Scars Run Deep

Literally. After nasty emergency lung surgery last year; I am left with three reminders of my time in the hospital. Three scars adorn my body, leftovers of the camera, surgical instruments, and foot long chest tube that took up residence in my body for a time.

I’ve gotten used to them over the last few months. Used to the horrendous soreness they cause, the swelling, the itchiness as the incisions heal, the out-of-the-blue stabbing pain I still get that make me jump; their ugliness. They ain’t cute.

Recovery is a son-of-a-b, and I can now say that those three scars and me – well, we cool. What I didn’t expect was what happened today. I had to return to the hospital today for a procedure, which was bad enough. Being back in the place I almost died… well, that sucked. I did not lose my shit though.

For the procedure, I needed an IV and after five, yes FIVE tries and three different people including a specialist working my veins, they got that damn IV in. And with that, I found out I have another kind of scar. Beneath the surface I have scar tissue. Scar tissue from all the dozens of times I had an IV or blood taken while in the hospital for surgery and since then, for tests.

These new found scars prevent the IV from settling in without pain, and the needle/IV cannot be flushed and therefore my veins don’t work for drawing blood, or the reverse, when I need to intake something, like I did today. All of this results in poking me until they find a spot without scar tissue. It freaking sucks. I learned a few things today that may help someone else if you run into the same problem-o as me.

  1. When your doctor is filling out the requisition form, have them note that you require a specialist to insert the IV. Hopefully, this saves you from having multiple people poke holes in you… no one needs extra holes. Go straight to the specialist.
  2. Ask the person inserting the needle/IV to use a small needle, like a butterfly needle or the kind used for children. Not all needles are the same; get a smaller one if you can. In my experience, it’s less painful and a quicker insertion.
  3. To potentially “open up” your veins a bit more, ask for a warm towel to wrap around your arm. Not only should it help with the needle/IV insertion, it feels damn good.

And just a reminder, I’m not a doctor, or a magician, so this blog post is written from my POV and experience and under no circumstances should replace the professional advice, procedures, diagnosis, et. al of a doctor or other medical professionals.

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