I am not sure anyone likes them, but after undergoing a planned cesarean when I had my daughter years ago, I had a bad experience with an I.V. and since then, I have been squeamish about them. When going into a hospital, there are times that you cannot act in your own best interest. It is best to bring an advocate with you.
I went into the hospital for a planned hysterectomy a few weeks ago. I had two I.V.s because the surgeon was using robotics and in case something happened with one I.V. during surgery, the medical crew could easily switch medications to the other one.
As the nurse was hooking up the first port, my mother and I were talking about the fact that I was a writer and the operation would be an experience that I would relate to my readers. When the nurse heard this, she became nervous and somehow the vein popped. She had to remove the I.V. and start again.
Because we were late to pre-op, she called for assistance. The phlebotomy supervisor easily put in a new I.V. in my right arm while the nurse found another spot on my left arm to poke. While the supervisor finished up by taping the area, the nurse explained that she might have rushed it. Finally, I was ready to go to the operating room. Of course, I was uncomfortable and nervous but in pretty good spirits just the same.
The staff wheeled me into the operating room and just about the time I asked them if the operating room was a storage room, anesthetic medicine was injected into my I.V. and I had just enough time to scoot myself onto the operating table before I was unconscious.
I came to in the recovery room where the post-op nurse checked my vitals every 15 minutes and gave me ice chips periodically. After about three hours, another team of health care professionals took me from the recovery room to my hospital room. I was starting to come out of the anesthesia induced fog and was happy to see my mom in the hospital hall as the staff wheeled me into my room.
Right away, she said, “Oh. Your neck is too big and your face is all blown up.” As the nursing staff positioned me into my bed, she asked the head nurse to check my I.V.
He responded that everything was alright.
“No it is not,” she insisted, “Look at her face.” He looked and didn’t see anything abnormal but of course he didn’t know me. I am normally thin.
Then my mom said, “Look at her hands! See how the left one is all swollen and the right one is not?”
That is when he realized the problem with the I.V. I did not have a mirror but I had noticed I was very thirsty. The ice chips had taken away some of my thirst, but had the I.V. been working properly I would not have had cracked lips and been so parched. Unfortunately, the fluid was going into my body fat rather than into my veins. It needed to be changed.
Fortunately, my hospital advocate, a.k.a. Mom, sat in the chair across from my bed as she patiently watched the nurse take the I.V. drip out of my left hand and attach it to the already installed I.V. port in my right arm. He then removed the I.V. needle from my left hand by pulling the tape and plastic. My left arm still hurt but it hurt less once the port that had blown the vein was removed.
I was exhausted and thanked mom for being there. Almost immediately I felt less dehydrated. I was glad she had noticed that I had blown up like a balloon and called it to the attention of my nurses. Once she knew I was fine and feeling better, she left me to sleep and headed home. It is always best to have a hospital advocate that knows you well, to speak on your behalf, when you cannot.