Getting bloodwork, do you look at the needle when they are drawing your blood?

United States
August 27, 2008 2:39pm CST
I had to get some fasting bloodwork today. Even though I'm an adult, I don't care for getting stuck with a needle. I assume most people feel this way. I noticed that I don't look when the phlebotomist sticks me, or when the blood is being drawn into the tubes. She had to take 3 tubes full of blood! I guess it just creeps me out to see my own blood in those tubes. So, what about you, do you watch the phlebotomist withdraw your blood? If so, why? If not, why not?
6 people like this
29 responses
@ellie333 (21029)
27 Aug 08
Hi PearlGrace Oh I always look I don't mind injections at all but my daughter has to be held down to have one. I like to see what colour it is and how much they are taking. Ellie :D
3 people like this
• United States
28 Aug 08
Good for you, Ellie! You sound quite brave to me! I did see that the phlebotomist took 3 tubes of blood, but I tried very hard not to look at it. It's not that it hurts all that much, it just creeps me out! That's cool, though, that you don't mind it. Thanks for sharing. I shall call you Courageous Ellie from now on.
2 people like this
@ellie333 (21029)
28 Aug 08
Courageous Ellie eh, when I won't even swim in the sea as the seaweed around my legs freaks me out! Thanks though. Huggles. Ellie :D
1 person likes this
@spalladino (17924)
• United States
27 Aug 08
I'm not too fond of having blood drawn but it doesn't creep me out or anything. I do have to watch though because I want to know the second it's going to hurt! I hate not being ready for that sting.
3 people like this
• United States
28 Aug 08
Hello spalladino. Most of the phlebotomists say something to me like, "You're gonna feel a stick" or "it's gonna stick" before they insert the needle. This is interesting because the comment above yours was a person who said she felt that if she didn't look, it wouldn't hurt as bad. And I sort of agree with that. Thanks for sharing.
@sunnflr (2767)
• United States
27 Aug 08
I have always watched. I am very interested in anything medical though and just love seeing how they do it all. Also, I'm not squimish in the least. I don't like having blood drawn though because they have a hard time with my veins. My veins are small, move alot, and are deep under the skin. Alot of times they end up taking blood from the top of my hand.
2 people like this
• United States
28 Aug 08
That is wonderful that you have a healthy curiosity about all things medical. Even if it's happening to you. You've apparently missed your calling to be a doctor or a nurse! Ooh, I definitely wouldn't like it if they had to stick me 3 or 4 times with the needle before they found the vein. I've heard of that happening. I don't like having needles stuck in the top of my hands. Sure am sorry that's how they take your blood. But, I guess we can get used to anything, can't we? Appreciate your input here, sunnflr.
2 people like this
@sunnflr (2767)
• United States
28 Aug 08
I actually look up all my conditions and have plenty of questions for my doctors. I have diagnosed every condition I have BEFORE my doctor! Yeah, you get used to it. Now I'd rather they just go directly to my hand and save me the pain of hunting for a vein in my arm.
• United States
28 Aug 08
I go through fasting and getting bloodwork done almost all the time. Trust me, I swear that it hurts like hell, but it's best if you DO look at the needle so that it'll tell you if they're drawing your blood. Sometimes when I go do bloodwork, they can't get any blood out of me at all, as though i'm as dry as the Sahara Desert. That's why I have to drink LOTS and LOTS and EVEN LOTS MORE water to get the blood to flow back into my arm veins again so that they can get their blood out of me. I know it may hurt, and I know that it stings painfully, but at the very least, keep your mind on the end result: the relief that comes from such a painful ordeal, having to eat what you want after fasting, those kinds of things. You can look at the needle, but don't focus on the pain most of the time. Think of the end results, and drink lots of water just as I do. That'll get the whole thing done in no time.
2 people like this
• United States
28 Aug 08
Hello DuoMaxwell. Sorry to hear you have to experience fasting and bloodwork alot. I've not heard of the types of problems that can occur when getting blood drawn that you've mentioned. For example, I didn't even know that there are times when no blood at all will come out. At least I'm covered on the water thing. I drink water almost constantly and can't stand to go without it the morning that I'm going to get bloodwork. The not eating doesn't bother me nearly as much as the not drinking water. Interestingly, bloodwork doesn't hurt me terribly, usually just a pinch when the needle is at first inserted. I just don't like watching it. And there is the occasional time when it does really hurt. I like your idea about focusing on what I'm going to be doing afterward: drinking water, having breakfast, whatever. Thanks for your input.
