So one of my coworkers, who incidently is old enough to be my mother, came to the chemotherapy clinic with 20 years of nursing experience. She's a fantastic resource. But she's been working in home health and hospice for the last 19 years. Her clinical skills are not up to par.
Specifically, her IV-starting skills. I remembered bringing a new catheter home to start on The Hater and told her that I'd let her start an IV on me after the masses had left for the day. I thought it was karma and a genuinely nice thing to do for our patient population.
Unlike my experience with the IV catheters (see link above), she was already familiar with using the butterfly IV-caths. So she wanted to learn how to use the angiocath. It's more awkward to hold in your hands and has a smaller window for the blood to "flash back" into the catheter. Incidently, it's what I learned to start IVs with as a student.
I wrapped up in a heating pad and warmed myself for a while. Nurses do this for people with slinky veins to help them dialate and make it easier to start the IV. Even with the heating pad, I don't have great "teach me" veins. They're skinny and squirrel around (roll) when provoked. But they were willing, so she was going to have to make-do with the "teach me" experience.
She tried first on my left hand. She stuck me once and moved the catheter around for about two minutes. It wasn't excrutiating pain, but I did take lots of deep breaths. Meanwhile, I was trying to coach her on finding the vein. She decided to quit, and I took the catheter and started the IV on my left hand. But we had fooled around with it too much because it blew as soon as she connected the saline to it. Woe were we.
She was ready to throw in the towel, but I offered up my right hand as guinea pig #2. Heating pad, stick, squirrel, but lo! a blood return!! There was much rejoicing. Unfortunately, it blew, too. I left work with two fancy bandages on each hand.
And this morning I have two sexy, but matching bruises. I'll blend-in with my patients today. Maybe next week I'll let her try again.
(This is a picture that looks like the IV catheter she was using on me.)
(Whereas this is a picture that looks like the butterfly IV catheter I used on The Hater.)
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