Monday, October 22, 2007

Law number three

At first I thought it was one of those guerilla veins that vanishes into thin air as soon as you think that you have him. Alternatively, Dr. Heisenberg, looking down from above, was trying to teach me a lesson about the uncertainties of a vein’s location at any given time. No matter how many times I stuck, I could not find the rascal. I put two fingers over the artery and felt the pulse bounding strongly. A finger-breadth medial, the vein had to be there. Yet it wasn’t. Switching positions, I couldn’t feel the pulse with my left hand. Checking again, yes, it was there with the right. Wait a minute, this was bizarre. Was I losing feeling in my left hand? Could it have been peripheral neuropathy from undiagnosed diabetes? Had I damaged the ulnar nerve putting it to sleep too many times from lying on it in awkward positions? But it was 3 am; strange things happen at that hour. Better to worry about it in the morning. I felt again with my right hand: there was the pulse. Stick and stick. No luck. Actually, wherever I placed my two fingers, there I seemed to find that pulse. Maybe all of the extravasated blood from my poking had made a soup that was diffusing the conduction of the pulse waves. Then I noticed, the pulse on the monitor was faster than the pulse I was feeling. I checked my own pulse. There it was, mocking and traitorous. I had disobeyed the Fat Man’s law. Using my left hand from then on, I found the vein and placed the line.