Tiny Veins

red bandaidThis weekend I went to the doctor for my annual physical.  I dread going for my physical because I am cursed with teeny, tiny veins.  Let me explain. Every year, without fail, the nurse or technician who is assigned to draw my blood cannot find my veins.  My veins are really tiny and so I have been told I am a “tough stick”.”  Last year, 2 different nurses tried to draw my blood and in the end, they had to call the doctor in who in turn used the sphygmomanometer (blood pressure meter) to pump up my arm to get my veins to pop out.

This year, I told the nurse up front that I have tiny veins and thus, drawing blood can be difficult.  I explained to her how it went down last year stressing that if she was not highly skilled, she should pass.   She heeded my warning and said that she would summon another nurse to come do the task.   In comes nurse number 2.  I again warn her and let her know what the situation is.  She states that she understands and starts to examine my veins.  First she attempts the left arm.  Realizing that the left arm was not the best, she moved over to the right arm.  She makes her first attempt which was a failure.  Band-aid number one is applied.

She then moves on to my right hand.  She checks the veins near my wrist, and on the back of my hand decides she’s going to draw from the back of my hand.  Boy did that hurt!  Unfortunately, her second attempt was not successful.  On goes band-aid number 2.  At this point, she moves back to the left arm.  She tells me she is going to try one more time.  She makes attempt # 3.  Failed again.  At this point, she realizes that she is not going to win this battle and she summons the doctor.

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When the doctor enters the room, he tells me to lay down make a fist and stick out my arm.  Finally, a good vein presents itself and the nurse is finally able to draw blood.   3 band-aids later, I am done and free to go.

Next year, I am putting my foot down and will demand that a doctor or someone who is highly skilled draw my blood.  I refuse to get jabbed repeatedly and do not want to go through that whole ordeal again.

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About the author


Diane is a New Jersey-based writer and blogger. She is a wife and the mom of a 13-year old boy. Through her blog, she wants to inspire moms to find Zen in their lives while offering practical tips and other valuable information to help families deal with everyday issues. Contact her at dianenassy@gmail.com


  • I have the same problem. I’ve been left bruised from elbow to wrist. My veins roll, and they are tiny like yours. I always try to be as patient as I can, as I realize that it is very difficult to get a draw on me. My only stipulation is – no hunting! If the stick doesn’t find it’s target, pull it our and start again. When they leave it in and hunt for the vein, I will get a huge hematoma, which must be drained.

    Usually the best bet is to have them use a “butterfly”. Sometimes they will have me lay down on an exam table for a while, with my arm dangling down.
    Then they will get the draw from my wrist or back of my hand. Some of the different techniques that techs will use, are quite amazing.

    The worst, is when I have to go in fasting. This always makes it much more difficult. The worst time for me, was when they finally (after about 2 hours of unsuccessful tries from 4 techs), called for an IV cut down, which resulted in having to have it stitched closed. At least I got a good injection of Lidocaine first:-)

    Believe me when I say “I feel your pain!”

    • Thanks for the tip about using a “butterfly” I will mention this next time. Wow I can’t believe you had to get stitches just for drawing some blood. I hope you don’t have to go through that again. I am so not looking forward to next year!

  • You’re much nicer than I am. After one of my worse blood draws ever…poked, prodded, left black and blue and in pain (never let THAT person draw my blood again), I WARN them. One chance and one chance only and I am SERIOUS. I’ve had some nurses use a butterfly and on my next visit I asked for a butterfly and some of the nurses didi’t even know how to use it. Yes, you are much nicer than I am.

  • I have the same issue. I end up getting bruises from all the pricks from needles that failed to stay in my veins. Ask for the kid-size needles -they’re smaller, and when I’ve asked and explained why, they usually accommodate.

  • Thats so odd!! My veins r so plump and visible, im shocked you have such a hard time

  • I am in the middle of this. I had one guy come out to take my blood, he was new but I let him try because he was at least nice and honest. He stuck me twice in the right arm. Nothing. (no bruising though) So a few days later another guy was sent. This guy had been doing it for 30 years. He was sure he would get blood. He tried the right arm. Nothing. He tried the left arm and after digging a bit…..Expletive… Nothing! I would like to note that not only do I still have a bruise over a week later on the left arm it was also my birthday. So now I am waiting on a call from a RN for try # 3. If that does not work they will see if they can get by with a finger stick. I hate needles.

      • Me too, I swear my veins are getting smaller. I drink on average a ton of water and my mom has the same issue so sadly I know I can’t just drink my problems away. 😉

  • Update… Struck Blood!!! OK another year until I have to do this all over again. Thanks for your support. 🙂

Tiny Veins

by Diane time to read: 2 min