Please leave on medical side.
All phlebotomists are not created equal. I am sure most of you know this. I have difficult veins and in my more timid days I would sit there, close my eyes and grimace in pain as they dug around in my arm trying to hit the vein. Oh, it is rolling, Oh it is deep, Oh, where did it go, Oh I went through it, let me just pull up....stab, stab, stab, stab... and on and on. Sometimes I would walk out of the lab with my arm hurting and when I removed the wrap, a black and blue mark an inch long. Sometimes on both arms, as they dug around until they were successful. Very rarely would a tech ask someone else to draw me – I think it is a badge of honor to succeed.
I am not timid anymore. I am almost done with my second round of tx – 48 weeks this time, and 56 weeks last time, and in both rounds my blood levels were low, requiring the weekly CBCs, so I have had lots of time to observe techs and their styles. At LabCorp where I go every Wednesday at 7:15 AM, I know all the phlebotomists well. I request the ones I want and tell the person at the front desk definitley not so-and-so. It was a little embarrassing at first but I don’t have to say a word anymore. Some just astound me with their expert skill level. It does make a difference.
Today I had no choice – they were short handed and I was drawn by a new person and I have a nasty black & blue mark. With one of my favorites, I will have only the tiniest of red spots, not visible as a blood draw a few hours later. I am in the closet at work and don’t like to have noticeable bruises on my arms.
A couple of other tips –
- a butterfly needle is not necessary with a good phlebotomist. They have no problems with a 22 gauge needle and it does not leave a big mark
- Do not let them use a cotton ball and a bandaid on your arm. I prefer the gauze – flat not wadded up – and the stretchy gauze stuff around my entire arm– tight. The bandaids are too loose in my opinion to prevent bruising.
- If I don’t know the skill level of the tech, I give them what I know is the easier of my arms. Sometimes tell them – left arm is hard, right arm is easier – you decide.
The point is, be assertive. It makes a world of difference. Since I do think good service deserves recognition, I plan on tipping my favorites nicely in 4 weeks when I am finally done with this. They have helped me immensely on this journey.