Friday, August 5, 2011


Somewhere in Seattle there's a nurse with a crushed hand. My fault. She was holding my hand while another nurse was trying, for the third time, to get an IV line in.

Why was I holding hands with a nurse? Because Kelley wasn't there.

I hate IVs. I have a bad history (several long stories that I'm not going to go into here). My veins are very hard to find, and, when you do find them, they tend to collapse. I have the vasovagal thing. So when a person holding a needle and a bag of saline gets close I either pass out or go to flight/fight. Kelley can usually quell this instinct with a look: You're a grownup! But this time Kelley wasn't allowed in the room.

In the US it's frowned upon to actually restrain one's patient with shackles, so to keep me still when my survival instincts kicked in (I had thoughtfully warned the team) a bunch of nurses were attempting to smother me with kindness: cuddly heated blankets to bind my legs, oxygen cannula to keep my head still, one nurse hanging on one arm, one on the other, one hovering as backup. "What lovely soft skin you have!" said the one holding my hand with a fixed smile as I ground her bones to dust. "Why can't I get a blood return?" the other muttered, stabbing and rootling around in yet another vein. Being a civilised human being (Kelley was close enough for her pheromones to remind me I really am a grownup) I channelled my instinct--to maimkilldestroy Stabby Nurse--into crushing Smiley Nurse's hand while my blood pressure, normally 90/60, shot up to 152/88.

It turned out okay. We're all still here. Mostly. (I have very strong hands--though, y'know, lovely and soft.)

I told you a few weeks ago that I had health stuff going on. I can now report that after every test, probe, scan, and exam known to medicine, no one is really any the wiser. (I am, however, rather irritable, bruised, and behind schedule.) Diagnosis: as well as MS (duh), I have "undifferentiated spondyloarthropathy which includes enthesitis, tendonitis, and polyarthritis. Unknown trigger. Sub-optimal control." This is a fancy way of saying, Wow, you swelled up one night and hurt a lot and we don't know why but it seems to be going away so let's hope it doesn't ever come back: interesting! (A/k/a yupyupyupyup.) I'm also anaemic, with no readily apparent cause. (My doctors have two equally unlikely--in my opinion--theories: an unfindable AV malformation, and/or malabsorption as a result of one of the drugs I take.) Apart from that I'm healthy as a carthorse. Course of action: Change that one drug, take Mondo Iron three times a day, and get another blood test in three months. Thank you, that will be $4,000.

Right now I feel fine. Benevolent, even. But if ever you're tempted to get close holding a cannula-over-needle device, bear in mind that after a few months of eating the Eiffel Tower one piece at a time I will be able to crush your spine with my little finger. My lovely soft little finger.

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