"It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver."

"It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver."

~Mohandas K Gandhi

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Feeling better (Needle Phobes Should NOT Read)

I love my IVIG.  Seriously.  The morning after my infusion, I woke up, bounced out of bed, and was able to breathe.  I had a mild headache, and a spectacular bruise on my left arm from the IV, but I felt much better than I had in about two weeks.

My nurse, J, used to be an oncology nurse.  This means, in her words, "I can get an IV in anyone."  See, people who are on chemotherapy have to get a LOT of needle sticks.  This means their veins get very scarred.  Have you ever noticed how scar tissue is tougher than regular skin?  The veins do the exact same thing.  To avoid too much scarring in one spot, we rotate spots each month, and arms, where I get my IV.  This most recent (overdue) infusion, J chose a spot near the back of my wrist on my left arm.  (You know, the hairy side of the arm.)  For the first time in a long time, I actually yelled out, "OW!!!!" as she stuck the needle in...and watched the area swell up.  The discoloration came later.  The vein blew, in a quite spectacular way, releasing a lot of blood into my arm, enough to make the area swell up and, eventually, bruise almost black. 

J pulled the needle out and studied the arm.  "Wow, I haven't seen your veins do this in a LONG time," she commented.

"What?" I bit out.  I am not good with needles, at all, and whenever I get stuck for whatever reason, I sit with my head turned as far away from the arm as I can manage.  J frequently has to remind me to breathe while she's actually sticking me, too.  (I've never yet passed out, but there's a first time for everything, I suppose.) 

As she does sometimes, she said, "Look, check this out."

"No," I said.  Just looking at a needle stuck in, well, anything, makes me a little queasy.  Once it's in, everything is taped, and I'm hooked up to the pump that releases the IVIG into my veins, I'm fine.  Getting it in?   Not so much.  "Just tell me what it's doing."

"Well, you're what, nine, ten days overdue?"  At my nod, she said, "You're sick, totally run-down.  Your veins are, honestly, a mess as a result.  I haven't seen your veins be that hard to stick, and blow that easily, since the first few times I infused you."  Which, I should add, was about a month after I was hospitalized for five days because of double pneumonia and a staph infection. 

Awesome.  Up yours, Big Insurance Company.  Because of you, I had to get stuck more than once that day, because my veins were in uch bad shape, because I was in such bad shape. 

Just about two weeks later, the bruise is just barely visible- kind of a faint yellow color.  I wonder sometimes, as I go around with an occasional bruise from the infusions, what people who have no idea what a medical mess I am think about these bruises.

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