Blood Work Preferences

A diagnosis of Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis usually comes with a lot of doctors appointments, medical tests, blood work, medication trial and error, among other things. I know so many of you reading this probably have felt like a pin cushion at one point or another. Living with a chronic illness like inflammatory bowel disease can also cause post traumatic stress disorder. If you are unsure just how IBD can cause this type of mental health condition, please read this article before continuing on.

At a recent doctor appointment, I had a lot of blood work ordered. See below.

author getting blood work

Preferences when getting blood work done

While I am not someone who passes out during blood work or who really looks at it as THAT big of a deal (compared to other things we go through), I do have certain preferences. For example, I will only allow someone to insert a needle approximately 2 inches above my wrist and higher.

Besides the fact that I know I have tiny veins that roll in my hands and wrist, I do also know that they always “look good” to the medical professional looking at my veins. I use to allow them to try if they saw something but then when I continued to hear “omg wow they really do roll” or “Wow they are so tiny. You never would have known” I started speaking up in a stronger way. I began realizing that I knew my body and veins better than any healthcare provider, even if this was their area of expertise.

Being stuck in the areas I mentioned bring me to a very bad mental place. I never understood why until I was trying to appease a nurse by allowing her to take blood from a vein in my wrist and all of a sudden my brain was flooded with memories.


A bad experience with veins and IVs

About five years following my ulcerative colitis diagnosis, I was in the hospital yet again. My veins were completely shot and IVs were blowing within minutes of being inserted. There was one doctor who spent 45 minutes trying to insert an IV on the side of my wrist. 45 minutes! I remember screaming and crying and begging him to stop. Finally, I yelled if he didn’t stop I was going to kick him in the face.

I reiterated again that it was my body, he spent way too long on something that wasn’t going to work anyway, and he was truly torturing me. After he told me to shut up, I started really crying to which he told me I was making things worse. I remember telling him I couldn’t take it anymore and this was the last time I was going to ask him to stop. He didn’t do anything but continue to try and move the needle up my arm.

So, I gently kicked him in the shoulder. Because this had been going on for so long and I was making a lot of noise, there were actually patients and other medical professionals outside my door watching. After I kicked my feet to try and get him to stop, I remember the nurse asking if she should get someone to hold my legs down. Thankfully, the SOB said no and left.

You are your own expert and advocate

I wanted to share this with you guys because it is important to remember that YOU are your own expert. It has taken me years and years to realize that. I also want to reiterate that so many of us go through all types of trauma because of our disease. Oftentimes, it is overlooked because we have no choice or it is just our new normal or it seems like there is nothing that can be done about it. And while some of those things are true, there are some things we can do to try and protect ourselves.

For me, one of the things I do to help make things a little easier for me is doing my best to control where I am poked and prodded. I may not be able to avoid being a pin cushion but I can do what I can to make it as easy for myself as possible. And so can you. Whatever that means for you. Regardless if others understand.

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