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Do you have trouble with blood draws or IV starts?

Ever since I was a patient at Chelsea Hospital in the inpatient program through MHNI I have had veins that seem to collapse, create a hematoma (a solid swelling of clotted blood within the tissues), and act like brittle paper.  While I was there I had 31 needle pokes to either draw blood or start new IV’s because the previous one was hurting so bad.  I was on a medication called DHE (Dihydroergotamine) that causes vasoconstriction (the constriction of blood vessels, which increases blood pressure) and tends to be really rough on veins.

So every time I have to go the ER or have blood drawn I end up with what you see below.  The bruises on the hand don’t show up very well but boy do they hurt.  They always try the hand first and then work their way up my arm trying to find a vein and trying to find a vein that won’t collapse.    When they just can’t find a vein, even after 6 pokes…they finally call in an IV team (I had never heard of it until my last ER visit) that uses ultrasound to find a vein deep down that wouldn’t collapse.  It was so fast and easy…I wish they could always do that, but they can’t.

One of the biggest problems I have is that if I have a reason to go to the ER or have a procedure done, I am often in the middle of a migraine, so I am very dehydrated.  Hopefully having the Migraine Cave stocked with water (which has already been helpful) will make this plan more effective. But after what happened during my last ER visit (pics below) I have come up with a plan:

  

MY NEW BLOOD DRAW/IV PLAN

My plan came about accidentally really.  I was shopping at Walmart in a clearance section and came across the gloves that are show below, called Red Hot gloves.  They came with two hand warmers that you insert into the top of the hand into a little pocket.  The hothands that are in the picture are cheap replacements since they are only 1 time use.

About a half an hour before a procedure, blood draw or IV poke I plan to put these on to heat up the veins on the top of my hands.  The idea came from MHNI wear they often submerse my hand and arm into warm water and then a lab used one of the hand warmers after I told them that my veins were difficult to find.

I get so sick of the phlebotomists that just think they are going to be “the one” that gets it on the first try.  Four tries later, after not taking my advice about heat on my hands I have 4 hematomas and they have finally found a vein.

Now I can always have heat on my hands coming into the lab, hospital, ER, etc.  I don’t have to deal with the person that won’t listen to me that my hands need to be heated in order to draw blood or place an IV.  I took my health care into my own hands.

The second part of my plan is only for times when I have scheduled procedures or blood draws, this will not work when I end up in the ER.  But hydration is soooo important for blood draws and IV starts.  This last blood draw, I drank water from the time I woke until 1:00pm when I got my blood drawn.  I read that 64 oz. the day before and the day of is the most helpful amount and that excessive amounts are not necessary.


This is my new water cup for my Migraine Cave…it holds the 16oz bottles of water perfectly 🙂  And it is soooo cute!

My Plan In Summary

  1. Hand warming gloves about a half an hour before blood draw/IV start
  2. Hydration: 64 oz the day before if possible and 64 oz the day of the blood draw/IV start.

 

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A 15 year old Hoya Plant

May 5thThis Hoya has such beautiful flowers. We have had this plant for 16 years. We got this plant right around the time we started dating and it just keeps going. Just like our marriage. God gave me a best friend and an amazing husband. These past 15 weeks have been hard on us all but Dan has stepped up in so many ways. And now he even does everything without pouting j/k. But the beginning was rough when he couldn’t understand. But he gets it now. No way I could get through this without him and my parents ( Sherry Dunne Weaver and Bob Weaver). They have done so much I can’t even begin to explain but they took Gideon and I in for almost 6 weeks because I was non functional. I am back in that boat again but we are trying teach Josiah to make dinner or lunch and to take care of Gideon if dad has to be gone and i can’t help. Many others have helped out too and I thank you for your continued support. This isn’t over yet unfortunately but with the support I have we will get through this. Thank you is barely enough but from my heart I thank you.

Sandi Davidson: Thinking of you Heather. You have had a rough road lately. Hopefully it will get better soon.
Dawn Tomlin: Words can’t express my support and love. You all are adapting. God is your stronghold. It’s amazing to be apart of your lives. Through sickness and health!! We are in this together. You are NOT alone!!
Heather Loose Johnson: Love you too friend. We sure have been through a lot together haven’t we.
Merry Dunne Blades: Such a Beautiful & Unique flower just like your relationship with Dan and your Wonderful Family.
Sherry Dunne Weaver: Amazing how little blessings like this flower shine through even in the darkest times.
Heather Loose Johnson: It is funny how taking a picture of these amazing little flowers to post on FB, that I got all that out of a flowering plant.
Anita M. Bremmer: Beautiful plant! We wish you well, Heather!
Today I went to see my family physician, Dr. Wulff, to follow up on blood tests that showed a high cholesteral level and low B12.  He gave me some paperwork to help reduce cholesteral naturally (but I never did follow it 😛 ).  And then he gave me a B12 shot.  He set me up on a 90 blood work for cholesteral to see if it went down naturally.