Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Playing with Needles

One course that basically everyone in the Army has to take is CLS, or Combat Life Savers. As with most Army training, I've come to slightly dread it, although this time, for once, it has nothing to do with my incompetence. Actually, it's not so much the class I dread, which I generally think is useful as that I hate the IV portion. Once you've taken the class, you have to recertify yearly to make sure you haven't forgotten anything, get refreshed, and also learn if there have been any changes in protocol.

The first time I went I was nervous about the IV portion because I was really worried about messing up, and hurting the person I had to give an IV. And, yes, as always, I imagine the worst things possible happening, things that probably can't even happen, such as the needle getting stuck in my arm. Anyway, that first class and first stick went pretty well, so when it came a year later to recert, I wasn't too worried. I'd already picked my partner and everything. Well, it turns out that somehow my already tiny veins had apparently gotten worse in a year's time. My partner couldn't find a vein, and then when the medic finally told him an area to stick, the catheter ended up bending in my arm so when he started pushing in fluids, they were actually causing a small bubble under my skin. He didn't even try again after that. (I got my revenge, though - I successfully gave him an IV with one stick, but it turned out he was a bit of a bleeder.)

We had recert again this week, and one of my former platoon members (he's still in the platoon, I've just moved up to the XO/Ops officer slot) ended up being my partner. He couldn't find a vein. The medic tied the little rubber bands around both my arms in search of a vein with little luck, except that it made me cringe. I actually ended up with a bruise on one arm because they were so tight (I have sensitive skin). He finally picked a place to stick and while the needle was already in my arm, the medic started telling him to change directions. While I'm sitting there with someone digging a needle around in my arm, another NCO (my partner from last year, actually) was standing in front of me, taking pictures with the CO's camera, laughing at me. I have to say it did distract from the pain, but the fact that I was trying not to shake from laughter probably didn't help at all with the vein finding. The thing is people have always made fun of me because of my face expressions. I don't hide my emotions or opinions very well, and I'll generally make an expression to show exactly how I feel. So I'm kind of scared to see where these pictures might show up now. I've actually had a specialist just randomly tell me that I make the weirdest expressions. I used to get mad at one of my ex-boyfriends a lot, and a lot of times if he didn't feel like arguing, he'd just start mirroring my expressions while I was either yelling or glaring at him until I was trying too hard not to laugh to maintain my completely justified anger.

He never found a vein; once again, I didn't get an IV; the Soldiers are accusing me of being an android due to my lack of veins; and if we're ever in life or death situation, it looks like it better not be me that needs the IV. Although, they think they might be able to get one in my hand. On the other hand, when I gave the IV, I got it in right away, and there wasn't even that much blood.

1 comment:

LT Z said...

I'd forgotten how much I love CLS class. When we had to do a refresher in Feb before deploying, they made everyone do 2 sticks (and told us that was the new standard). And as the only officer in class, somehow I got volunteered into letting those who needed to restick practice on me >_< Anyway, hopefully your experience means that 2 sticks is not the new standard. Also, androids are cool!