost invisible vein in the crook of my arm. It was lucky that it worked. I was ready to bolt. No way was I giving him a field day with the rest of my body.
“Ah, I think . . .” I started to say when Dr. Phleboto breathed a sigh of relief.
“Got it,” he said. “Holly, hurry, get me another vial.”
I hazarded a look. My blood was flowing now. I wasn’t sure if Holly was going to move fast enough, but she did.
I left the examining room with two bandaged arms, shaking my head. This would never have happened to my husband, and not only because he has good veins. He’d never have put up with the trainees. I wonder if someday, I won’t.