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June 20, 2007

Blood draw bliss?

Blood_draw_sm Have you ever seen two children happier about having had their blood drawn?

Here's the full story:  I had a routine physical yesterday and got a lab slip for some blood work which I carried out to the van and stuck in the door pocket next to the other FOUR lab slips that I've carried around for the last 8 months!  Those  lab slips were for Gwen and Maddy's blood work. 

We've not taken care of this even though we know we should have.  Our excuse isn't good, but it's honest:  We are wimps.

When Gwen was 15 months old and home from China for less that one week, we took her to see our Pediatrician.  She seemed to be healthy and happy but we wanted to be sure so we took her to the lab for a blood draw to check titers and other things.  IT WAS THE WORST EXPERIENCE EVER!  The poor baby fought for her life and five lab techs couldn't hold her down for the blood draw.  She cried like she was being eaten alive by polar bears wearing snowy white lab coats!  After twenty minutes, we gave up and took our traumatized little baby girl home.  To be safe, we just repeated all of her immunizations rather than subject her to a blood draw to see if they were necessary.  This seemed like a good alternative since our Pediatrician recommended repeating the immunizations anyway!

Fast forward one year to Maddy's adoption physical.  She's also happy and healthy but the Pediatrician gave us lab paperwork to have a blood draw to check for Hep B, aids, and titers.    That was 10 months ago and I was still carrying around that paperwork in the door of our van.   

When is the "right" time to subject your child to being stabbed with a needle that must remain stuck in their skin until all the blood needed for the test is sucked out?  How do you explain the necessity of THAT to your baby?  Yes!  I know we're wimps and should have just sucked it up and did what was necessary long ago but we (mostly I), just couldn't.

I used the convenient excuse that we needed both parents to be available for this blood letting.  I reasoned that we'd need Daddy to hold/comfort injured daughter #1 while Mommy held/comforted injured daughter #2.  But Daddy was super busy at work and it was easy to just keep pushing this task further and further into the future. 

Finally, Daddy took a business trip to Italy (damn him!)  (just kidding, Darling!) and Mommy was was left home alone with the girls and forced to come face to face with all those lab slips in the door of her van.    I was getting MY blood drawn today.   The big question remained:  Would Gwen and Maddy finally get their blood drawn too?  We'd be there and we'd have the lab slips.  What was there to lose?  It was worth a try.

Erica, our Phlebotomist, called us into her lair and offered us a seat in the chair with the little slidey shelf/table thing that swings around to support the arm that's being poked.  Mommy went first. The girls watched from their double stroller about 18 inches away.

Erica tied the rubber tourniquet to my right arm then counted to three and jammed the needle into my vein.  I smiled and explained to my wide-eyed children that "Mommy is holding very still and it doesn't hurt!"   Within 30 seconds, we were done and Mommy got the coolest Daffy Duck band-aid you ever saw in your life!  My kids were STOKED and wanted one of those!  Gwenny shrieked "My turn, my turn!" and was lifted out of the stroller to sit on Mommy's lap for Her Turn.  Maddy protested because she thought SHE should be next.

Gwen was eager to get the tourniquet on her arm.  She made a fist and was cool as a cucumber until Erica counted to three and jammed that needed into HER arm.  Then she let out a whimper while Mommy did some super fast talking about the cool band-aid that was almost hers!  Just 15 more seconds and we'd be done.  And we were!  And the needle was out and the band-aid was on and it was JUST like Mommy's!  Two big, round, tears sat in the middle of each of her cheeks as I put her back into the stroller to enjoy her "prize".

By this time, Maddy was howling from the stroller because she wanted a turn.  She sat in my lap and grabbed the tourniquet and tried to apply it to herself.  She kept saying "On, on, on!"  Erica was getting all the stuff prepared and finally was ready to draw Maddy's blood.  We needed more of Maddy's blood since we were checking titers in addition to all the usual stuff.  Erica counted to three and pushed the needle into Maddy's vein and Maddy gave a half whimper and then settled down and watched, in amazement, as her blood spiraled up the tiny tube into the vial.  She was so curious about it all and not the least bit disturbed by the fact that a pokey thing was sticking into her skin!   She didn't cry at all and, when it was over, she was thrilled to see the special Daffy Duck band-aid appear.   

The girls did SO good that Erica gave each of them three more band-aids!  Each!

When we got home, I asked the girls if I could take a picture of their band-aids and this is what I came up with.  They were very eager to show off their "prizes"! 

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