The Torture Chamber: A1c Blood Draw

This week I have the lovely task of getting my blood drawn for my next endocrinology (diabetes doctor) appointment. I have to get it drawn so that my doctor and I can make sure that everything is working properly. She usually checks for general things, such as, my vitamin D level (which has been low), kidney functions, but most importantly it checks my A1C levels. A1C is basically a measurement of where my blood sugars have been for the last 3-4 months. I hate being uber negative on here, but I hate getting my blood drawn. I usually pass out and feel foolish because I cannot handle the blood being pumped out of me.

I will never forget the first time I got my blood drawn. I was in the lab at the hospital sitting in a chair in a poorly lit room. Tears began to well up in my eyes as I looked at my mom because I didn’t want to have to do this. Then the tech brought in a little boy most likely around the age of 5 or 6, he was getting blood drawn too. He was strong and confident not making a peep. I envied him. While he was sitting there braver than ever they tied the rubber band around my arm and panic set it. But I was too embarrassed to throw a fit when the small child next to me was doing so well. The tech commented on my veins being good and then quickly jabbed the needle in one of the “good” veins. I don’t know what she meant by having a good vein, but now when I get my blood drawn I point the tech to my good arm with the good vein. I survived the initial prick, the panic began to reduce, I kept thinking to myself I can do this…I can do this…I’m doing this… then the world around me began to spin and go dark and I realized….I wasn’t doing as well as I thought. The techs helped me up and laid me down on a bed so I could recover. I felt like a total and complete idiot as the little boy in the chair next to me left with a sticker and a smile. I left with a tear stained face and hurt pride.

I still pass out. Not every time, but often enough that I bring something to drink with me and usually request to be laying down. I always show the tech my “good” vein so that she will only need to stick me once. Then I usually tell the tech how I am not good at getting my blood drawn and that I will be talking to her the entire time, just not looking in the direction of the needle. This method has worked very well for me, until recently. Recently, the thing that has been getting to me is the sound of my blood squirting into not just one vial, but also several. The moment that splashing noise begins the world starts to spin. I just don’t understand how my body has not just gotten used to this, I feel like I have gotten used to everything else concerning my diabetes, why is this so hard. I am almost 25 I should have the hang of this by now, but to be quite honest with you I am failing miserably.

I will wake up Friday morning, drive across the street to quest diagnostic (most likely still in my pjs) and wait until they call me back into that little room of torture. The techs are great, super nice, and I think they like my asking questions about them versus just talking about myself as I try to ignore the noise of blood squirting out of my arm. Usually, after they are done bleeding me I will ask to lay on the floor with my legs up and drink my juice. Once I know I can drive, I usually will get in my car drive across the street and tell my hubs about the adventure at the lab. We will see how it goes. Wish me luck!

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I totally agree with you - I can stick myself with needles and pods for the past 30 years but when I go to the vampire lab, I can not even watch the tech do it. And why do they need soo many vials?? Good Luck!

I don't pass out but I have a hard time looking when somebody else pokes me and flinch when I think it's coming.

When I'm taking my insulin or checking my own bg? No problem, no flinch at all.

Some tell me this means I'm a "control freak".

When I was diagnosed (over 30 years ago) there was no fingerstick bg testing and the hospital lab would come take blood out of a vein, run it down to the lab, and come back with a bg measurement maybe an hour or two later. Stone Knives and Bearskins!!!

I've been poked by others so often I have stopped worrying. You have to admit the blood nurses are so gentle, they slide the needle in so carefully. Be very glad you have good veins and don't need to be poked a lot. Hugs, Maureen

I am 65. Four years ago I finally was able to have blood drawn without freaking out. The reason? I have neuropathy bad enough that I can't feel the needle. Before, it offended every cell in my body. Unfortunately this benefit does not extend to IVs. My veins just disappear and it takes them forever. By the time one of the nurses successfully inserts the IV, we're all crying. The only little boy I ever ran into at the blood lab could be heard screaming at the entrance door way down the hall, with BOTH of his parents dragging him. Everyone in the entire waiting room wanted to run. I saw the same boy there twice, hopefully never again. Too bad you can't just go in, faint before they start, and wake up when it's over. Anyway, you have my sincere sympathy.

i always have bad luck with my blood usually takes them 2-3 times to find a veins are very hard to find! I'm usually crying by the second time they try..but it's ok I do better now then when I was a kid..back then they had to hold me down to take my blood.

Okay, perhaps I'm about to say something really stupid, but here goes anyway. If it is truly the sound that messes you up, have you tried doing something to make it impossible to hear, such as (for example) listening to music on headphones? It may be unlawful when driving a car, but I'm pretty sure you're allowed to do it when having blood drawn . . . :)

Oh my. I have never noticed any sound when the blood fills the vacuum tube. Do you request that you are lying down before they even draw the blood? It would be terrible to faint and then fall and injure something.
The sound that I do not like is the click from the lancing device. There's gotta be a way they can make one that's bit softer sounding.

I usually ask to lay down because I know I get faint. I am a little stubborn and I like the lab that is down the street from my house. But it doesn't have a bed :( I could go down to the other lab that has a bed, but I like my lab.