The phlebotomist

This is not directly about Stroke it is more about hospitals and medical matters, more specifically, it is about blood.

This morning I had an incident. It has happened before without any untoward consequences.

I was at the table with my wife and about to tuck into a bowl of cereal.
The doorbell rang and my wife ushered in a young woman wearing a nurses uniform and carrying a bag and some equipment.
‘I have come to take some blood’ she explained.
I said something that I have said a few times and immediately wished I had kept quiet.
‘I don’t part with my blood readily,’ I said and probably made the whole process more difficult.
The nurse began the proceedings to take a sample and as she did my wife said, ‘He does pass out sometimes too’.
The nurse pushed the needle in, I winced. She stirred the needle this way and that but without a result. She pulled the needle out and immediately blood started to come out from the puncture hole. She slapped a piece of cotton wool on the place where the blood came from, but it continued to flow. ‘Yes, I am on blood thinners I told her’.
She taped the cotton wool on my arm and inserted a canular type thing in the back of my hand. I don’t remember what happened next apart from saying I was feeling woozy.
Hilary says I went deathly white, in fact she did think I was dying and the nurse shouted ‘Call for an ambulance now!’. Apparently I went into spasm, stiffening up and almost falling out of the wheelchair. Apparently the operator said there was a rush on and the ambulance might be delayed. Nevertheless an ambulance did arrive swiftly.
I am a little unsure about the order of events over the next stage but I think I began to regain conciousness and was able to answer the questions of the ambulance personel. They performed a number of tests and asked more questions. I began to feel nauseous, but this was on an empty stomach. After a minute or two the feeling subsided.
I asked to be allowed to lie down on my bed and then felt a little better. The ambulance people prepared to leave, but told us that if there was any change for the worse we should immediately ask for an ambulance again.
As it turned out after they were gone I was able to rest and had a few hours sleep, after which I arose and had a late breakfast.

I have passed out on other occasions, while having blood taken, even sometimes at the mere mention of blood. Usually this has involved ‘fainting’ then returning to everyday conciousness relatively quickly. This time it was far more dramatic and more prolonged.
I face a dilemma, should I mention this when it seems appropriate or keep it to myself in the hope that it will be less likely to occur? This is undoubtedly a psychological factor that has been with me for, as far as I can recall, all my life.

I don’t usually have to deal with blood. Despite the drama it does appear trivial to me. However I do regret the disturbance it causes to those around me.

I feel much better now and as I always say,

Keep on keepin’ on.
:grinning: :+1:


Hi Bob.
I’m sorry you have been in this predicament. As someone previously at the other side and needing to keep the important person safe I would say it would be better to disclose that you have a tendancy to faint Maybe write it down on a card and you can just produce so you don’t have to recount it all. It should be recorded in your notes anyway but you don’t know if the person told to do the deed has seen them.
Faints can be quite scary to witness and certainly horrible to experience.
Always insist on being semi reclined, make sure your blood glucose isn’t very low, a sweet drink is sufficient.
I’m not a fainter with needles and blood but a squealer, and no matter how I try and control it it doesn’t work.
Hope you find something that works for you and my very best wishes, Julia x


@Bobbi what a day you’ve had. No wonder Hilary has banned you from tonights zoom.

I am with @Ingo66 & @JuliaH in that you should mention it at the appropriate time. They can then take the necessary precautions to ensure your safety.

I bet you gave @HHilary a bit of a scare & the phlebotomist.

Take it easy.

Ann xx

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Hi Bobbi, what an eventful day, very scary for everyone. Glad to hear you survived the experience. As everyone has said it’s worth giving the nurses the heads up when you next need to have blood taken. Less stressful for everyone involved.

Luckily I don’t mind needles or blood and was a regular blood donor for years before my stroke (unfortunately I’m not allowed to give blood anymore, not sure why ? ).

Might be worth taking it easy for a day or two.

Take care and keep on keeping on. Regards Sue

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that reference to Doc Martin has never occurred as a connection in my mind, but yes spookily similar, Don’t really want to think about that.

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Can’t match the ambulance & passing out but the practice nurse took bloods from me this morning.
I’d made sure I was well hydated, took the wife with me and didn’t look at anything going on tool it was over. She was good (hardly felt anything) but greed, took loads of phials,
Survived the process
No idea why I’m squimish about it

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There’s a book in you @Bobbi I’m sure if it!

Shwmae @Bobbi, ditto, I have passed out while having blood taken, and I am sure those experiences have exacerbated subsequent attempts at vampirism. My last general check up a few months ago had me flushed of colour, being laid down on a bed and having the GP surgery nurse provide me with water and a fan to cool me down. I know well how you feel about it.


@ZX1 that is exactly what happened,
no warning and I didn’t think,
O Noooo! Its Friday the Thirteenth !
It was like one of those movies where you shout at the screen and nobody hears you.

I need to check if there was/is a full moon.
This is very troubling.

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Hi @Bobbi - sorry to hear about your bloods - it is something that you have to do and I suppose it never gets any easier, but sometimes it can be down to the nurses as well?

My eldest grandson (now 12) gives blood every couple of weeks, he has had 14 operations now and this is the same number as my own but I can say Im 53 years older than him so know the score at hospitals.

He was rushed in with sepsis a few weeks ago and was so upset as the nurse couldn’t get blood - five times she tried and when I went to see him he was fuming! the nurse had tried back of left hand right hand, both arms and the left arm again. We went to his regular hospital for bloods last week, and he told the nurse and she said that some are trained to feel for the pulse of the vein and others just go for it.

I always tell my grandkids to make circles with the arms so that blood rushes into them before a test, it usually works👍

Hope you’re feeling a bit better now Bobbi.

Take care, John


Thanks for the sympathy, Bert. I’m feeling much better now. I’ll try to remember your advice, thanks for that too. I’m lucky in that they don’t often want blood from me. I hope your grandson is soon up and fighting fit. There’s too much to do when you are young, messing about being ill shouldn’t be something they have to cope with.
All the best to you and yours, Bert.

Keep on keepin’ on
:smiley: :+1:

@Bobbi sounds horrific. my suggestion is always tell someone