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Poking in Vain

a blog by Krissi McVicker, May 22, 2012

I was sitting at the doctor’s office recently needing blood work for my thyroid. And as I prepared the nurse for the news of my stubborn veins, she looked worried. As she poked me and proceeded to move the needle under my skin, looking for the flow that started, but suddenly stopped, I winced. Then, as she poked my other arm and repeated the attempt, looking for a vein that would cooperate, I breathed deeply. Finally, after searching in my right arm again, the third poke was successful, and I sighed in relief.

Of course, I was reminded of the many, many pokes I had to endure during my six in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles. I remembered how many times I was pinched more than once, how many times I actually cried from the stinging pain, and how many black and blues I had spanned all down both arms. I remember very clearly how one nurse poked me three times in my arms, before resorting to my hand, telling me it would hurt less and not bruise. Then, she strongly cautioned me not to move. With this warning, my needle phobic mind had a panic moment and I yelped as she stuck me. And, it did hurt like hell and bruised pretty badly. I loathed that nurse for her lies, for breaking a trust I had with any medical staff from that point on. But that day wasn’t nearly as bad as the throbbing pain the anesthesiologist left in my hand when she stabbed me for the IV I needed just before my egg retrieval during my first IVF cycle. Other than labor pains and the resetting of my broken foot after a car accident, it remains one of the most painful moments I’ve had.

Am I trying to scare anyone pursuing intrauterine insemination (IUI) or IVF cycles? Of course not! My other egg retrievals had anesthesiologists with much better bedside manners. And, my blood draws weren’t all painful. And, now after going through it, I look back and know that it wasn’t really that bad. Even if you hate needles like I do and squirm at the sight of them, you, too, can get through this. When a nurse gets your blood quickly and painlessly during an infertility treatment, it’s a blissful moment; a moment you can appreciate even when you wish you weren’t there at all.

Sometimes, little pleasures will come among the miseries. Allow them to put a smile on your face. It’s the only things that keep hope alive.


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