I was at the hospital immunodeficiency clinic this morning for my two-week visit in the context of a study in which I am participating. The study is to measure the impact of a program of vaccinations on the CD4+ count and is not – for a refreshing change of pace – linked with proving that any particular pharmaceutical product is not worse than another.
Considering that I had twelve tubes to fill with my blood, I thought I would take advantage of this opportunity to share this part of my medical follow-up. Yes, this one is in the context of a study and involves a few more tubes of blood than usual – usual being more like seven or eight – but the process is the same.
Have a look, as long as you aren't squeamish about needles or blood:
Some notes about this process and its place in my life, perhaps?
I have blood draw for my usual follow-up every three months, but this will be a little more frequent while I am participating in this study. I have to be fasting for the blood work…no eating for 12-14 hours before going in.
I have 'travelling veins' (veines fuyantes), meaning that the process of finding one that will stay in place for the needle to pierce it and to get blood from it can be much more difficult than this was today. It is not unusual for it to take two or three tries to get the right thing happening. Good thing I'm not afraid of needles! In fact, I prefer to watch it go in, rather than looking away as some people do. Also on this veins issue: the phlebotomist (yes, that's the title, not vampire) does start with gloves on, but sometimes has to remove a glove in order to really locate the vein. She doesn't take other chances, though, so no possible needle stick contamination.
The contraption used is designed to make the process easier on me: a butterfly thingy around the needle with a flexible tube leading to the interface with the blood tubes. That way, when the vacuum tube is full and changed out for another, there is no jarring of the needle in my arm.
Thanks to my very able, kind and pleasant phlebotomist for allowing me to film about half of today's experience (I ran out of space on my camera's memory card).