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Thursday, March 10, 2016

How to (Survive) a Routine Blood Test with Your Child

No pictures were taken during the event in
question, the blood test...

For the same reason very few pictures are taken at restaurants:
Not enough adults hands are available!

Tips for better blood draw
Recommended blood tests for T21

Don’t let the word “routine” fool you - there is nothing routine about drawing blood from a child. Especially a cantankerous one with translucent veins. Such as myself.

Mommy knows that she should push for blood tests more often, at least every six months, as in my condition things such as leukemia, hypothyroidism and vitamin and mineral deficiencies can creep up unexpectedly. But as you can see by the sporadic posting on this blog, life gets the better of us and mommy doesn't have enough hands, brain cells or secretaries to stay on top of all of our divergent and ever-present needs. So she doesn’t fight for more than an annual blood test at this point.

The links show you how to physically prepare your child for the blood test. But the following list, composed by mommy and abba, shows how to emotionally and physically prepare yourself for my blood and other lab tests.

  1. Get referral from doctor (preferably without child present). Go armed with list and printouts of all information backing up your reasons for requesting certain tests. Usually this type of research, if you are like mommy, must begin a month in advance and lots of time on Google.
  2. Spend the next two weeks psyching yourself up for taking me to the lab.
  3. After those two weeks, spend the following week coordinating mommy and daddy’s work schedules, school schedules, therapies, errands and praying that no cars break down or a child stays home sick one of those days.
  4. Pack food for me for after the blood test. I dislike everything you serve me, but since I will have to fast that morning I will want to eat anything - before we leave the house and I will duly protest in the same manner I protest when you do try to serve me food.
  5. On said day of the rush to the lab, pray that I pee in a cup. Prepare to spend up to 45 minutes plying me with water and the iPad while holding a cup precariously beneath me. Remember, getting stressed only causes urine to retreat into the body, so maintain your cool despite spending almost an hour in the bathroom while siblings are running around the house unfed and still in pajamas.
  6. Give up and try again the next day. 
  7. Three days later, after I finally urinate into the cup, rush off to the lab with raucous celebration.
  8. Entertain me in the waiting room and then in the lab while waiting for the attendant to assemble all the flasks. Act cool like nothing painful or bloody is about to take place.
  9. Pick a strategy: distract and entertain or coax and coddle. Neither work, but you have to pick a tactic. 
  10. Two adults pin my body prone (or try) so that the needle doesn’t come out spurting blood around the lab. 

And yay! It’s over! And just like that, realize most of my tears were false.

  11. Remove flask of alcoholic beverage from your pocket and down a few shots to calm your frazzled nerves. I’m fine by now and I don’t even want the snacks you packed!

You may spend the rest of the day feeling guilty that you didn’t do enough in advance for the lab worker to find my vein. Or that you didn’t hold my legs strong enough to prevent her from getting clocked in the groin by my foot. By accident. But at least you don’t have to worry about it until next year when a different guilt reminds you to do this all over again!

Remember the Law of Babies: Routine blood test = game of chess with your schedules, your emotions, your physical prowess and your fine motor skills with a pee cup. Don't kid yourself about routine.

And good luck!

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