Tag Archives: phlebotomy

Blood Testing Blues

I went down to the hospital early and was rewarded with a choice of parking spaces. This was good.

Little did I realise it was to be the high point of my morning.

My first clue to trouble ahead was the crowd by the door of the Phlebotomy Room. The second was my ticket number – I was ticket A134. The first ticket called after I sat down was A119. (Yes, it’s run like a supermarket deli counter).

Fortunately I had a book with me. It’s not as interesting as it may seem, as my forthcoming review may mention. For now I’m keeping an open mind. I had nearly an hour of open-mindedness to devote to it this morning.

Little did I realise etc….

It took three attempts in the right arm, and one in the left (including one with an old-fashioned syringe used with a stab it and hope approach). If we’d been fighting a duel honour would have been well and truly satisfied by all that blood and wounding. At that point she called in help.

It seems that I may have some scar tissue in the arm from the number of blood tests I’ve had, and this is causing some problems in drilling for fresh blood. If I live to be ninety I expect I’ll have arms like sacks of walnuts and they’ll be using power tools.

The reinforcement didn’t mess about. One swift jab with a massive needle and the blood was drawn.

It’s a shame she couldn’t have done it sooner as it would have saved me from having to pay £4 for car parking.

It normally only costs me £2  but it went over the hour so it cost £2 extra. Next time I’ll take a flask and sandwiches and have a picnic until the time is up. I like to get value for money.

I took these pictures of flowers at the Mencap garden on Monday when I took Julia down to water the polytunnel. They have a close-down week this week, when they just shut up shop and all have a holiday. Of course, this was all decided by people who don’t have a garden to run.

In the shop we didn’t have as many parcels to pack as yesterday, just a mere five today. I sorted five lots of American coins for eBay, added to my numismatic knowledge via Google (after all, you need to know something to write about them properly), served a couple of customers looking for postcards, answered the phone, polished the counters and cleaned 24 silver ingots in the shape of postage stamps. They will be going on eBay by the end of the week.

Finally, someone brought a medal in to part exchange.

 

It’s the South African campaign medal with the bar for 1879 – the year of the Zulu War. It was originally instituted in 1854, and the date 1853 was placed was at the bottom of the reverse (or “the exergue” if you want to be technical). It  was awarded in a back-dated fashion for campaigns dating back to 1835. In 1879 they decided to re-issue it with Zulu shields in the exergue and a set of date bars relating to wars in 1877-79. The date 1879 is for troops who served in the Zulu War of that year – the one that saw British troops with rifles and artillery severely mauled by Zulus with spears.

It wasn’t all plain sailing in the days of the Empire.

Although it’s a great bit of history, it has been spoiled as a collectable because it’s been re-named. This means that the original name has been removed from the edge and another name has been added. Unfortunately, though this was clearly done in Victorian times, it ruins it for collectors.

Soldiers, you see, would often sell or pawn their medals when short of cash and, when posted away at short notice, be unable to get the medals back. Rather than admit to the military offence of selling or pawning their medals they would merely buy one from the pawn shop and have their name put on them. But that is a subject for a different day.

Blood, worms and British Telecom

I regretfully parted with more of the red stuff yesterday morning. The phlebotomist stuck me in the painful place they’ve been using recently and drew three quarters of a tube before tutting, fiddling about and, finally, throwing the tube away. It was, it seems, not working properly.

For those of you not familiar with modern blood-letting, it is no longer necessary to put blood in a tube as it was when I first started. These days they have a tube that sucks the blood out. Or, in this case, sucks most of the blood out then stops.

If it doesn’t draw enough blood they can’t do the test, so they had to re-stab my arm and take another tube.

If I had a bad day, it was nothing compared to the bad day that a number of worms were having. After the night of constant rain there were dozens of large fat worms crawling around the footpaths. I’m not sure where they all came from, or why they decide that the footpath is suddenly the place to be.

What I do know is that when I arrived at hospital at 8.04, they were alive and mobile. When I left at 8.44 many of them were lying dead in the rain.

I blame the carelessly placed feet of the multitude of bustling NHS staff that always seem to be late for work as I make my way slowly along the path. It’s a rare day when I’m not overtaken by at least half a dozen of them as I hobble to Phlebotomy.

I have no evidence for this, as I wasn’t actually watching, but they are the only people likely to have the speed to trample worms underfoot. The rest of us move slower.

When you think about it the average worm is doing more for the planet than the average human, so we ought to take more care of them.

