Monthly Archives: November 2010

The Hip Chronicles, Part I: The human pincushion

In my series, the RA Diaries, I’ve tried to write about the weird, the painful and even the comical parts of having a chronic illness. Very recently, I had what for many RA patients is a rite of passage: my first joint replacement. My new right hip, with its festive combination of titanium, cobalt and plastic polymer, is worth five times more than my car. And it will surely be a great source of amusement to TSA scanners worldwide, because on x-rays it looks like I’m packing some major heat.

Now, kind reader, let me tell you exactly how I went about getting my new hip. But be warned. It’s gonna get gross. And graphic. And, maybe once in a while, somewhat amusing. I hope you get something out of it. I’m certainly hoping I will.

For years, I’ve been the scourge of blood extractors everywhere.

I’m what’s known as a “hard stick,” aka someone who is difficult to get blood out of.

I’m not entirely sure why, but I believe it’s a combination of things. I definitely have tiny veins — none of those strong, cord-like veins that twist around the arms and calves of athletes (or Madonna) can be found on me.
Those tiny veins are also shy. They don’t like to show off, so they hide deep under the skin like elusive sea creatures, especially when predatory needles are in sight.
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