Today I had an appointment for Amin to have his blood drawn. He had it before once, they got like 7 or 8 vials of blood from him, and he was OK. I used up like 5 lollipops to keep him still, therefore this time I was not stressing out at all.
He had a good night sleep, he had his favorite breakfast and I put several lollipops in my backpack. We were talking all the way to the clinic. We had to wait over 30 minutes to get in, I started to get a bit uneasy, but as I looked toward him he was very happy playing with all the toys in the waiting room.
Finally they called him in, and he was still completely oblivious about what is going to happen. I tried to tell him that he will feel a little sting, but I will be there to hold him on my lap, yet he still didn’t pay any attention to me. Amin was too busy exploring in the room.
In the mean time I started to second guess myself. Does he really needs these blood tests? Is this test result going to make any difference? Maybe I should just walk away with him. As I looked at him, I felt this knot in my stomach… I wasn’t sure what to do at this time. I wanted to pick up my phone and call someone to get advice, but luckily they block all signals in that clinic, so I couldn’t make a complete fool out of myself.
The laboratory personnel told us to sit down, and she asked me how many people she should get to hold him down. I told her that it won’t be necessary, I will hold him and talk him through this. Also, I told her where they got the blood from last time, but after that comment her ego seemed somewhat bruised. She wouldn’t even touch that area. To make a long sad story short, she was unable to get any blood even with others holding him down, and finally I told them enough is enough, she blew two veins, and we left with a huge hematoma on his arms and hand.
I put out a question on the internet to see how others are handling this type of issue. I came to find out that I am not alone having trouble with blood drawing from their autistic child. No, this information didn’t make me at ease, it made me think what can we do to make this experience easier on the kids and the parents as well.
TIP # 1 Find a place where they are used to draw blood from kids. Basically they are experts in this (like children’s hospital).
TIP#2 Get help! You might be able to do it alone with the lab tech once or twice, but as your child grows, it will be getting harder and harder on everyone. In order to prevent injury , getting assistance from others is always a sensible idea.
Tip#3 When you make the appointment tell them about your child’s condition (autism). Trust me they will get their best people on board for you, as well as get you in without any waiting. (Ok there might be an exception to this sometimes)
TIP # 4 If you have access to numbing cream, this is the best time to use it. It helps somewhat to decrease the discomfort, while you make them look away so they don’t get scared. The numbing cream name is EMLA, usually put it on both arms and cover it until they ready to draw the blood.
TIP#5 Someone told me, when they take their child to have this procedure done they give him some herbal sedative. I am not going to write the name of it here, because I do not want people to start sedating their kids. If you consider something like that, please ask your pediatrician about it. Please know, even if this is an herbal product, it still can have harmful effects on your child if it is not being used properly.
TIP# 6 Another interesting tip was to use YouTube, look up vein puncture videos, and watch it with your kid and explain it to them. Apparently this really did the trick for a mom. ( I will be trying this out for the next time)
Just keep it in mind, ask your ordering physician if that blood test is really necessary. Once you know, try to see if any of these tips can be utilized, or you might even have a better alternative for your child. If the test is a must, and nothing seems to work, the doctor will order that the child will be sedated to have the blood drawn. I personally want to avoid that by all costs, but there are times when one doesn’t have a choice.
Remember, do not stress out, be prepared, and know you can do it. I honestly think that sometimes the parents are more afraid than their kids.
Please if you have any tips for us regarding this subject feel free to comment.