Hints for a blood draw/test
Despite giving myself thousands of injections I don’t like having blood samples taken. Regular blood work is essential for good diabetes management. The tests include, but aren’t confined to Hba1c (haemoglobin A1c), which shows what the average blood sugar was for the previous weeks, thyroid, liver function and cholesterol levels.
My GP is very good at getting blood samples. Over the year’s several Doctors have said to me ‘you have terrible veins, I don’t think I will get anything (blood)’. I used to believe this and it made the experience nerve wrecking and makes it harder to get a blood sample when you are tense. I have veins that are not easy to find, but they are good veins. They have kept me alive and well for over 50 years. They have kept circulation going to all my organs and extremities despite the challenges that T1 has thrown at them. So no, I do not have bad veins!
Whether your blood is being drawn by a Nurse, Doctor or Phlebotomist the following hints will make things a little easier:
Drinking lots of water the day before and the day of the blood draw makes a huge difference. Water helps to make blood thinner and pumps up veins, both good news for blood sampling.
2. Warm Hands
Warm hands make blood vessels stay nearer the surface and easier to get a blood sample from. Wear gloves unless the weather is very warm. If my hands are cold I will wear gloves even in July! In very cold weather I use gel hand warmers. They can be placed into gloves or better still, in mittens. It’s important to be very careful with these, especially if you have any numbness or peripheral neuropathy.
3. Numb the area
I rub a local anaesthetic on the blood sampling location (usually my wrist) to reduce the pain of a blood test. I usually apply it about an hour beforehand and then again just before my appointment. I got this on prescription and find it very good. This isn’t medical advice, just something I find helpful.
Any type of exercise will help to get your circulation going, which will help. Whether it’s a quick walk near the Doctor’s surgery or a longer exercise session before your appointment.
Tell the person taking the sample if you are very nervous or have fainted during a blood draw in the past. They can help to relax you and may suggest that you lay down during the draw. Promise yourself a treat or do something you enjoy afterward. You deserve it!
Nobody should have to put up with torture while getting a blood sample taken. You are entitled to say stop or ask for someone else to try. Reschedule and try the hints above. That’s why it’s important to have your blood samples taken in plenty of time before a Clinic or Endo appointment.
Wishing you all free-flowing veins for blood draws!