Saturday, March 19, 2011

My arm hurts: the saga continues

I posted earlier in the week about how my doctor's office does these remarkably painful blood draws. I had one of them on Monday, with a tech who'd apparently been there for 20 years, and was in so much pain, I couldn't sleep that night. Finally, now that it's Saturday, it feels better.

But while I was in the shower this morning, I noticed an interesting bruise on my arm where they did the blood draw:



I've certainly had bruises from blood draws before, but this one baffled me. Why is there one central bruise then another one so high up? Does this offer any clues to what went wrong?

13 comments:

  1. my friend scott, after donating blood one time, went and lifted weights (specifically biceps), like a IDIOT. next day, painless ecchymosis all the way from wrist to shoulder on the flexor sides. looked horrible, like a cadaver arm. grossed all his coworkers out. took like 6wks to resolve.

    ANYWAY my guess is you had some SQ bleeding from the site like he did? did you happen to lift biceps the next day? :)

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  2. No, no biceps curls for me :)

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  3. needle went all the way through the vein...since it would have been a fairly acute angle, you have a bruise anterior from the entry into the vein and a bruise higher up from the (oops) posterior puncture. Its possible to draw blood after going all the way through by just pulling back a bit (in fact a fairly common technique in some places).

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  4. Mary: So you're saying their "technique" is to go through the vein??

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  5. I'm with Mary... that looks pretty similar to the bruise I got when I was first learning phlebotomy and someone in my class drew me as her first or second stick. They likely went through the vein instead of into it, and probably irritated a nerve, which is why it hurt so much when it happened.

    And I think she's saying that when they go through the vein, they pull back a little, rather than pulling out and starting a new draw. Their technique isn't going through the vein, it's pulling the needle out a little to access the vein.

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  6. I'm not sure why it keeps happening at this one place though. Apparently the phlebotomists have "decades of experience."

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  7. It means your arm will fall off within 48 hours.

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  8. I thought I posted a comment but I don't see it. Conspiracy!

    A professor at my med school got compartment syndrome once during a blood draw. He showed us his scars during our phlebotomy clinic.

    I am not saying you have compartment syndrome. I am just sharing the fear, since he scared the crap out of us.

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  9. I think you have meningococcaemia and better get some Rocephin into you.

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  10. MomTFH: You posted the comment on my other "arm hurts" thread. I can see it's important for you to know I could get compartment syndrome though ;)

    Anyway, I'm glad to have proven that the phlebotomist did sort of screw up the blood draw and it wasn't just me being a total baby.

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  11. I am vindicated! Looks like the blood leaking out the back of the through-and-through puncture tracked up your cephalic vein.

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  12. Ugh. I had one like that that followed the vein nearly all the way up my arm after a draw. It hurt for a week and took a couple to clear up. Hope it fades quickly!

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  13. Ha ha! Make sure you do a follow up post on this, so I can comment about compartment syndrome again. Just in case I didn't make this worst case scenario possibility crystal clear yet.

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