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Playing "hunt the vein"!

Theresa’s comment here http://community.mssociety.org.uk/comment/301962#comment-301962 made me giggle, because I could most definitely enter a contest for the most bits of taped on cotton wool!

Those of us with shy/recalcitrant veins, let’s share our tales!

Ooh, what’s the prize for the most puncture holes? A nice lie down, I’ll bet! lol.

The last time I got blood drawn, after trying the vein that tends to be the most compliant first, which is the one in the centre of my right elbow (brachial, I think?) and having no luck, she tried one in my upper arm over my bicep. First time anyone’s done that, worked like a charm, insertion hurt less than usual, too.

Shame that’s not likely to be a viable option when I have the Lemtrada infusions, is it. I’m assuming not, unless I’m supine for the whole 4 hours, and that’s not really realistic. Every time I got up to go to the ladies I’d be constantly getting, “bing bing bong, oclussion below pump”, from the IV. I don’t want to have to be laid down anyway.

I try very hard to remember to sip water once I’m in the car on the way to the hospital, and keep sipping once I’m there. Apart from after Christmas when the schedules were all messed up and I went in on a different day, so had a different (and woefully less skilled) nurse(4 failed attempts with her), that definitely has helped for me . Often only needed 1 attempt to cannulate, never more than 2.Which is lucky for me, because after attempt 3 my body tends to lose patience and make me start feeling very faint and sick!

Has anyone else found any good tricks that work?

Drinking lots of water certainly helps veins - as does trying to move about as much as possible. l have to have bloodtests etc taken from the back of my hand. No veins in arms of any use. They never like doing it - but for me it is the easiest and most comfortable of places.

lts just as well we can’t give blood - because of the MS.

Med infusions-regularly 2-4 attempts, often more, think record was 9. Hope all well xx

I thought I’d got away with the monthly stabbies with being changed from Tysabri to Lemtrada, then I got told there’ll be monthly blood tests, doh! But those can be done at the GP’s, and there’s a lovely Indian lady there who’s hands are magic, veins love her.

The first time she drew blood from me I said the vein on my wrist was a better option, she asked if I was sure because it hurts more there, but I was. After that though I had several people sing this lady’s praises to me, so the next time I had to have blood drawn, when I saw it was her I let her do her thing, and she got a vein in my elbow first time, and has every time since, and I’ve barely feel a thing!

My first blood drawing at the GP’s was a horror! It was the first time I’d ever had blood drawn, and I ended up like a pin cushion on both arms This nurse…urgh! She sits there saying,“ooh! You can see the colour draining out of your face!”, like it was something exciting for her. : / I had to lie down for 20 minutes before I dared try to sit up, after that fun episode.

Moving makes sense! Keep things flowing. So should have sat in the huge queue in pathology waving my arms about! OH! So that’s why they have you clenching your fist?

I once was getting prepped for my tysabri infusion and the nurse must’ve looked away to get something & I was too busy chatting to notice blood spilling down my arm, onto my jeans and on the floor and my handbag! She was very apologetic but I didn’t mind as I have terrible veins so I’m used to being a pin cushion. I used to always have my infusion going in through the back of my hand as my arms are so crap. One time though they put the flush in and my hand swelled up and was sooooo painful cos she must’ve missed the vein or gone right through it :-s

Fun fun!

That is fun isn’t it, Lorna! That’s what happened with my last Tysabri infusion and the girl with 4 failed attempts to cannulate. On the 4th one she struggled to get the flush to go through. I told her it felt cold but she went ahead with the infusion anyway. My arm immediately started to swell, so I assumed it wasn’t going into the vein, but she said it was ok and turned the flow of the infusion down.

Few minutes later my arm had swollen further, I told her it was uncomfortable and she turned the flow down further and said to stick with it if I could. 35% of the infusion had gone through before she finally admitted she’d need to get someone else to try with the cannulation again. Took a day before the swelling in my arm had gone down completely. : /

Hi sj,

I’m a ‘back of the hand’ guy as well… so much better, isn’t it?. Are we not allowed to give blood???

Blimey jelly! I hope she felt like a complete idiot after that and learned her lesson!

I really hope so! I also hope she never comes near me with a needle ever again! I was scared that I might end up with her for my Lemtrada infusions, but the MS nurse said it wouldn’t be any of the nurses who do the Tysabri doing that as they’d be too busy with their existing patients. So that’s a relief!

I can sympathise, as I have crap veins as well. The head phlebotomist had to be called last time to get any blood out of me… the rookie student nurse couldn’t do it, and - to give her credit - admitted it and called in the boss-lady quite early on! But I am left feeling rather inadequate. I hate needles and generally go into the cubicle, present my arm, and say “there you go, I’m not watching, just do what you have to, and shout when it’s over…ow, ow, ow…are you sure you want me to clench my fist, it might give me some ideas…”

Hi Fluffieollie

No - if you have MS, you are not allowed to give blood (or blood products like platelets).

PS - As in donating blood rather than blood testing etc.

Why is that? Does anyone know? I mean it’s not like MS is contagious. Is the fear that our rough t cells will run amok in someone else, and give them MS? If it’s not contagious that’s not an issue, surely.

I guess we can’t give blood because they don’t know for sure? Oh, and…avoiding lawsuits from people freaking out if they find out they’ve been given blood from someone with a disease…

At a guess I would say because we have an autoimmune condition so our antibodies have been damaging us, but probably also because there is so much no one knows or understands about our disease.

Hepatitis and HIV caused a big problem when they realised they could be transmitted and more recently mad cow disease.

Snowqueen x

They told me it was for my benefit, there is nothing wrong with our blood but they don’t want to cause added strain on our health.

Jan x

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Oh! What’s that’s a lovely and thoughtful reason!