The fat one lay placid like a lake. Barely visible from her resting place. Lazy yet beckoning. The thin one was more like a stream in summer, snaked her way down her place of rest. I studied both of them carefully as a few beads of perspiration streaked down my forehead. Which one? was the question on my mind.
I looked at the staff nurse who had all the armamentarium to secure venous access. The venous cannulaeof varying sizes, tapes, cotton swabs, tourniquet all neatly arranged on a tray. She was all set for a “Difficult Venous Cannulation” and had called me, the so called expert Anaesthesiologist for the procedure. She looked at me with a look that said….”Do this fast and for good, I hope I can trust you.”
Tourniquet tied, fist curled I tapped the fat one first. She was barely a blotch of blue and refused to fill up. Arrogance. And thats what made me want to cannulate her even more. The thin one was barely a blob under the skin of the inner side of the wrist. Yet she screamed “Try me” . “Nah I said, you shall take a small cannula while what we need here is a large bore. Fattie wins” The Fat one was nonchalant. “Here I come” and I took a bold prick. No flash of blood. Advance the cannula. No blood…..withdraw the cannula. Blood spills to the skin. “You rascal” I said. “The staff nurse must be pitying me the expert and mocking me at the same time. Or upset I shall now give up.” The thin one was popping out even more now. “C’mon. you are thin and crooked. I cannot see the rest of you after that blob where you dip deeper into the skin! Its a waste to even try you. Still I shall, now that I have a cannula in my hand and my image at stake”. Bold prick no. 2. Flash of bright red. Wow! Slide the cannula. Glides in effortlessly. Stretches the thin one on its way and wow, the vein is secured! Suddenly I’m the hero, who saved a patient from dehydration and more pricking and poking.
Ah the joys of being an Anaesthesiologist! And the pleasure of cannulating a seemingly impossible vein.