… If you see me looking keenly and intently at your arms, mark the expression on my face. If I appear to be drooling, be glad. If I appear to be puzzled, and seem to be peering closer and closer, be alarmed. If I look once and look away, you’re okay.
So here’s the deal, I have a thing for veins. I find myself looking at total strangers arms asking myself “I wonder what gauge IV catheter I could get in that guy?” If I have a dreamy expression on my face, then it means you have #18 or even potentially #16 gauge veins, and if I’m really actively drooling it means I’m thinking your veins are so big and beautiful I probably won’t need a torniquet. If I look bored it means I think you’re an easy #20, no big deal. And if I look puzzled, aww hell… not good, I’m thinking I’ll be lucky if I can even find somewhere to stick a #24. (The smaller the numbers the larger the catheter).
I am obsessed with veins, because one of the cardinal rules of the ER, besides airway, breathing, and circulation, is to have what we call “access”, as in intravenous access, most frequently in your arm or hand, and if you’re really badly off, then we go for your jugular. It allows us to draw blood for tests, to give fluids, and to give fast acting life saving medication. So it’s not a bad thing this fetish I have for your veins. Some might even call it an occupational hazard.