I Can’t Be a Drug Addict: Chronically Misunderstood

I have terrible veins.

They’re deep, tiny, and they roll.

On this particular occasion when I was getting my blood drawn the phlebotomist was terrible at her job. She stuck me four times, didn’t cover up the pokes afterward, and instead of cleaning up the blood she just made a bigger mess by wiping it all over my arm. The biggest no-no she did was stick me with the same needle twice. I watched her as she used the same needle, but for some reason I couldn’t get my mouth to protest.

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On her fourth try she looked up at me, grins, and says “you have terrible veins, you could never be a drug addict.” I just stared back at her in complete shock, while she looks at me with the same big grin. Who says that? Yeah it’s funny, but what an odd thing to say. Maybe she was trying to lighten the situation since she was doing such a horrible job? That’s all I can think of. I’m still confused why that would be the first thing she thought of. Was she a drug addict? If so, it’s not my place to judge it just seems like an odd train of thought.

Are you a hard stick? Has anyone ever said something really odd to you while drawing your blood? I feel like I meet a lot of weird people, but maybe I just remember them more than other people. Let’s just file this one under a funny experience.

Lots of Love (and no drugs?),

Alyssa

 

 

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13 thoughts on “I Can’t Be a Drug Addict: Chronically Misunderstood

  1. Yep, same here. I have one semi-good vein in one arm, and if they mess that one up, (or try somewhere else first) is a disaster for me too! I tell them up front where to poke and usually they take my word for it, and they are grateful, because you cannot find any other vein in my arms at all! My left arm doesn’t bleed even if they get into a vein! It is really bizarre.
    I don’t remember ever getting asked about drug addiction, beside the standard questionnaire. I would contact her superior and explain the inappropriate behavior. It needs to be addressed during their next training session for sure!

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    1. That’s weird that you mention not bleeding because I do the same thing, even in a vein some times. I’m sorry your a hard stick too, it sucks. It’s good you know where to try first, I have one spot that’s better than most on my right arm, but it isn’t fault proof. We did report her to her supervisor not because of the odd comments, but the unhygienic and potentially harmful technique she used.

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  2. That s a bit of an odd thing to say but I think she probably was trying to lighten the mood, still weird though. I’ve had a lot of trouble with blood tests, one time I was there half an hour and got poked more times than I remember before they gave up. Recently they just go for my hand though depends on who does it. Apparently the ones in my arms are small and move a lot but the ones in my hands are great for it, not sure how that works but it saves time.

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    1. I’m sorry you have trouble with blood draws too. Unfortunately my hands aren’t much better, but they sometimes get it out of a knuckle on my right hand, which is kinda funny.

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  3. Wow that’s terrible. I don’t know the laws were you are, but in Ohio someone has two attempts to stick you, otherwise if they try more it’s considered assault. I have been asked if I have done recreational drugs before though when a nurse had trouble with an IV before. She wasn’t bad at her job I just had a lot of IVs and lots of blood drawn recently because I just had surgery and she had to ask the question because it’s part of hte history. You’re situation though…yea baddd…..very inappropriate and unprofessional. I have had people accuse me of being a drug addict though unrelated to being a hard stick. Just the whole chronic pain thing. Even if I don’t ask for pain killers and say I don’t want them doctors sitll automatically assume I’m a drug addict. It’s bizarre.

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    1. The two-attempt rule stands true here as well. In this particular situation it was the third place I went (the previous two couldn’t get it) and the tests we were running were important so I was willing to let her try. We asked if anyone else was there and she said everyone else had gone home. I’m sorry you’ve been accused of being a drug addict, that’s annoying. I’ve never been accused of that, I normal get the “have you drunken any water today?” Like I’ve never had my blood drawn and don’t understand hydration. I’ve noticed a lot of adults with chronic pain are automatically assumed to be seeking drugs, and I wonder if in a couple of years people will start to think the same of me strictly because of age. Being a teenager they usually assume I’m fine and I just don’t want to go to school. It’s interesting how age plays a role, but at the same time medical professionals still assume we’re lying in some capacity.

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      1. That stinks. They generally use vein finders on me at the Clinic and it ends up helping. Maybe suggest that next time if they have that available? Yea I think a lot of things play a factor, age, gender, different cultures. I know whenever I do go to the ER, which I can’t stand doing because I know there’s nothing they can do for me so I don’t go unless I’m in unbearable pain or worried that something is wrong, they look at me like…why are you here? Or when I tell them I have pain with a straight face they look confused but I have a high pain tolerance. And all my life I was taught to “tough it out” because I was a big sports player who played through numerous injuries and it’s just what you did in my family. So a lot of things factor and medical professionals are taught to take that into account, because while my LPN training didn’t teach me to factor all that in, my RN schooling has, but I think people let their own judgments get in their way and forget to be be unbiased and it’s a shame. Yes, there are people who are drug seeking, but regardless nurses and doctors sitll have to treat them because they may be in pain too. So it’s not their right to judge, it’s their right to treat and help as much as they can.

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        1. I agree that you have to treat patients no matter what. It sounds like your experience with chronic illness has been really helpful in your career. I often get the, you can’t be in that much pain you’re not crying, but I don’t cry very often. My response to pain has never been tears even as a child, but that seems to be something that doctors and nurses can’t understand. I’m sure many people go to ER’s seeking drugs, but I think the staff can be a little too skeptical at times.

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          1. I’ve always thought of myself as a good nurse, maybe not the most knowledgeable (then again I’m still a fairly knew nurse and learning things everyday), but very compassionate, and understanding and trying to see things from a patients perspective. And since having chronic pain and it’s only helped. The thing is though, even if a person is addicted to drugs, the doctors and nurses don’t know why/how they got addicted. Maybe they got addicted in the first place because they couldn’t get their pain under control. They just don’t know and they have to be treated. But yea, that’s why I always say the ER is the worst place for people like us to go, but unfortunately it’s not always avoidable and sometimes we have no choice to go there. The ER serves a great purpose to stabilize people, but sometimes they aren’t the most compassionate.

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  4. Trying to access a vein in my arm is like trying to find my feet after Thanksgiving dinner… It’s just not going to happen. lol but seriously they almost always have to stick me more than once. The worst is when they dig around like they’re looking for buried treasure or something.

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  5. I have tiny veins too! And they’re rolling veins which means they move more. I was getting a procedure done and they stuck me 7 times for the anesthesia.

    Also digging the Katya gif

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    1. Aw that sucks! I feel like everyone with chronic illness should automatically be blessed with good veins, but mine didn’t get that memo. That Katya gif can describe most moments perfectly😂

      Liked by 1 person

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