Friday, April 09, 2010

Why does my arm still hurt?

On Friday, March 26, 2010, I had a most unpleasant experience at one of the Quest Diagnostics facilities when 3 different phlebotomists took a stab at drawing one tube of my blood for the VAP test. According to Wikipedia, and others in the know, a phlebotomist "is an individual trained to draw blood."
Phlebotomists collect blood primarily by performing venipuncture ... Specially trained phlebotomists collect arterial blood samples from the radial or ulnar arteries near the wrist. --Thank you Wikipedia.

That blood-drawing experience was such a "traumatic" one for me, that I wrote about it in my blog post, When success may be doubtful.

Well, today is Friday, April 9, 2010, a full two weeks since that faithful day. I am sitting here, shaking my head, and wondering, "Why does my arm still hurt?" That's precisely what I would like to know!

And, it is no ordinary hurt either. You see that day, as the third phlebotomist took her shot at my arm, she used two tight tourniquets on my arm above the crook of the elbow.  She told me she was using two.  I would not let the phlebotomists even look at my right arm as a blood-drawing source since I am still undergoing neuro-muscular therapy for the hand injury of December 9, 2009. That's when the trunk hydraulic struts failed and the trunk slammed on my working hand and forearm.

So this third phlebotomist stuck a needle in my arm in three different and distinct locations, all for one tube of blood.  It was about 10 days earlier that I went to a different Quest Diagnostics facility to have 5 tubes of blood drawn.  This picture is from that first visit and shows two bandaged locations.  One phlebotomist tried two separate locations, getting 2 tubes from the upper part of my forearm and 3 tubes from my hand.


On this picture you will also note a red arrow ... it is roughly indicating one of the spots where I am having pain seemingly from my last visit to Quest. You see the third phlebotomist, rather than using the butterfly, "tried a real needle in my forearm. OWEEE! Boy did that hurt." They heard me let out a loud noise across the entire facility. And, I think that very needle, stuck in the wrong location, is part of the reason for why my arm is still hurting.

In the past couple of weeks, I've spoken to my hubby, my primary care physician, my neuro-muscular therapist, my acupuncture doctor, and finally my mom to tell them something is NOT right about my forearm. I've described it as a really pronounced "pulling" or "stretching" type of feeling with a "ow factor" in that forearm location indicated by the red arrow.  I've asked if they think I might have a nerve impingement, or if something else is going on.

My therapist said it would take a little time, but he thought me and my poor arm would be feeling better soon.  When I saw my mom and her friend Maureen at Easter, Maureen said she thought the phlebotomist might have "blown a vein" in my forearm.  I've mentioned to my hubby that the sensation is very similar to the feeling I had when my Achilles tendon was torn ... like a torn tendon or a tendon stretching or pulling.

I'm pretty concerned about the fact that not only do I have that weird type of pulling/stretching sensation, but there is some pain specific to that forearm location with swelling and pain at the outer side of the elbow crook with more pain and tightness and yet more pain in my biceps. I am pretty "protective" of my left arm as it has undergone a couple of surgeries to repair and later debride a pretty serious SLAP tear. And, there are 3 titanium anchors reattaching the biceps muscle to my shoulder.

This past week, I spent much time Googling to find if anyone had experienced an injury to their forearm from a visit to their phlebotomist.   I've studied the makeup of the forearm and tried to understand why in the world a needle was stuck into that place in my forearm.  I'm thinking, "it sure is looking difficult to find any vein in that spot."

Is this NOT crazy, I ask? I'm feeling a bit frustrated at the moment. I've tried to find definitive answers on the internet, but seem to be finding circular medical references. It makes me think I should be writing a very focused Squidoo lens, but now both my hands and/or arms have been impacted. I have a headache about the whole thing. This past week I stopped my therapy for my right hand injury as I need to put a lid on dealing with any more STUFF, you know!

"OMG, what am I going to do about my arm?" I asked my hubby at dinner last night. Geez was he ever frustrated with me! "You probably need to see an orthopedic doctor," he said.

"For heaven's sake!" I am saying! Oh, and UNCLE already.

3 comments:

Christine P. said...

The really, really bad part of pain is that no one else can feel it. Meaning simply that when you describe your pain, it doesn't really mean as much to them. It seems people get frustrated because you continue to complain...they don't feel it so they just simply don't get it. Frustrating!

Hope it magically goes away, and FAST.

Jaguar Julie said...

Well, Christine, I'm not going around continually complaining. I know it probably sounds like I am. But, I've had several doctors' appointments since that faithful day and it comes up in the roll call of the conversation.

What's interesting, for the most part, is that my hubby was pretty uninformed that I was having so much pain over the past few months. I just don't talk about it. For the most part, I write about it as a form of venting and hoping to get to the bottom of what is going on.

Thanks for dropping by and offer your support. I do appreciate it. Hugs!

Lillian said...

You know what really bugs me.....if you hire a lawyer and he does not perform to what you consider the service promised, you can notify the Bar Association of your complaint. BUT, let someone in the medical profession, no matter what the treatment, do you harm and not give satisfactory service and you are out of luck. Of course, you can always get a lawyer.