Meanwhile, talking of lowly creatures, and people who contribute nothing to the well-being of the planet, BT still hasn’t moved the shop phone number. They have, however, cut off the old number as of Monday, so we currently have a phone line and a number nobody knows.

Tuesday’s development was a letter informing us that they are going to provide us with an ex-directory number free of charge, because that’s what you want when you have a shop – a phone number that nobody can see.

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The shop front – with telephone number

 

 

In which the day takes a turn for the worse…

I was third in at the phlebotomist, which was about the last thing that went right with the blood testing.

“Hello,” said the smiling young lady, “my name is Lucretia, and I’m a trainee phlebotomist.  Is it alright if I take your blood?”

She wasn’t actually called Lucretia, but I’ve changed names to protect identities.

The whole idea of going to the hospital to be stabbed in the arm is that they are experts and only need to stab once. However, everyone has to learn so I smiled and submitted.

After being stabbed in both arms, I was passed over to a more experienced taker of blood, who nailed it in one.

And that, it would be nice to think, was where it ended.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t.

After a day of sticking stamps and scanning medallions I got a telephone call from the surgery, telling me, in a slightly panicky way, that the anticoagulant clinic required me to take a test urgently on Friday morning. I’m now booked in for a test at 8.40 tomorrow morning to see what all the fuss is about.

When I find out I’ll let you know.

I’m off to pick Julia up from work now and see how she’s survived her first full day back at work (a day in the gardens followed by an evening as a receptionist).  Then I have to break the news that I won’t be able to take her to work tomorrow because I’m in for more blood tests…

 

Blood Test Day

I cut out the middle man this week and went straight to the Phlebotomy Department at City Hospital. They looked at my veins, stuck a needle in the more promising one, drew the blood and sent me away.

It only took nineteen minutes from entering the car park to leaving.

I know this because it says so on my car parking receipt. If I’d been there fifteen minutes the parking would have been free.Instead, I paid £2 to park for four minutes.

So, am I happy because they took the sample first time? Am I glad I was seen free of charge, quickly and efficiently?   Am I pleased that I was able to get the test done and still get to work on time?

Of course not. I’m complaining that it all took four minutes too long and cost me £2.

That’s life.

 

 

Thursday, Bloody Thursday

This being Thursday I went for a blood test. They are currently taking blood fortnightly and last week, to be honest, after several months of weekly tests, I felt like something was missing all morning.

Today’s appointment was 9 am, which was unusual as they are normally around 11. It looked like I was going to get a lot of Christmas preparation done today, which was good because I have a long list from my beloved.

The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men, as Robert Burns said, Gang aft agley. 

I was seen on time, but after two goes at getting a sample from the right arm the nurse decided to ask a colleague to have a go at the left. As if by magic the colleague appeared just as the phone was ringing.

“Ha!! exclaimed my nurse, “it must be ESP.”

But it wasn’t. The other nurse had bent down to pick up a piece of paper and her back had locked, so she was coming through to ask for help in taking blood from her patient.

Eventually we secured the services of a third nurse.

She had a go in the left arm, admitted defeat and instructed me to go to the City Hospital phlebotomy unit. That’s a word that’s just crying out to have a poem written around it. So I drove home, had a glass of water, as recommended by the nurses and went to phlebotomy.

These days you take a ticket, just like a delicatessen counter at the supermarket.

Mine was A161.

The screen flickered on as I sat down and a bored robotic voice called ticket number A149 to Bay 1. The woman next to me let out a great sigh. I would later find out that she had the ticket before me.

The difference was that I had a book and she didn’t. As I learned about the currency reforms of Henry VII she carried on muttering and shifting in her seat.

After what seemed like quite a short time I was in a chair with a young woman in a red coat (dyed, rather than blood stained). I can see that a red coat is practical but it did make me think back to the days of the barber surgeons. We discussed my previous history of unsuccessful blood sampling (this isn’t the first time I’ve been sent to hospital after the Practice Nurses found it tricky) and she set to work.

One prod of the arm, one puncture and, seconds later the sample was in the tube.

To be fair to the Practice Nurses they do a lot of different things whereas the phlebotomists are specialists in taking blood. It’s all they do. Smile, stab, label the sample and start again. It must be very dull. I’d be tempted to do it wrong just to relieve the boredom.

As I left the hospital I noted the time.

11.00 am.

Just goes to show that some things are meant to be.