@jillhill (37383)
• United States
27 Aug 08
No I don't. I hate it when they draw blood...and even give a shot. I don't like the needle. When my kids were little and had to either have blood work done, or a vacination....I wouldn't be the one that went with. I would get light headed or actually pass out. So to avoid any problems I just don't look.
2 people like this
• United States
28 Aug 08
Ah, jillhill, a kindred spirit! Well, sort of. I definitely don't watch and I'm certainly no fan of getting shots. It sounds like it was very upsetting to you when your kids had to get shots. I was known to cry when the pediatrician would have me hold my son as an infant while they were giving him a shot. I worried he would think that I was the one inflicting the pain. He would cry so hard. I just hated that! Sorry you would get dizzy or pass out when that was happening. You are wise not to look at the needle. I'm with you on this one. Take care.
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Aug 08
I dont watch the needle going in. But I have watched the blood come out,. It really does not bother me! I have Donated Plasma and your blood is going through a long plastic tubing,. so getting bloodwork done is not nearly as bad as that! So I take it that you have never donated plasma before then?
• United States
28 Aug 08
Hi LouiseKnittel. Well, I must reveal my ignorance ONCE AGAIN here on myLot. When I worked at a hospital, I regularly donated blood over a period of several years. Is that the same as donating plasma? I guess I don't want to see my own blood. Nor do I want to see my own body being penetrated with a needle. Does this mean I'm a sissy? Thanks for sharing.
1 person likes this
@deebomb (15322)
• United States
28 Aug 08
I don't watch when I get stuck to have blood drawn. I always tell the phlebotomist that they need some more interesting pictures on the wall to distract a person. I have a hard time with shoots too. If I'm have one I prefer it in the arm but some have to be put in the hip. When they touch the spot on my hip my muscles automatically tighten up so I have to tell them to wait until I can get those muscle to relax. The nurses are good at that. I had blood drawn from the back of my hand once and that is very painful. I actually only had one phlebotomist that was just really painful. I have had to have blood drawn every couple of months because of a medication I was on. I had one nurse that drew blood that was so good I really didn't feel it at all.
• United States
28 Aug 08
Hi deebomb. You are like me--not watching when you get blood drawn. I also try to visually focus on whatever's near me when that's happening to distract myself. Shots seem to be over so quickly (well, the shots I've had to get, anyway) that they don't bother me too much. Ooh, I don't like getting shots in the hip, though. I've never had blood drawn from the back of my hand but I have had a couple of IVs inserted there. And I TOTALLY hate that! Now, that hurts! Good for you that you say that there needs to be something more interesting to look at when getting blood drawn. I agree. Hope you don't have to get any blood drawn for awhile. Thanks for sharing.
1 person likes this
@deebomb (15322)
• United States
29 Aug 08
I do have to have some labs done this next month and it is going to be at a new place so I'm hoping they know what they are doing.
@_sketch_ (5709)
• United States
28 Aug 08
Yeah. I look. I don't care. Needles and blood don't scare me at all. In fact, I've gave my self many piercings with just a safety pin. that kind of thing doesn't bother me at all. I think that it is cool when they have to draw a lot cuz then you will feel kinda dizzy. It is such a funny feeling. I hate IVs though. Those suck because they are attached to you.
1 person likes this
• United States
28 Aug 08
Hello _sketch_. Well, perhaps you might someday be a doctor or a nurse if needles and blood don't bother you. I can respect the medical professionals for doing their jobs well, having to work around both of those things every day. Sounds like you like to feel dizzy. I've not heard that yet in this myLot discussion. Guess that is unusual. I agree with you that IVs are not much fun. To me, they tend to hurt way more than just getting bloodwork. Thanks for your response.
@_sketch_ (5709)
• United States
28 Aug 08
Well I don't just like any dizzy feeling. When they take blood it gives you a different sort of dizzy feeling. Nah though, I'm not going to work in a hospital, but an office or something. I am studying to be an accountant. lol. for real, but none of my friends can believe it.
@newtondak (3950)
• United States
28 Aug 08
I can't watch - I always have to look away and not watch the needle. Once they've made the stick, I can watch the rest, but not when they stick the needle.
1 person likes this
• United States
29 Aug 08
Hi newtondak. That's like me. I don't like watching that needle get stuck into my arm. But I don't watch the tubes of blood fill up either. Good for you that you are brave enough to at least watch that part. Thanks for chiming in to this discussion. Take care.
