I was four years old when began my boycott on blood tests. It lasted until I was 22 and planning my wedding. The state abolished the law requiring blood work for a marriage license the next year. That ticked me off. Forget the fact I needed more than enough blood drawn when we began our fertility testing and treatments. Forget the fact that I had more than my fair share of blood drawn as a pregnant woman two times over...or an IV both times for delivery. The mere fact that I could have avoided a needle drawing blood from my veins for a few more years irked me.
My mother reminded me of my experience at a mere four years old this morning when we spoke. She didn't need to. I remember it very well. I was getting dizzy a lot. I remember the dizzy too. I very clearly recall the sensation of being too dizzy to stand. I'd sit down on the ground and cry for help. They doctor's ordered tests. As it turns out, strawberry blonde, fair-skinned me just can't handle a lot of direct sunlight. If it was hot, I had to be in and out in short spurts. Lots of liquids. Lots of hats to keep the sun off my head. Things haven't changed all the much, only I'm not as dizzy as I did way back then.
The blood test - that was awful. I had to go the hospital for it. They poked around one arm. They tried for the vein. They missed. Not only did they miss, they poked the tip out higher up my arm. Understandably, I was a wreck. My infant brother was a wreck. My mother was a wreck. They tried again on the other arm. No luck. They ended up pricking my finger and squeezing the blood out in the vile. Slow but successful.
When I finally gave in and let them near my veins again, I recalled why I had stopped. I've got my mother's veins. They still use pediatric needles on her. My veins are hard to find with a needle - even the one on either arm that they can see in all it's blue-through-pasty-white-skin-glory. I've told my veins roll when the needle gets near. I've been told the collapse. Clearly, my veins have not quite given up my old boycott. But I'm an adult. I grit my teeth. I look the other way and I bear it. I hate it. But I bear it.
When Logan was a year old, it was time for his first blood test. They draw two small vial's to test iron and lead levels. He hated it, understandably. They had to work a little him to find a good vein because small toddler veins are tough to hit. He had another test around his 2nd birthday. The worst part for him was being restrained. He'll sit still, just not if you want him to.
Megan's 12-month well visit was a nightmare. Both kids were in massive meltdown mode. By the time the doctor came in, I had two young kids in mid-tantrum. I think the doctor was concerned with getting the vitals out of the way and then getting us out for all our sanity. Don't get me wrong, he's a nice doctor and he was easily one of the better ones in the practice that treated us this Winter's on again/off again cold fest.
The doctor that saw us for Meg's 15-month check-up asked me about the blood work. Didn't we go? Where were the results? Oh. Well, see. Didn't go. Dr Steve didn't give me the Rx for it and frankly, I didn't think to ask to put us through that hell. (So ok, I didn't *quite* but it that way.) Dr. R wasn't letting us out of it a 2nd time. She ordered the tests. Megan and I were going to have to go the lab before her next visit.
And here we are. She's two weeks past her 18 month mark. I've yet to make her next appointment because I've been putting off the blood work. I didn't mean to, actually. I had wanted to just get it over with. Yet one day bled into another and it got forgotten about. Truth be told, between the colds, the ear infections, the walking pneumonia, the massive teething all at once, the last thing I wanted to dump on the poor kid was a needle to remove blood from her veins.
But I couldn't put it off any longer. I told Bruce we were going to get it over with today. "It's going to SUCK!" I said.
"I know," he said.
And it did.
Megan is a smart girl. She walked into the exam room and had an inkling of where she was - not for what purpose but something unfun and medical was about to take place. She informed me quickly that we were "All done. Out door now!"
Instead I got her distracted with the window while the tech filled out the online forms. Megan amused herself with squirrel watching. Then the fun ended. I sat with her in the big chair used for draws. They put the arm rest over us. Megan tried to slither her way out. The 2nd tech arrived to help keep the girl still and that worked well to keep my curious child preoccupied. She was intently studying both techs trying to determine who they were and what they wanted with her.
She was quiet and fine for the ages it took to determine her right arm would not surrender a useful vein. The little rubber band tied to her upper arm as the tech poked and rubbed the inside the arm searching for the entry point. Nothing.
Megan even sat somewhat patiently as they attempted to find a vein in her left arm. She did tell the tech we were finished a few times. I even tried the "Almost" ploy. Megan shook her head at me. "No! All done. Get down. I go." she told me, clearly understanding that I wasn't getting her point.
They found a vein. They inserted the needle. Megan sat silent for a moment. Then she screamed. They had to move the needle a bit to get the blood moving down the needle point, to the small tubing on it's way to the vile. Then it stalled. Blood just stopped coming down. Out came the needle. On went the bandage. Megan hated that as much as the initial poke.
They tried to locate a vein on the right arm again. They both looked. They found one. Megan stopped crying. She did not stop yelling "I GO! ALL DONE NOW!" They tried again. Needle in. Blood flowing....slowly. They got the minimum required for the test in the first vile. They *think* they have enough for the other test in the second vile. If not we're going to have to try again.
Megan did not stop crying when the needle came out. In fact she cried harder. They bandaged her up. We wiped her snotty, drool covered face with a tissue. I stood, turning her to face me in a fluid, comforting motion. I held her tight. She put her head on my shoulder and began to rub my back. "I all done," she sniffed.
"Yes you are, honey. We're all done," I whispered. I promised her we'd go to the store to buy some Little People or M&Ms.
She sniffed back in reply. "Lil Peepulls? I ok," she said. She thought some more and added, "I wan Ms."
I sort of figured that at least one of my kids might inherit the uncooperative veins. I had hoped to be wrong. I suppose that as she grows the problem could be resolved. Maybe. Perhaps not.
As we endured the hunt for the magical entry point, I asked the tech - "Is it just that she's so young? Is the pudge on her arm an issue?"
The tech made a face, "Well, her veins are just really small."
I'm so hoping they go through a growth spurt before she needed to do this process again!