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 Post subject: Veins?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 6:29 pm 
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So.. wasn't sure where to post this as it doesn't have anything to do with Sub and I'm not still using but I figured this might be best. Not sure.

Is there anything I can do to repair my veins? I thought they would heal on their own but after 7 years of zero needle use, they are the same. Has not enough time passed? Are they like this forever? I had blood work done when I first started Methadone 8 years ago and back then, it was a struggle to draw blood. I was poked for a good long time before I convinced the nurse (tech? or whatever) to let me do it on my own. I was able to find my one last reachable, working vein and that was that. The nurse told me my collapsed veins should eventually heal themselves so I didn't think anything of it.

Fast forward to this year, I had to have blood drawn recently to check glucose levels and all that good stuff. Well there I was again, getting poked over and over. I told the lady tech that if she didn't have any luck, she'd have to go through my biggest scar as that was the last known working vein I could find. She wasn't comfortable with that and after many failed attempts, she called over "Carlos" who was their resident "expert." She assured me he could find any vein. Sigh.. that went nowhere fast. Again, I told him he'd most likely have to go through my scar and eventually he listened to me. He found that vein ok but it but it was SO uncomfortable this time. I could feel the crunchiness (does that make sense to anyone??) from their thick needle going through all that scar tissue and it made me cringe. I'm not particularly squeamish but that was just gross. Not to mention really uncomfortable for me.

Anyway, I know I did this to myself but is there anything I can do to UN-do it? Vitamins..? I really don't want to go through this every time I have blood drawn.

Does anyone have advice or tricks up their sleeves?


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 10:34 am 
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I can relate. I didn't have the greatest supply of veins to begin with, but after abusing them for a couple years, it's pretty slim pickings! The one decent antecubital (inside the elbow) that I had, is literally gone...all that remains is an embarrassing scar. Anytime I have blood drawn, I tell the phlebotomist they may as well go ahead and get out the butterfly and go in my hand. Those veins aren't great and they're tiny, but it's about all I've got.
Honestly I thnk once a particular vein has scarred completely down....it's not coming back. Other veins will do the job for the lost ones and take over, circulation-wise, and perhaps over time those veins will "bulk up" a bit.
The best advice I have is...if you know you're going to have blood drawn or need an IV, go in very well hydrated....even if you are to be fasting for the draw, you can still drink a lot of water right up to the time they say to begin fasting. Also stay warm. If possible wash your hands, arms with real warm water before the draw. Ask the phlebotomist to warm pack your hands, arms for a few minutes before attempting to stick you.
It's a bummer, I know.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 3:03 pm 
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Thank you! After searching around a little bit on the internet, I realized there wasn't much I could do about it. I'm not sure why that original nurse said they would heal. Oh well.. I really appreciate the water and warmth suggestions, I will try that next time. My hands (and wrists) aren't in much better shape either but maybe that's the way to go. I will take your advice.

I am particularly nervous about having blood taken when/ if I get pregnant. The whole thing is just embarrassing.

Thank you Barely.. *hug*


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 5:41 pm 
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I have really good news for you....when we're pregnant, we are much, much easier to "stick." Unless, as sometimes happens in early pregnancy, you have a lot of nausea and vomiting and become dehydrated, the blood volume changes associated with pregnancy mean nice, juicy veins!
In close to two decades of caring for pregnant women, I'd say I only ran across a few women I couldn't get an IV in or draw blood on. Once you get a positive pregnancy test at home, as long as you have no medical problems or anything unforeseen, you probably won't need to have your first bloodwork done until you're at least 6-8 weeks pregnant. Again, best advice is to hydrate real well before going in for draws and ask for a warm pack at the first sign of trouble. My personal rule was to never attempt to "stick" someone more than twice. If I couldn't get it with 2 attempts, I'd have someone else try once. If still a no-go, it's time time to call someone with more extensive training or skills. If you're in the hospital, that might be the "IV team" as they place deeper, more invasive lines, or sometimes even an anesthesiologist is called in to get a line placed. This usually is only necessary when a mother comes in to deliver and needs secure IV access for meds, IV fluids, epidural or other anesthesia. I've seen this be necessary in patients with no drug history, by the way. So sometimes it's just an anatomical thing....and sometimes it has to do with body habitus. So try not to feel embarrassed...you've turned your life around and that's something to be proud of. I hope you conceive soon! It's so exciting to be pregnant, especially when you've planned for it, prayed for it and want it so much.


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Fond Du Lac Psychiatry
Dr. Jeffrey Junig, M.D., Ph.D.

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