Does [Needle] Size Matter?

Tonight I’m going to blog with a blog; that is, I am scooping someone else’s blog and posting here, in the hopes that you might check out a very cool and educational block that is, moreover, well written! That makes my heart sing as an author and editor.

Ray Perreault is a man with hemophilia who somehow has evaded my mailing list for 23 years. I’m so happy to be in touch with him now. He’s a Florida resident, and is writing a blog primarily for the mature audience. Not as in R-rated, but as in mature in age. It’s great; please read it and recommend it. His blog is called “Hemo: A Blog Of and About Hemophilia. Old and New.”
Here’s his latest posting:
“How small is your infusion needle? 19 gauge, 21, 23, 27? Do you even care? Well, if you are having problems because your older veins are not cooperating like they used to, maybe you should.
“In my history of infusion I have used a 19 gauge, yes I said 19, all the way down to a 23 gauge that comes with most factor these days. I have never questioned the needles I have been given because it didn’t really matter all that much to me…until I got older.”In the beginning I was so happy and excited about getting factor, I would have used a hollowed out rusty nail if I was told that was all that was available. I think I would have done almost anything to get the vital liquid that made my platelets sticky. After living sixteen years without it, you tend to get excited and do what you need to do you know?
“Over the years I went from a small bag hanging from an IV pole with a tube tied to a 19 gauge needle, to a box containing powder and saline with a 23 gauge butterfly. I believe a 23 gauge is the norm, and is what was chosen and placed in my box along with the factor. It has been great and worked for me for many years; some of you may be using this very same butterfly.
“As I got older, and my veins started showing their age, I have had problems with the 23g butterfly. Sometimes I couldn’t access my smaller veins that always worked for me. Many times I had to try a second and sometimes third location before I could infuse. It was obvious to me that I needed a change, so I did some research and spoke to my pharmacy about changing from the 23g supplied in the box with my factor. I ordered a 27 gauge butterfly. This was a little smaller than the 23g, and after trying it I was amazed at the difference it made.
“The smaller needle does require a little more pressure on the syringe and I had to adjust the “feel” I was used to using the old 23g; but I don’t “miss” anymore and the smaller diameter is easier on my veins.
“If you are having problems like I did, and you think a change might help, speak to your doctor, specialty nurse, or pharmacist. They just might guide you toward the butterfly that is right for you.
Read more here:
Incredible Book I Just Read
As Nature Made Him by John Colapinto

I first read this story in Rolling Stone Magazine and bought the book as soon as possible. It is extremely well researched and written. The true and shocking story about a twin baby, whose botched circumcision left him with no penis. Under the strong arm tactics of a narcissistic and creepy Johns Hopkins physician, the baby was raised as a girl, while the twin was raised as a boy. Dr. Money saw in the twins the perfect lab experiment to bolster his nurture over nature argument about sexual identification–and make himself famous. Money himself appears to be sexually perverse in the tests he put the twins through, though the hospital always has backed his experiments. The poor parents caved in under his authority. But not “Brenda,” who never once accepted the girl guise. By age 14 Brenda chooses to become David, a man, and actively fights back. You have to admire his incredible willpower under the pressure of the medical profession, humiliating tests and invasive psychological interviews, bullying at school and parents who want him to conform. At the end, you will never want to ignore your gut-instinct when it comes to the medical profession, especially psychology and psychiatry. David knew innately what was best for him and fought the system bravely. Incredible story that will dig deep into your emotions and make an unforgettable impression. Four/five stars.

Bloggers Unite!

Blog tracker Technorati estimates there are 100,000 new blogs created each day, and 1.3 million posts added daily. The blogging “elite,” who have at least 500 other blogs linking to them, number about 4,000. We fall short of these stats in the hemophilia community. We have maybe two, three blogs? We are just in the early stages of developing hemophilia blogs, and HemaBlog is among the first, and definitely the first blog dedicated to solely hemophilia issues.

And we are evolving at last. I received a friendly email this past week from Johnpatrick, a young man with hemophilia and fellow blogger. He has been reading my blogs, and wondering where are all the other people with hemophilia on the internet? Where do they hang out? Are they interested in reading about other people with hemophilia? Good questions!

Johnpatrick writes, “I’m a twenty-something with severe factor VIII deficiency with an inhibitor, and I’ve decided to take a cue from people like you and Shawn Decker (author of “My Pet Virus”) and start a blog about the hemophilia experience. I think I can bring something new to cyberspace by talking about my own experiences as a hemophiliac and law student. I don’t know a lot of hemophiliacs, and I don’t know where in the internet they tend to hang out. I was hoping you could help me, a fledgling blogger attract young professional hemophiliacs like myself to the site.

Johnpatrick’s web site is:

It’s very interesting and well written. Please take a moment to visit him and drop him a line, especially if you also are a young man or woman with hemophilia. He has an interesting post about hemophilia and Colin Powell. And we welcome your comments as well!

Speaking of lawyers, here’s a good book I am reading: “Thirteen Moons,” by Charles Frazier, who also wrote “Cold Mountain.” Sober, beautifully written personal account of a white boy raised by the Cherokee, who later becomes a lawyer and tries to defend them and preserve their land and way of life when President Jackson orders all Indian land forfeited, and all Indians to relocate to the West. It is historical fiction, yet a subtle, pragmatic and blunt look at our nation’s handling of America’s indigenous people.

Origins of HemaBlog

HemaBlog apparently is the bleeding disorder community’s first dedicated blog to all things related to hemophilia and VWD. For me, it’s a fun way to bring my observations to you weekly, in an informal manner. While we enjoy being a company that provides so many firsts, I must give credit where it is due–the blog was the brainchild of our webmaster Amanda Wendt. Amanda is president of Mandalin Design, and is an excellent web designer, webmaster and member of our team. 

We originally called this “Laurie’s Blog,” but for me this wasn’t really accurate. I don’t want this to be only about my personal observations, but also as a way to nonintrusively keep you all up to date with things in our community. I changed the name to HemaBlog, in a play on words, for those of you who recall the former HemaLog, published by Materia Medica with funding from Centeon. It is no longer in print, sadly, but its name lives on (sort of).

Well, here’s a way HemaBlog can keep you informed. Recall that for the past two years we’ve been alerting the community to massive changes in how factor is being delivered–in the quest by insurance companies and the government to lower healthcare costs. These changes have impacted the finances and lifestyles of families with hemophilia. The number one concern we have heard from families is that they wake up one morning, and their factor provider has been bought, sold, consolidated… you name it. Well, it has happened again. CVS is buying Caremark Rx for $21 billion. Read about this latest buyout in the newswires and we will surely write about this in the next issue of PEN– how this will affect you who use Caremark’s services, and all of us who use factor. The Coming Storm is now the Current Storm–and the fallout from this storm continues to affect us all.

PS. Book I read this week: “Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America” by Barbara Ehrenreich. Journalist writes a scathing expose on the working poor after getting herself hired as a maid, waitress and Wal-Mart employee in three different cities in one year. Offers no solutions, but tons of empathy for and insight on those in America who serve us. THREE STARS (out of four)

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