Bad veins. That’s what doctors have complained about me. Drawing blood is like drilling for oil. Needless to say, I don’t look forward to doctors’ visits.
Today I sat in the ER with my husband, Mike, watching a nurse take her fourth “stab” at my arm.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “I’m going to find someone else to try.”
Great, I thought. I’d already spent several days in the hospital after surgery with a postoperative infection and an allergic reaction to the antibiotics. When I got home my eye swelled up and I had to head back.
The doctor assured me I would be fine once I got some steroids, but for that I needed an IV, which meant another needle stick.
A new woman walked in, slightly older than the first one. “I hope you have better luck,” I told her, holding out my arm.
She wasn’t any more successful than the last nurse, even after covering my arms in warm towels to raise the veins. I squeezed my eyes shut as she tried the back of my hand.
“Sorry, I know this is a painful area,” she said. “Your arm just wasn’t working.”
“Do you have some sort of go-to person you can ask to help in times like this?”
The woman looked me in the eye. “I am the go-to person.”
Finally she gave up and left us. Mike rubbed my hand, which looked like it’d been gnawed on by a hungry wolverine. God, how am I ever going to be able to receive this treatment that I need?
A new nurse walked in. I had no reason to think she was going to do better. I gingerly offered her my arm.
“I hope you have a secret method,” I told her.
“Actually, I do,” she said. “Everyone always laughs at me, but whenever I do this, I ask God for help first.”
She bowed her head and said a silent prayer. Then she swabbed my hand, rubbed the top and poked. The needle slid right in. I hardly felt a thing, except a flood of gratitude.
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