A Hard “Start”

If you need an intravenous (IV) line inserted, do let the nurse know if you are a hard start.

I am. My veins are small and they tend to roll away, so getting a line in presents a challenge.

Monday was no different.

Even though I did advise the nurse and she covered my arm with a warm blanket, my veins still went into hiding. Three times lucky and she hit pay dirt – the gusher – the vein.

Another trick that a nurse once used was to wrap my arm in a warm blanket and let it dangle off the stretcher for a bit. Then, when she went “prospecting”, she was able to get a vein that was “willing”.

I wonder if this is a common problem with people who have rheumatoid arthritis.

Have you come across any other tricks to help start an IV?

Image courtesy of Wojciech Wolak.

4 Responses to “A Hard “Start””

  1. Yup – and Raynaud’s doesn’t help! Whenever I’m getting needle-poked (IV or blood work), I drink as much water as I can ahead of time. Veins shrink when you’re dehydrated. For bloodwork, I also let the tech know that a pediatric butterfly in the top of my hand has, in the past, been the best way to get ‘er done. Usually they thwap my inner elbow a few times, shake their heads, and go for the hand.

    For IVs where I’m off of food & water for 12 hours or so, I talk to them about my vein situation during my pre-op. There might not be anything I can do ahead of time, but having the info in advance usually helps them have what they need when I get there.


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