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Sharps sting

Posted Sep 17 2010 7:02am
I had what looked like a slight infection because of which I was put on a strong antibiotic and had to give rest to the three buttonhole sites that I  have been using for my arterial access during dialysis. So, I had to make a new set of buttonhole sites for my arterial access. The venous guys as usual have been well behaved.

Now the area around my arterial sites have become quite hard with months of use. I started one a little down the arm, almost close to the fold on the other side of the elbow. That area was fairly soft and I had no problem creating the buttonhole. Three days of sharps were enough. No sting. No fuss.

The second however is proving to be a tough nut to crack. Last night, as I went in, I felt a sense of numbing pain. I should have known that is not a good sign. I let it be. Dialysis started. Sure enough, in less than an hour, the pain started. The effect of the lignocaine had worn off. The sharp needle decided to act tough and show its true color, so to speak.

In the beginning I tried adjusting my arm, tried massaging the area with my finger and every other trick I had learnt. The pain wouldn't subside. Sleep also decided to play truant. Pain and sleep usually don't tread on each other's toes. When pain is around, sleep lets it have its way. It won't interfere.

Around 12:30, I decided to do something about it. I woke Jayaram, the tech and told him to remove the needle and use the site that had already been formed. We could use a blunt needle. He said that the current site wouldn't stop bleeding so soon so that was not an option. Then I asked him to take some lignocaine in a syringe and push it down the site. That would numb the pain and hopefully I could go to sleep before the effect of the lignocaine wore off. He did that.

The effect of lignocaine in a painful cannulation site is only next to poetry. You can actually feel the pain disappear within a few seconds. It gives you so much relief! Once the pain was gone, I fell asleep. It was probably around 1:00 in the night.

Today, of course, I will be using a blunt needle in the site that has formed. Tomorrow will be tricky. Fingers crossed!
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