An Unexpected Gift

I get so used to medical procedures being difficult for Ashley that when something good happens, it’s like receiving an unexpected gift. We received one of those gifts recently, and I want to publicly thank Carilion Labs and the wonderful folks who did blood work for Ashley yesterday afternoon.

Until recently, there was only one lab in our town for blood work. Even our local hospitals would use that one lab for most of their hospital lab tests. The problem with having only one company was that if that one company wasn’t exactly what a patient wanted, it was just too bad.

Ashley is a very tough kid for a blood draw. Because of all the medical procedures she has endured in the past, a great many of her veins are scarred or ‘blown’. Even the best of the lab techs would have a tough time finding a vein and then keeping it open long enough to get the amount of blood needed.

So, when Ashley’s neurologist suggested we might want to try a new lab company that had recently opened in our area, I was all for it. The lab hours were convenient, and the location was even more convenient. When we arrived, we were greeted warmly, and all our paperwork was handled very quickly. Then the moment arrived to put them to the test – to see how they would handle getting blood out of Ashley.

They called us back into a small cubicle and suggested Ashley just stay in her wheelchair. That was the first good thing they did. Trying to get Ashley to move to the blood stick station would have not gone over well at all, and probably would have required physical force from multiple people.

As they prepared the syringes and other supplies, the two techs in the room with us were talking very loudly – good thing #2, understanding Ashley’s significant hearing impairment.

They talked to Ashley, not through me – good thing #3, recognizing Ashley as her own person.

As they prepared Ashley for the procedure (alcohol wipe, tourniquet, etc.) they were also talking in a soothing tone and stroking her arm at the same time – good thing #4 to realize that touch is very important to someone who is blind and scared.

They continued to talk to her, telling her how beautiful she was and how brave she was – good thing #5, continuing to calm her when she was in a strange place with strange people.

The tech that had planned to do the needle stick asked me where the best place would be – good thing #6, listening to Mom.

Because in Ashley the best place right now happens to be the top of her wrist, the first tech said she was not the best at sticks there and suggested the other tech might want to take a look. That second tech was comfortable with wrist sticks and said she would be glad to do it – good thing #7, understanding one’s weakness and calling for reinforcements.

They were quick with the blood tube switches, and gently pulled the needle out of Ashley’s wrist. Still keeping their hands on her to calm her, they held pressure on Ashley’s wrist until she stopped bleeding. I had told them that Ashley hates bandaids and would not leave one on. They listened and opted for direct pressure instead – good thing #8, admitting they don’t always know best.

In less than 15 minutes, we were in, registered, had blood drawn, and were heading home. We have had so many blood draw nightmares in the past, that this one was almost a dream come true. I am so thankful that this new company has moved to our town, and so glad that we have found them.

Thank you, Carilion Labs!!

Deborah can be found writing here at 5MFSN every Wednesday, and can also be found at Pipecleaner Dreams.

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