Yesterday was my 2nd scheduled Zometa infusion and blood draw at the Onc office. I was really fine heading in. A nurse came out and talked to me in the waiting room about if and how much saline I wanted to do this time. When I was called back, I was in fine spirits and a talkative gentleman in the chair next to mine struck up an instant conversation. He has stage IV colon cancer, and is responding well to chemo.
A medical assistant came to take my vitals. I was talking to my chair neighbor, and didn't notice until the stupid auto blood pressure machine squeezed my forearm twice, unsuccessfully, that I had let her put it on my left arm, and hadn't noticed because I was talking. Then I got irritated and told her WRONG ARM and get a bigger cuff or forget it. What good is a medical assistant certificate if you can't take blood pressure the real way? She said, oh yes, I have a bigger cuff...and successfully got a reading on my upper right arm. Luckily I don't have lymphedema problems.
I was still OK, and chatting with my neighbor, when the REAL nurse came to do the needles. I showed her where my good/preferred vein was and looked away, as I can't watch needle stuff.
I don't know what she hit or missed, but her first stab HURT! And not just the initial jab, but kept on hurting! This is the instant button for me to cry. I asked, through my tears, if this was for the IV, just to make sure we were on the same page, and because I thought surely the pain would stop soon. She said, no, she was taking the blood first. I thought she meant she was drawing the blood with a needle, and would then poke me again for the Zometa IV.
Insert mini-melt-down here. I was crying quite pathetically. She kept telling me to calm down, that I was clamping down and she couldn't get the vein to work while I was clamping down. The pain continued, while I still looked away, and I assumed that all the fiddling she was doing was drawing the blood. I was sobbing. That's how I am with needles. I went on a tirade about the reason I was having my blood drawn here was to be poked only once, that I had only two veins to last the span of whatever life I have left. She tiraded back that no one can guarantee that I will only have to be poked once, which really confused me, and made me more angry. I tiraded that if I couldn't have the blood draw and Zometa infusion in the same needle, that I wasn't going to do either! I was sobbing and kind of yelling.
While I sat there with my arm wrapped in the heating pad, my neighbor asked if I needed anything. (still dabbing my eyes with tissue) I said, "no, unless you have some Valium on you", and then remembered that I DID have Valium on me! I popped a Valium and calmed down quickly, then moved to closed off/vegetative state. The nurse came back and got the needle in, drew the blood and started the saline. The rest of the infusion went off without incident, though I did not go back to chatting, and kept my head down over a crossword puzzle, cuddling the heating pad.
After I checked out, I went back into the chemo room and apologized to that nurse for over-reacting. She said it was OK, that we'd get through this together.
Well, maybe so, but I wont be getting through it together with HER anymore. I have no qualms with her skill (though now I know to specify that if the needle person doesn't get the vein at first, NO FISHING! Pull it out and try again), I did not appreciate at ALL her attitude. I don't know the name of the nurse who did my infusion last month, but I want her again, or the blond one who is nice. If you work in a chemo room, then you need to be able to handle crying tirades with the patience of a pediatrics specialist; I have Stage IV cancer and I'm not happy about it, and I hate needles. HATE! Traumatic! Stemming back to being six years old in the hospital. Lifetime traumatic relationship with hypodermics. I don't need to be berated for tensing up or clamping down, or TOLD that I need to calm down. I know the nurses rotate within the office, and the same people are not always in the chemo room, but I intend to ask that I NOT have this particular person again.
I'm a big baby with needles, and if you're not good at it, or can't treat me like the baby that I am, then I don't have time for you. She asked me if I'd considered a port. I looked at her incredulously and said, "A port for Zometa??" A port is still a poke, though there's no hit or miss with it. And I don't want a port unless/until I have to do chemo. I'm not THAT wimpy.
Agreeing to do Zometa was a BIG DEAL for me, and I worry about the side effects and possible side effects, and I worry that it's administered by IV.
I want a nicer nurse next time. One who can still explain things to me if I panic or cry. I don't think that's too much to ask. I have a list of names at the local lab of phlebotomists who can find my veins without fishing or trying twice. I don't doubt the skills of the chemo nurses; they are the most skilled in the biz, but I expect nicer treatment and a little compassion.
I iced my arm when I got home. There was a weird bubbled up place in between the two needle holes. I iced it off and on all evening, and it's not swollen this morning, just bruised and a bit sore.
On a better note, no fever and chills last night. I am achy today, joint pain, but I was happy to wake up and not have had any fever and chills.