Blood to make it easier for an "impossible stick?"

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New Member

Date Joined Aug 2009
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 4/12/2011 2:12 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi everyone,

I've been having some weird dizzy spells/migraine stuff for a few years, and my doctors are still trying to get to the bottom of it. In the last week, I've had to get a CT with an IV and 2 blood draws for various tests, and will need another MRI with an IV next week. The problem is, I'm a "hard stick." Whenever I have blood drawn or an IV, doctors never can find a working vein without poking me 3 or 4 times, then calling for a more experienced doctor to try yet again, usually yielding little blood. Then twice I have blacked out in the middle of it. Not really from fear, more like a body reaction I can't control at all. Though I'm obviously a little nervous and anxious, knowing it takes a few tries. Once, I was stuck strapped down in an MRI, not allowed to move for 2 hours while they tried to find a doctor who could put in my IV correctly! (grr) I hydrate myself immensely beforehand, and put warm packs on my arms...not sure what else to do!

Obviously I try not to have blood drawn unless absolutely necessary, because it's such an awful ordeal for me. And now after having it twice already this week, I learn that because we're signing up for life insurance, I'll have to do one yet AGAIN. And I'm concerned that it won't be a very experienced person...

My question is, does anyone know any way I can get out of having to do this, especially considering I had a full blood panel last week? Has anyone successfully been able to send the company their recent tests instead? Any advice?

And I'm curious, as fellow migraineurs, how many of you are difficult sticks?

New Member

Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 4/14/2011 9:00 PM (GMT -6)   
I empathize with you on the stick. I too have that problem. I try to remember the best techs & when required to have blood drawn I request that person to do it. Guess you've noticed that some are so much more skilled than others. Actually the best vein I have is in my hand just above my thumb so I try to show it to them right off.  My mother had same problem & they would call the air vac ambulance techs to do her.
Don't know that any of this will be helpful to you other than knowing you are definitely not alone with this problem.
Good Luck,

New Member

Date Joined Oct 2010
Total Posts : 18
   Posted 4/15/2011 3:09 AM (GMT -6)   
Being a hard stick definately sucks!

Have you ever had the tech use a "butterfly" needle? They are usually used on children and sometimes with the elderly but they can be effective for adolescence and adults as well. The needle is smaller and as a result can clot off more easily if there is not good flow in/out of the vein, depending if it is an IV or strickly a blood draw, but if they are in the right vein they can work very well. And being smaller they cause less trauma which often means that they can be successfully threaded into a more difficult vein than larger needles can be.

Also, some people have really great veins in their feet. These are very rarely used for blood draws but I have come across a few techs who are willing to give them a try. Access is the same as the veins in the arms and the hands, but since they are less traumatized sometimes they are easier to access.

Other than than, like LJB said, find the good techs and don't be afraid to demand that they be the ones that stick you. And if you are in a hospital and there are EMS personnel around, they're usually pretty good (yes there are some that SUCK, but most are at least decent). They're used to getting IVs while bouncing down highways or in poorly light bedrooms or back alleys and can usually find a vein good for getting blood pretty successfully as well. And don't be afraid to tell them which veins are the ones to go for. They may have the training but you know your own body best!

Good luck!

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2009
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 4/15/2011 10:48 AM (GMT -6)   
Yes, I've had the experience with the EMT techs...once, after the MRI docs tried in vain for a while, they finally called an EMT tech in, and she did it on the first try! :) I'm still unsure whether a butterfly needle works better for me or not. Usually that's the first go-to once it doesn't work the first time, since they can see I have small, hard to find veins. But other times, they try a butterfly needle, it doesn't work, so they try a big needle and it works better. So I honestly have no clue what the best one is!

Last time I asked the nurse which needle she was using when she got it to work, and she said it was a "23 needle."

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 26
   Posted Yesterday 10:00 PM (GMT -6)   
They used to be able to use the butterfly needles on me. Those don't even seem to even work any more. I have Raynauds along with my migraines. That has caused most of the veins that they always could get in my hands, well they have all gone. My veins are very small and buried deep, to begin with. The tricks with heating pads do not seam to work anymore, my veins are getting worse. This may be a little over the top, but this is what they did for me. They just brought in the ultrasound machine. There is a doctor that just took special training for it, within a few short minutes they had all the blood they wanted. They gave me a bit of lidocain before they began cause they had to go really deep. It was way better than having the techs/nurses go digging for the veins.

No Needles
New Member

Date Joined Jun 2012
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 6/1/2012 1:48 PM (GMT -6)   
I went today to have blood drawn and a had a reoccurring problem. The experienced technician was able to access a vein 3 times and none of the veins would give blood. I drink plenty of water beginning the day before and day of the blood draw. We warmed my hand, but I will have to return to try again. I get so nervous because I know there can potentially be this problem. Today I passed out completely. Is there something I can do to get the blood to flow out of the vein into the needle?
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