We thought, Doc Swanson (a.k.a. Wonder Doc) and I, that Flight 102 had made it through the turbulence and that there would be smooth sailing ahead for awhile.
After an aborted flight or two, Doc amended my chemo orders to chemo one week/no chemo the next week. After chemo, my immune system would do a nosedive precluding chemo the next week; but by week three, my WBCs (white blood cells) and my little Neutrophils and my platelets were being cooperative and would rebound to within normal limits. Great!
So, it was with a happy heart, a large McDonald’s iced coffee, and Ray Bradbury’s “Zen in the Art of Writing” (I highly recommend this book, by the way) that I checked in at Ye Olde Infusion Suite shortly before 1 PM after my usual visit with Wonder Doc.
N.A. Ann (she of “I have a needle with your name on it” fame) greeted me effusively and allowed me my choice of seats. N.A. Cathy was on duty, too, but neither Carrie nor Carei was there to witness what would be a first.
Shortly, Ann approached with a broad smile and her cart of nurse tricks, including alcohol swabs, tourniquets (for tying off your arm so tightly that you just know it soon will fall off), and, of course, NEEDLES. With her usual generosity, she allowed me a choice of arms. Since we had picked the right for yesterday’s blood draw, I suggested the left.
Ann tied off my arm as tightly as she could and began power-swabbing my left forearm with her frozen alcohol swab. (She’d do well in a bathroom commercial that requires any kind of scrubbing demonstration!) After several minutes of swabbing, she found what she thought might be a suitable vein in mid-forearm. “One, two, three, little poke,” she intoned as she pierced my skin and attempted entry. Usually at this point, there will be a flow of blood that lets the jabber know she’s into the vein. Not today! Zip, zilch, nada! Worse yet, when she withdrew the needle, it was bent. I’m not making this up.
On to the right arm. Same prep. Same process. Same results. Zip, zilch, nada — no blood/bent needle. Alrighty then!
During all this time, we were bantering as though we were just us girls on some fun lark, much to the chagrin of a couple of my fellow travelers, who undoubtedly thought we were both nutz. Did I tell you Ann’s not from Texas? I misspoke last time. My bad. She’s really from Louisiana! Which explains quite a lot. A background in voodoo surely comes in handy in her profession. For some reason, in between jabs, I kept hearing the song “Witchy Woman” ringing in my ears.
Having tried and FAILED, Miss Ann called for reinforcements. “Cathyyyyy! You’re up!” Seeing as how the right forearm hadn’t worked, Cathy went for the back of my right hand and actually thought she was “in” at one point. It was not to be. Left hand, same result. Geeze Louise! If you’re counting, and believe me I was, that makes four attempts. It was here that I suggested, trying to be helpful, that I leave and come back tomorrow. My suggestion fell on deaf Nurse Ears.
The problem was, I was dehydrated! I, who usually guzzle tons of water, hadn’t been guzzling water. I’d been on an iced-tea trip for the past few days and figured several giant glasses of iced tea plus some juice was plenty of hydration for one day. NOT! How was I to know that just because iced tea is made from water, it’s not the same as drinking water and drinking caffeinated tea when you run out of your usual decaf just adds to dehydration!
But, fear not. N.A. Cathy had one more trick up her sleeve, seconded by N.A. Ann: wrap my arm in a warm blanket and let it stay snuggled up there for about twenty minutes. Lo and behold and Hallelujah, Praise Be — it worked! The fifth needle found its mark on the first try 🙂
As one who has prided herself on her good, cooperative veins, this was a lesson learned! I’m typing this from the comfort of my bathroom, as I’ve managed to down five gallons of water since my return home late this afternoon. I hereby PROMISE to drink lotsa water. Every day. Without fail. And if you and I should meet somewhere and I don’t have a glass of water in my hand, please put one there!
One last thing: In all fairness to the lovelies Ann and Cathy, it wasn’t as excruciating as it may sound. They’re both quite adept at what they do and were almost as frustrated as I was! I threatened them both with removal of their title of “One Stick Wonder,” but I’m not gonna do it.
Well, not this time, anyway 😉