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Yesterday a total of 16 – or maybe 17 – attempts were made to inject into a vein. Now my arms show my war wounds. 

First the poor night staff shared a total of five attempts before succeeding in getting the required blood samples. Then a day nurse came to replace the original drip (as per usual the vein had collapsed). After two attempts she passed me to an older colleague, who entered with the confidence of years and departed, frustrated, referring me in to the chief nurse for the surgical and medical wards and apparently a whizzo with the needle. I had said, jokingly that each person could have two goes. So after her allotted quota she passed the buck, to the anaesthetists  

In the afternoon I found myself in the operations bloc, in the salle de réveille, waiting for an anaesthetist to fit me in between ops. 

Another nurse and anaesthetist each had two bashes, the latter using an eco graph machine to track down my tiny, errant veins. I then had to wait for over two hours for the anaesthetist to return. 

Apart from it being chilly, this turned out quite entertaining as I watched people arrive to be injected on the way to the operation rooms, and return later comatose and often confused. I was impressed at the busy team work going on as nurses bustled about their business but finding time to reassure or inform anxious patients. 

Nobody could reassure the big macho man, here, I suspect, for repair to a damaged hand after a car (rally?) accident. It turned out that his interrogation of various nurses was because he was terrified of needles! I felt like suggesting he changed places with me. 

Eventually Michel, the anaesthetist, returned for further attempts. He showed me the arteries and veins on the echography and the different way they behaved when pressed. After first mistakenly getting an artery, which was right next to the vein, finally success! He shook my hand and said, see you in August. 

Back on the first floor (surgical) a crowd of nurses greeted me.  My veins had become a topic of much discussion, with nursing staff visibly relieved that from now on it was up to the anaesthetists to meet the challenge  they present.

Now it is lunchtime (for others) the following day and, cross fingers, the drip is still providing me with my nourishment – water.

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