Any parent can tell you that one of the worst and most helpless feelings in the World is to see (and hear) your child in pain. It’s even worse if you feel like you’re the one subjecting your child to the pain by bringing them to the doctor for shots or blood tests. A few years ago we discovered a ‘miracle drug’ that eased both our pain and our child’s.
My wife has a history of what she called collapsing veins and was later told they weren’t collapsing as much as rolling. Doctors. nurses and techs have always had trouble getting into a vein to draw blood from her. She is always quick to let them know about this issue ahead of time, but most scoff and start sticking away…unsuccessfully. Meanwhile she just winces and gives her best ‘I-told-you-so’ look that I am so familiar with.
When we had to bring our first son in for his 2 year old checkup he needed blood drawn for regular tests and we warned the tech that she might have trouble. She did and after some poking around with the needle she called in the Pediatrician who was finally able to get a vein. Of course at this point there’s already been a lot of crying and my son wasn’t very happy either.
Fast forward a year or so when a routine finger stick blood test showed a borderline high lead level (which turned out to be a non issue) that required another more extensive blood test. Again we told the tech there were issues in the past with rolling veins and this time the young (male for what it’s worth) tech who looked fresh out of school got very cocky and assured us he was NOT going to have a problem. This time HE was the one in tears. I’d never actually seen a medical professional cry like that before. They finally got the blood drawn and our son’s arm looked like it had been used by the cats as a scratching post. He of course recovered quickly enough to ask if he could get a Happy Meal for lunch, one of those many parental moments where you laugh through the tears.
When relating our heartbreaking experience to a neighbor she burst out ‘Emla cream, next time get Emla cream!’ She swears by it for all her son’s vaccinations so we called our pediatrician and asked about it. Seems most Doctors don’t want to talk about it unless you press them for details. The active ingredient in Emla is Lidocaine and will numb the skin for an hour or so to ease pain at the injection site. Doctors don’t like to use it because they’re afraid parents will insist on it every time their kids need shots. All you have to do is call ahead and get a prescription and apply to the area an hour before the procedure. We did indeed use it the next time and it worked like a charm.
Now I agree with the Doctors on this one and I’m not saying that you need to do this for simple vaccinations. Most kids are more afraid of the needle itself than any pain caused by a quick stick so it won’t really help. But if your child has shown signs of rolling veins and has trouble giving blood then the Emla cream can give your child and the Doctor a window of relative pain free exploration in order to get the job done. Of course you still have to get the Happy Meal afterward.
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