The Eight-Hour Blood Draw……first written Summer 2004

Well I don’t know what the rest of you did today for fun but we put our kid
through an 8 hour blood draw. No simple stick for us, no sireeeeeee.
I’m so frustrated I could spit. And of course it’s not just me who’s
frustrated, it’s also the 4 year old sister with sensory integration issues, the
husband (no explanation needed), and the almost 6 year old, who not even three
weeks ago underwent 4 1/2 hours of surgery. As I write, the whirling-dirvish-4
year old has just taken a break from a 25 minute shrieking-screaming-raging
episode after FINALLY arriving home. (I feel like the Israelites finally seeing
the Promised Land……only with a lot of crabby kids in tow (probably some
historical and hysterical accuracy there)).
But I digress, oh yes, the 8 ______ hour blood draw.
It all started at the infectious disease doc’s office at 10:30 this morning
(didn’t actually get in to see him until 11:30, so you know a couple of family
members are already real jolly), where we went in seeking a solution to the
failed broviac mechanism. (it puts in meds but won’t give up blood). So in the
discussion about the proverbial turnip (that would be our wonderful and
endearing 5 year old son who is trying his hardest to get over years of ear
infections, all the while keeping all his blood for himself), we decided to do
whatever we could about extracting blood without another surgery (broviac
insertion). We decided on doing a “TPA” and then if that didn’t work (which the
doc didn’t think would work because we all pretty much agree, including the
surgeon who inserted the broviac line, that the failure of the broviac line is
mechanical in nature and not due to a blood clot problem), that we would do a
femural draw (the main vein through the groin area-gee that makes even me a
little queasy…….hmm, no wonder my husband volunteered to watch more
Playhouse Disney in the ped’s room w/ the little sister at that point!).
So we get to the hospital at 2:15pm and begin w/ the TPA-and to no one’s
surprise it isn’t successful. (The protocal calls for one dose at the regular
amount, then wait for :30-try to draw back on the line for blood, and then if
that doesn’t work, another double dose and wait another :30. No big deal—a
little over an hour in the peds unit.) So then on to the femural line. First
gave him Versed because his strength and ability to grow 16 limbs
instantaneously has preceeded him in the peds unit. Got the amount we needed
(more blood this time than at any other time in his life BTW). Hung out for a
few minutes in peds ICU just to make sure everything’s good and then we head
back to his regular room in peds. No big deal: let him wake up a little,
monitor his O2, etc…and expect to go home by 7pm. Still a very long day for
everyone but on track for something in the neighborhood of sanity.
I.D. doc comes in a little before 7pm and says, “We have to do it over again,
the blood clotted before they could run the labs.” Turns out the vials SAT
around too long. I said, “What do you mean SAT around too long?? I saw the
nurse pour the blood from the syringe to the different vials and then the vials
disappeared!”. The ID Doc was clearly very unhappy (presumably w/ the lab) and
said he wasn’t sure what had happened but that our option were now a finger
prick or a heel stick and that the labs would be done STAT. Almost an hour
later, after I had introduced myself to the now-night shift nurse and tactfully
suggested we might want to get this process under way sometime soon, we poked
his heel (which now with the rest of his body, is fully recovered from the 1 1/2
tsp dose of Versed). And of course it’s not JUST the poke. It’s the WAITING
for the blood to flow, all the while you could swear you are channeling Steve
Irwin. It was just horrid. I had to hold him for almost 10 minutes to get a
vial the diameter of a straw and the length of your big toe. We didn’t get out
of there until 10pm!! And by that time the kids were watching Nemo on the
hospital video channel and didn’t want to leave!! OIY!!!!!
So this is our alternative to a broviac that won’t give up blood?? Plan D
better be a LOT more effective than what we’ve come up with so far…………

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