Today is NOT my best of days. Another nurse had to come out to the house today to try again to get the mid-line catheter in (apparently the one the 1st nurse put in is not a mid-line, but a smaller peripheral line which needs to be changed every few days. This, for some reason, is against the home health agency's policy).
So, the nurse (Robert) showed up at 6:30, after giving me explicit instructions over the phone last night to drink tons of water and put a heating pad on my left arm for an hr before he got there. I, the ever-dutiful student, did as I was told. (Robert also said he's been doing this 30 years, and basically implied that he would not only get the line in my "small" veins, but get it in 1-2-3.)
He took great care to prep me, get all of the materials he needed in gear, etc. etc. Then he told me that the mid-line is a bit larger than most needles I'm used to, so it would prick a little more than usual. I pointed him to the vein on the corner that is always used for blood draws, and he said he would try the larger one in the middle first (that should have been my first clue). First Owie- needle goes in. Next Owie, needle pokes around all over the place sticking veins, arteries, and muscle. After about 7 minutes (no, I shit you not), he takes the needle out (Third Owie). "I'll try the smaller vein on the corner." Ya think?
Needle goes in again. Owie again. Needle pokes around, more violently and determined this time. I see out of the corner of my eyes (since I refused to look down at my arm) that Robert has sweat beads trickling all down his forehead over his mask. Niiiiice. Needle keeps poking. Owie. Owie. Owie. Finally the poking stops. I hear the sound of a tiny container opening near my arm- Alright! That must be the saline, which means the needle is in! Then I feel it trickle down my elbow. Oops, he must have spilled. Needle comes out. Huh? "That didn't go in?" "Nope, I thought I had it for a second." "I felt a trickle, what was that blood?" (Haha, as if it was blood!) "Yup."
And then I look down to see the massacre that has taken place on my poor left arm. Blood was EVERYWHERE! Damn! And just as I'm ready to sit up and go run for an ice pack, I see Robert opening another needle...
"I'm gonna get this sucker," he says, or something along those lines.
Are you freaking kidding me????? Oh but I assure you, he was not freaking kidding me.
Alcohol swab all over my bloodied, punctured arm. OWIE. Beta-iodine all over my punctured arm. OWIE. And in goes the needle for one more attack, this time in my already severely butchered and bruised arm. OWIEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! At this point my face is in such obvious, tortuous pain, that DH started saying, "Hon, just say something if you want to stop, you don't have to do this." "Um," (I stagger), "ye-e-eah, if th-ii-is could be our lll-ast attempt, mayb-b-e?" "Yup," says Robert, still hell-bent on proving that he is the World's Very Best Mid-Line Catheter Inserter. Or maybe he's just a sadist. My vote is for the latter.
At this point, my veins have completely collapsed and hidden from this guy's wrath (can you blame them??)- they were probably somewhere in my legs or something. So 5 minutes later, out comes needle, and out spews blood all over the place.
And here I sit with a huge, bloody gauze pad and ice pack wrapped around my mutilated appendage. OW. IE.
Like I said, not my best of days.