Monthly Archives: September 2014

About Blood Draws and How to Make It Easier for the Lab Vampire‚Ķ and for You

I just saw a “veinviewer” image posted on Facebook–it’s a fascinating new technology that facilitates finding a good vein for a blood draw.

From a nurse I know, I understand there’s research being done that demonstrates the ultrasound as a means of locating deep veins for lines, or that can be used for obese patients. For subclavicular lines that lead essentially into the heart, one can see why this technology would be wonderful, decreasing misses, pain and trauma.

A friend of mine commented: “Man – it’d be nice if it helped them find my veins. Mine are deep and roll – even pro phlebotomists often have a hard time with me – I can’t tell you how many times they’ve had to go for a wrist (which REALLY hurts) or the back of my hand (not all that bad in comparison).” This elicited the advice I really posted this to spread, from my friend the nurse who offered:

“See if they have an IV team or PICC Nurse with an ultrasound machine who can help you out. For routine labs try wrapping your arm in a warm towel for 15 min prior to the draw.”

Being a person who has had some unhappy meetings with phlebotomists, I had evolved the practice of making sure I was well-hydrated before a blood draw, and I’ve been known to windmill my arms to get the circulation up, before going in. All these pieces of advice seem like good things to know and I am grateful to Facebook and my friends on this exchange for informing me!



Filed under science

A Check– Stolen From the Mailbox

A friend just posted on Facebook a warning to her neighbors that someone stole a check she was sending out that day in the mail. My first advice was, tell your bank– a check has the full bank account number printed on it as well as your personal signature. Apparently the bank advised her to close the account stopping honoring her checks at the number before that of the stolen check and switching her funds to a new number. They warned her of the possibility that the thief¬†wouldn’t even try to cash the check but would generate fraudulent checks.

Years ago, another friend found that a stolen check came back to haunt her months after she had closed the account. Apparently the thief took the account number and deposited a small amount to re-activate it, and then used the account, overdrawing it in her name. I hope there are safeties in place now that prevent this kind of happening, but do any of you know?

I am so old fashioned that I still prefer to write a check over using on-line payments, but I will say openly here that I may be stupid in doing so. What do the rest of you think? I’d like to know. We can get hacked and passwords stolen, but a bank account number plus signature happens each time we write a check, and whoever deposits it has access to those two things as well. On-line payments have risk too, but which is the better? I have stopped using debit cards since they appear to have fewer protections than credit cards. Paypal, even while you may deplore some of their behaviors, seems a relatively safe way to go. What do you all advise? What are your experiences with the wide world of fraud and identity theft?


Filed under social and anti