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The Needle And The Damage Done



That's my right forearm. It's purple. I have a left one the very same. That's some serious bruising. Why? No, Mrs. D. and I didn't trade blows although it kinda looks like it. No, I have the nurses at the Ottawa General Hospital to thank for it.

Every week I have an appointment at the hospital's Medical Day Care Unit for chemotherapy. But while I show up my veins often don't. Maybe they're scared. I would be too after all the poking and prodding. The chemo is intravenous and that means a needle into a vein. More often than not however it takes several attempts to find one.

You know how they say "third time's a charm"? In my case they say fourth or fifth time. And each miss results in a piece of gauze and several strips of tape over the failed attempt. By the time I'm done I've used up a significant portion of the hospital's tape allowance.

Just as an aside, I think nurses as a rule take a special course in tape usage. They're such experts with that role of sticky fibre and they love to plaster their patients with it. And when you remove it? I get a free depilatory session.

Anyway, by the time I get home with four or five taped patches on my forearm I wanna tell Mrs D "Hey, you should see the other guy." Instead, to quote Neil Young,  I mutter "I've seen the needle and the damage done."

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