• United States
28 Aug 08
Actually my nurse told me 95% of people don't look at the needle because they feel it hurts more. I look at it. I wanna know whats going in my body and when! I have bad reflexes. I've hit the nurse before when I didn't look at the needle because it scared me. She thought it was hilarious... I was completely embarrassed.
1 person likes this
• United States
29 Aug 08
Hi txcheerleadr90. That is interesting that 95% of the people don't look. So far on this discussion, it seems split about 50/50 on that. Quite a few have said they look. Like you, they want to see what's coming,when, and where. That's funny about your hitting the nurse. It sounds like she took it in stride. Thank you for responding.
@berrys (865)
• Singapore
28 Aug 08
For me when i draw blood I tend to look as they stick the needle in my arm cause if I don't then i can feel myself getting nervous as I'm wandering when is she or he gonna stick it in and all so when I look at the needle I'm more clam as I see it go in my arm but after they stick it in I look at the blood flowing threw the tube for some reason it just relaxes me. I know it's kinda creepy but I feel more comfortable seeing the blood flowing threw the tubes cause then I feel more vulnerable kinda like some people like to feel invincible I like knowing that i can get hurt and blood will drip out.
1 person likes this
• United States
28 Aug 08
Hi berrys. Someone else said he/she also watches the needle being inserted because he/she wants to know when the pain is going to happen. Your reaction to seeing your own blood does seem a little unusual in that the sight of it "relaxes" you. You are the first that I know of in this myLot discussion that likes knowing that you can get hurt and bleed. I, on the other hand, do not like that part of life at all! Thanks for sharing, berrys.
@alena824 (376)
• Philippines
28 Aug 08
I just had blood tests yesterday in preparation for minor surgery. And it's not really something that gives me the shudders. They just tell me to inhale when they stick the needle in, extract the blood, then inhale again to pull out the needle. And yes, I do look because I've had the bad experience of having incompetent nurses or medical technologists (as they are referred to here) who can't find my vein to stick the needle in. I have actually reprimanded the ones who have had to do it more than once.
1 person likes this
• United States
29 Aug 08
Hello alena824. Sorry to hear you are preparing for minor surgery. Hope it went okay. Sorry you've had inexperienced professionals doing your bloodwork. That would not be good. But you sound like a very brave person. Hope you are well. Do take care. I appreciate your comments.
@lucius67 (41)
• United States
28 Aug 08
The only time I had trouble looking at a needle was when I had to get dental work done and they had to use novocaine. I get 5 shots in my knee every six months and I sit there and watch the intern give me the shot. I usually watch the nurse take blood from my arm because some of the "vampires" have trouble finding my veins.
1 person likes this
• United States
28 Aug 08
Hello lucius67. Yes, I think many people find it difficult to look at the needles when they are at the dentist. I, myself, do not take the Novocaine shots at the dentist. I just have them drill the filling without the shot. I actually hate the shot worse than the drilling. The last time I had a filling drilled, I had to have 2 drilled, one right after the other. When I got home and told my husband (he knows I don't take the Novocaine shots), he just had a fit and said, "You got 2 done and didn't take the shot?!" Now, in my whole life, I've just had a total of 4 fillings, so to get 2 done at once had never happened for me. I wasn't too happy about having 2 more cavities, that's for sure. Sorry to hear you have to get 5 shots in your knee twice a year. That sure doesn't sound like fun. Anyhoo, it's funny that you call the people drawing blood "vampires." Take care.
@lazeebee (5468)
• Malaysia
28 Aug 08
Yup, I hate the sight, but I have got to look at it, to make sure that the nurse or whoever is doing her job properly, and not stick the needle all over the place. I'm so worried about trainee workers who are using me as a guinea pig to stick their needles!
1 person likes this
• United States
28 Aug 08
Hello lazeebee. You make a point that some other myLotters have made: it's important to make sure the phlebotomist is doing his/her job properly. I guess that watching the needle go in assures you that the person knows what he/she's doing. If I've ever had a "trainee" phlebotomist taking my blood, I wasn't aware of it. Thanks for responding.
• Philippines
28 Aug 08
hi there. i do a lot of injecting to other people. but when it comes to myself i would really never look at the needle, it will just scare the heavens out of me..heheh.. well, i know its not that painful but it sure is scary:)
1 person likes this
• United States
28 Aug 08
Hello jhellie_baby. Interesting that you are okay with injecting others but can't stand to see the needle being inserted when you are the one getting the bloodwork or injection. You share that concern with me. Thanks for joining in.
• Philippines
28 Aug 08
I never look when they are about to stick a needle into me. Aside from turning away, I also squeeze my eyes shut tightly, and now that I think about it, I think I also hold my breath. They always say, "this is going to feel like an ant bite" or "this will feel like a mosquito bite" but of course it never does, it always hurts more.
