The following letter will become part of my hospital kit with immediate effect. The reasons for the ban are described in detail in this post. Beware – if you have a serious needle phobia you might want to give it a miss.
To whom it may concern,
Subject: I-V drugs etc.
This is to inform you that I will not permit the intravenous administration of drugs or any other substance unless my life is demonstrably at risk. This also applies to PICC lines or any other device of a similar nature.
This also applies whether or not I am conscious. Failure to abide by this without a court order will result in legal action.
The reason for this is that last time I was admitted to APH in November 2013, i-v use was so enormously careless and in some cases so stupid and incompetent that it bordered on the criminal, and almost every accessible vein, in both hands and both arms, was damaged, some beyond recovery at the time of writing, causing me a great deal of pain and distress.
This will not be permitted to happen again.
In addition, I found the purging process to be excruciatingly painful, because my veins were so often blocked. Nurses and other staff refused to accept that was the case, which resulted in staggering displays of uncaring idiocy. One nurse tried to tell me it wasn’t pain I was feeling, it was just cold – do I really look that stupid? Another persisted in trying to purge a cannula that clearly wasn’t going to be purged, pain or no pain. Telling her to desist or I’d throw her out of the room was the only way to stop her. That vein, by the way, is still blocked.
I don’t know why my veins block when cannulae are used, but they do, and nurses and medical staff just do not listen to patients because they think they always know better. Well, I can assure you that, in this instance, they do not. This has happened far too much in the past; it will not be permitted to happen in the future.
The last straw was when a senior nurse (white uniform, blue trim, middle-aged), connected up my i-v via the electronic pump. Shortly afterwards it sounded an air-bubble alert and shut itself down. I pressed the nurse’s call button and settled in for the inevitable wait (the record stands at 2 hours).
The same nurse eventually turned up, by which time there was a large and visible crop of air bubbles in the line, so what did she do? She gathered all the plastic tubing into a ball, and squeezed! The resulting pressure pulse blew a small hole in my arm forward of the cannula, blew the cannula itself backwards (I still have the scar), and trashed the vein. As I said – criminal stupidity. Or malice – she clearly resented being disturbed in the middle of the night.
Finally, I was issued with anaesthetic cream, for one last try at getting blood. This needed to be applied at least an hour in advance. The junior doctors refused to wait that long and so, of course, the cream didn’t work. They were firmly asked to leave.
By the time I was discharged, the aversion to needles that has been a problem since childhood had been ramped up into a full-blown phobia. That is still the case. If I am able to control it sufficiently I will permit blood to be taken (by Phlebotomy staff only – see my file for the reason, April 2013). That is the limit of what I will permit.