Wednesday, 25 January 2012
My first time
My friend and I are sat with all our equipment prepped in a sterile dish, gloves on, surveilling the patients in front of us apprehensively. Introductions done, procedure explained, consent obtained and the area swabbed with an alcohol wipe - one wipe top to bottom, and we could put it off no longer. I reached for the cannula, removed the cap, wiggled it to check it wasn't stuck, put the bung to one side and willed a vein to jump out and dance at me. Vein selected, palpated and pinned I advanced the needle through the skin which was tougher than I thought it would be. Nothing. I wiggled a little, still nothing. I looked at my friend who peered and said "you have to pump the thingie to make the pressure for the flashback". I dutifully reached around the back of the severed rubber arm and pumped the balloon but still no flashback. My friend reached over and gave a few more pumps for luck while I advanced the needle a little further. Just then, "aaaarrrrghhhhh!" I shout, as bright red fake blood squirts out of the end of the cannula all over me. "Oooohhh, tourniquet off, needle out a touch, advance the cannula, pinch the vein, needle out, thumb over the end, needle in the bin, bung on!" yells my friend, helpfully. I try and comply and wish for a few more fingers and pairs of hands to do all of that at once, as blood continues to spurt everywhere - a little too much pressure added maybe? I got in a bit of a mess with the sticky thing, as it doesn't stick well to rubber but I got the gist and before long I was looking proudly at my first ever cannula, happily splattered in fake blood. I looked at my friend who was trying to flush his with saline. He was having a little difficulty and the saline wouldn't go in, so he put more force behind the syringe. The saline squirted out around the port, spraying us both. Despite our mishaps, job well done and we've been told it's much easier on real people. I did get some odd looks at work later though, with my hands stained in cherry red blood. Totally worth it though. And now, if I'm asked if I'd like to try putting a cannula in I can honestly say it's not my first time. I just won't tell them about the bit where I screamed in the middle.