I need an IV started once or twice a month, sometimes more often. This has been going on for a year now. It is getting harder and harder to get them started. 4 weeks ago it took three tries. Yesterday it took only one, but I was crying out in pain (it really burned) and ended up with tears streaming down my face. The nurse wanted to remove it but I didn't want to go through that twice so I had her keep going. Once the needle was in place, my vein spasmed shut. By concentrating on breathing and relaxing I managed to get the vein to open again. The blood draw they needed to do required a syringe to actually pull the blood out. However once the IV was hooked up and the meds were flowing in, I was fine for the next hour or so, and after it was removed.
Things I know already:
- be hydrated. Avoid caffeine and drink extra liquids in the hours before the IV will be started
- work on being physically relaxed despite pain and fear. Breathe deeply. Keep your eyes open.
- the body part where the IV will be started should be warm. They wrap me in a heating pad.
- if there is a spot where attempts have failed before, tell the nurse when that spot is being considered, "they tried that last time and couldn't get in" or "they tried that last time and got in but didn't get blood on a pull back" or whatever.
This rather small arsenal is not enough for me. I am very motivated to get these IVs started -- it's where the miracle goes in -- but the nurses really don't like pushing sharp metal into someone who is yelling ow and ouch, who is crying real tears, etc. And it's not the best part of my day. So, how can I make it go more smoothly?