Friday, October 13, 2006

Blood work; it really IS work. Trust me on this.

Now that I'm back in the land of the living after being sick for a week (and sleeping between 14 and 16 hours per day; sheesh!) I'm looking ahead to the next few days.

And circled in red on my calendar for next Tuesday the 17th is... Bloodwork. CD23 and a whole host of tests have been ordered by my fertility specialist. Let's see, I might be able to decipher his "doctor shorthand" on my requisition form. He wants me tested for:
-glucose (R)
-W.B.C. count (white blood cell, I assume)
-FSH (follicle stimulating hormone)
-LH (luteinizing hormone)
-T4/T3 (thyroid stuff; many docs test me for hypothyroidism, but they've all come back negative so far)
-Free Testosterone
-DH EAS (another thyroid thing)
-BHCG (beta HCG or pregnancy test)

And two more that I simply can't discern right now. Looks like "Federtin" and "Ult R12". But those don't show up in my research.

Anyway, regardless, that's a H*lluva lot of bloodwork. And here's the kicker. I'm petrified of needles. Not just afraid, but "knock-down, drag-em-out, faint-on-the-floor, cry-like-a-baby, leave-scars-on-my-hubby's-hand, need-to-lie-down and take-relaxation-meds-beforehand" PETRIFIED. Got that?? Can I BE any more clear? I don't think so.

Seriously, my family doctor prescribes Lorazepam for me to relax prior to bloodwork. I have fainted in the past. It has taken more than an hour and multiple tries to FIND a vein that doesn't collapse or withdraw, and more often than not I have to lie down because otherwise I'll be in a puddle on the floor.

So as you can probably guess, I am NOT looking forward to this, although I realize the necessity of the bloodwork itself. How to get through it? I'm not sure. When I had my laparoscopy in April, I had a topical freezing cream applied, took some of that Lorazepam, relaxing music on my MP3 player, warm blankets wrapped around my arms to try to bring out the veins, a special doc called in to do the IV insertion, and even a sympathetic nurse who could relate because her husband is much like me. And I still cried. It frightens the living daylights out of me. It truly does.

Blood? No problem. Gore? Cool! Sawing through bone? Neat!! But a needle piercing skin? I'm a total wreck. Stupid right? Yeah, I know. I know. It stems from an incident I had as a child. I was about eight years old and for some reason (I can't remember why) the nurse at the children's hospital at home needed to take a blood sample from me. So I sit down, having done this before, and she preps my arm. God, even the alcohol swab makes me cry now. *shudders* Anyway, she puts in the needle, and loses the vein. What does she do? She withdraws the needle PARTWAYS and changes the angle, pushing in again. Not once, not even twice, but this B*tch does this repeatedly, time and time again, fishing for the crawling vein. Well, I'm sitting there watching this and eventually I just fainted. Dead on the floor, slid off the chair, fainted. Good God. I'll never forget it. And to this day I am so afraid.

So what to do about next week? Even the receptionist at the fertility doc's said, "Wow, looks like a few vials there," when she gave me the requisition form. Nice. Oh joy. I'll be lucky to get through this. I kid you not.

A request for my readers then. Tips? Tricks? Help? What would you advise? Anything that will help me get through the awful experience of a blood draw will be most welcome. Trust me. I'm all ears.


Lisa said...

The only advice I can think of is what I've read about helping kids get through blood draws and medical tests in general. Kids who are distracted by video games, tv, stuff like that, do a lot better than kids who aren't. And take a valium or two. Good luck!

Gil said...

Thanks for the advice Lisa. I'm going to charge up the MP3 player and use the meds and topical ointment I think. I need a distraction, but I've no idea what can distract me THAT much!

Neeroc said...

Whoa. I'm sorry you have such a hard time with it, is it possible to try relaxation techniques, hypnosis, or guided imagery?
I'm not sure if you meditate, but if you can get yourself into a calm state before heading to the lab, and try to maintain it before the test, it would be helpful. Keeping your mind on calm rather than the horrible experience may go a long way to helping.

Good luck to you!