• United States
28 Aug 08
Hey polaris714. So, you don't look either when bloodwork is being done. And you close your eyes, also. Boy, you really don't want to see it! I wonder if holding your breath makes you more tense and makes it hurt more? I don't know. Oh, that's different than what phlebotomists have said to me. Here, they say something like, "you're gonna feel a stick" or "this is gonna pinch" or something like that. Thank you for taking part in this discussion.
@rytnlxm (310)
• China
28 Aug 08
Hi,PearlGrace.I dare not to see the nurse or the needle when they phlebotomize my blood.I just look at the other direction and think the happy thing.It seems that the time go faster in that situation.I have a classmate who would faint if he saw the blood.The doctor said that is one kind of disease.
1 person likes this
• United States
28 Aug 08
Hello rytnlxm. So, you don't look either when you are having bloodwork done. I like that--thinking happy thoughts to distract yourself. The good news is it usually just takes a minute or two, then, we're all done! I have heard of others saying they either get lightheaded or faint, just at the sight of the needle! Glad that doesn't happen to me. Well, take care, rytnlxm. Thanks for your response.
@Opal26 (17690)
• United States
28 Aug 08
Hi Pearl! Yes Yes Yes! I love to watch! I watch to make sure they do it right! And they usually don't. I have very bad and small veins. In fact I was thinking about becoming a phlebotomist if I decide to take another course in medical assisting so that I can make sure that I never hurt anyone the way that I get hurt every time I get my blood taken. It's a good thing that I'm not afraid to get stuck because it usually takes a few times to find a decent vein. I apparently have "rolling veins" which means when they stick them they move or roll. If I know this and tell them since they are professionals then why don't they listen! I also tell them to use a butterfly needle and some of the more snotty ones say "what do you know about a butterfly needle?" Obviously, more then they do! I was a medical assistant so that stuff intrigues me. I love medicine so I'm not squimish at all except I don't like getting injections because I know that the it's the medication going into the shot that's going to hurt later!
• United States
28 Aug 08
Greetings, Opal26! So, you are someone who prefers to watch the phlebotomy process. I guess you all are right: we should be watching to make sure the phlebotomist is doing things correctly. I have heard of "rolling veins" but don't have them myself. Sorry that you do. I don't really know what a butterfly needle is. Good for you that you have an interest in medical stuff. Perhaps you really should become a phlebotomist! Thanks for your response, Opal. Hope you don't have to get blood drawn for awhile.
@mummymo (23707)
30 Aug 08
I am probably rather weird but I do watch and I watch the blood and the vials being changed! I have really bad veins and a lot of people have problems getting my blood out of me so I guess I just watch to make sure it is coming out - the fact that I am not phased by needles helps! This might not be everyones idea of the right thing but I have always taken my daughter along with me and she loves to watch the whole process too - in fact one of our nurses gets her involved to help , she says she wants to be a doctor that deals with blood! Haematology is calling to my daughter! xxx
• United States
31 Aug 08
Hi mummymo. Many people have said they watched when having bloodwork drawn. That's kinda cool about your daughter. She's gonna work in the medical field someday. And that will be great. Thanks for your comments.
1 person likes this
@mummymo (23707)
31 Aug 08
My eldest used to want to be a doctor too until he discovered he has a thing about blood and often passes out or hyperventilates at the sight of it! lol I forgot to mention one of the biggest pros for Niamh seeing this happen is she has no fear of needles and doesn't get upset when she gets immunisations! xxx
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
28 Aug 08
No, I can't look at the needle. I have to talk about something else or if I concentrate on it, I will vasovagle. Fancy word for saying that I can knock myself out or faint.
• United States
28 Aug 08
Hello writersedge. Ooh, sorry to hear about that vasovagling! That does not sound like fun at all. I have heard of people fainting at the sight of needles. That is certainly a problem, that's for sure. So, we are on the same page here--we don't like seeing that needle! Take care and I hope you don't have to get any bloodwork for a long time. Hey, and thanks for teaching me (and maybe some other myLotters) the new word, "vasovagle."
1 person likes this
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
28 Aug 08
You're welcome. I'm going by the sound of it, not sure if the spelling is right. I heard a doctor tell a nurse to be careful with me because I vasovagle. Another time I heard someone yelling help because she's fainting, why, she vasovagles and she's almost out cold now. So I've gotten some practice with this word. But still not sure how it's spelled. Take care