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: blog.raymondperreault.com
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.

2 thoughts on “Does [Needle] Size Matter?”

  1. Recently, I have hard time infusing myself. I use 25-needle size. I have this troubles with one arm I used to infuse myself in for 12 years. The second arm is fine I started to use the vain in this second time after having that troubles with my first arm. Do you think changing the size will be better? I can try it. Does anyone knows why I am no longer able to infuse myself in this vain?

  2. Hi Tamer:
    My name is Ray and I have had similar problems while using my “aging” veins. I have used the 23 gauge butterfly that was supplied with my factor for many years now. I started to have problems accessing my veins a year ago. After talking to my pharmacist, late last year, I started using a 27 gauge butterfly. I couldn’t believe how much better it was over the 23 gauge. I have even been able to use some of my smaller veins that had stopped working for me. The smaller needle feels better but I did notice that more pressure was needed while pushing the plunger. All in all the 27g was a big improvement over the 23g. Talk to your pharmacist,you may be able to switch to a 27g needle which is a bit smaller than the one you are currently using. I am sure they can help you. You should also talk to your doctor or specialty nurse; they may have some insight to better vein access.You are welcome to visit my blog: http://blog.raymondperreault.com/
    My last post was about this very subject.
    Good luck,


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