Thursday, March 3, 2011

take two

Ahem. Let's try this again.

My very first post on my old blog was an explanation of how the RC title came to be, and I'm thinking that it might be a good idea to do the same thing here. Unless you're a medical professional, the term "saline lock" probably doesn't mean a thing to you one way or another, but it has come, in a wacky kind of way, to mean a lot to me. You surely didn't notice that the very first post on this blog was a repeat from a couple of years ago, but that wasn't just something random I pulled out. It was very deliberate, for oh so many reasons.

A saline lock is, simply put, an IV. In true medical fashion,  terms and titles are deliberately designed to be as confusing as possible, and this is no exception. Back in the day they were called heparin locks, which confuses even me, but I'm going to spare you all the Medical Obfuscation 101 class and cut to the chase. Maybe you've never thought about the actual purpose and function of an IV, silently accepting them as a sometimes necessary evil. I've thought about it a lot, and it all boils down to this - they're something that no one looks forward to, they're painful as hell... and they can literally save your life.

From a nursing standpoint they represent even more.

It's about fear - paralyzing, overwhelming, panic inducing. It's about stepping outside of your comfort zone - in every way imaginable. Its about being realistic - because no one bats 100%. It's about tenacity - when you fail you pick yourself up off your butt and do it again. It's about self-esteem - the kind you get when you face something that you thought you simply could not do...and then, miracle of miracles, you did. And you do. It's about survival - the most basic (and necessary) skill of all. It's about pure, unadulterated joy - when you can't even remember why it freaked you out so much in the first place.

It is, of course,  about the last three years of my life. 

You could even interpret it as "quit your boo-hooing and get on with it." You know - saline (tears) and lock (get over it). How I can take a post that I wrote as a self- motivational piece during the darkest days of my divorce, and turn it into a mantra that propels me still is anyone's guess. Some people have good luck charms, some have lucky numbers, some collect inspirational quotes. I bow at the altar of a sharp piece of metal, a syringe full of saline and some plastic tubing.

Haven't I been saying all along that medical people are nuts?


  1. You really need to change the color of the text of your post. I find it impossible to read which is too bad. I was ready for a good read.

  2. I get it!! uh oh,did I just admit I'm nuts too?

  3. I have a question. If a patient tells you that they have hard to find rolling veins and a butterfly needle generally works best when drawing blood, would you listen to them and use a smaller needle or tell them you know what you are doing and then jab them with the biggest sharpest thing you could find and leave them all bruised and sore for days? Just curious.

    The thing I remember most about my c-section was how stinging the IV was. Of course, that was before the morphine drip...

  4. Irene - is this better? I'm still fiddling with the layout.

    Dinah - no comment...

    Susan - Yes and no. If someone tells me they're a hard stick, or that one vein is better than another I absolutely pay attention to that. Usually people know when their veins roll, and there are ways around that if you know ahead of time, so you'd be an idiot not to listen. Where my eyes kind of cross is over the butterfly thing. A butterfly is ONLY used to draw blood - it doesn't exist as an IV, and sometimes people get really angry when I tell them I can't use a butterfly to start a line. There are smaller IV needles and bigger IV needles, but nothing as small as a butterfly, and often, depending on what is wrong with you, you need a certain gauge IV anyway. Aren't you sorry you asked??

  5. I am a girl with tiny veins that roll. Nurses and phlebotimists (sp?) sometimes ignore me when I tell them. And then they don't touch me.

    I bet I've been called a bitch once or thrice.

  6. I'm so glad we found each other again! And so glad you're blogging!

    I just signed up as a loyal "follower" and am looking forward to hearing more from you!

    Write, write!