Blood vessels are slippery for a reason.

It’s time for that yearly check-up again.  Have you ever been a little frustrated when the venipuncture technician had trouble "finding your vein"?  Did they ever have to poke you more than once? Don’t you hate that?

Hand_veins_2 This is my hand.  They don’t have trouble finding my veins.  Sometimes I do have trouble finding the veins on my patients.  They can’t roll up their sleeves — for a routine yearly physical, most people are not crazy about you shaving their dog’s leg.  Plus some patients have an extra layer of fat around the leg that makes it more difficult to visualize or to feel the vessel.   Sometimes, though, the problem is not finding the vein.  The doggone thing just keeps slipping away from the needle.  Those things are slippery for a reason.  I guarantee you that if I cut my little hand, I’m glad that big nasty vein is very likely to slip out of the way instead of turning into a gusher.

Bloody_horse_2_2 We had some bad storms last night, and some of this mare’s barn blew off into the pasture.  We figure the metal siding is what sliced into her fetlock.  The vein did not slip out of the way.  This horse was streaming blood like a faucet running.  In this picture, we’re all sewed up and bandaged.  If you look closely, you can see a lot of bloody gauze on the ground.

It’s wounds like this that give me more patience when some vein is slipping around and doing its best to avoid my needle.  I wish that horse’s vein had been just a little more slippery…  I would have wound up wearing a lot less blood.

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