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Ode to a cannula

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Something strange has happened to me over the past few days. I put it in the same league as an unhealthy obsession with Sir Alan of Partridge (no offence Lynn...), or the saving of wee until you get in the shower. Yes you guessed it, i have become unhealthily attached to my cannula...thanks to a durable and reliable vein. The vein wraps around the small plastic splinter without asking for anything more than a fresh plaster every few days. These veins are the civil service of the medical world. What makes this cannula/vein marriage different from all the others? This one is in it for the long haul.

Most of my veins are pathetic. They see the blue scrubs coming towards me, the alarm goes up, and panic ensues. No amount of hot water, fist squeezing, skin slapping or rubbing will encourage one brave vein to volunteer itself for national service. Eventually the junior doctor digs a vein up from the deep, and it reluctantly accepts its new profession..but its heart isn't in it.

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Once they are joined together with a cannula they forget the panic and warmly settle into married live. Very much like marriage, the honeymoon period is short lived. By day 3 the cannula and my vein will have plotted against me. The vein cares more for its relationship with the small piece of loose plastic that it will collapse in order to get closer to it. It has no regard for the important job for which it was chosen just a few days ago.

All except one vein. This is a power house of a vein. It hides in one of those rare body black spots, just below the elbow area. If veins are the civil service of the medical world, this vein is the Cabinet Secretary. It is in an awkward place, and doctors don't like to use it...but i insist, this vein never lets me down. What makes this vein so amazing?

This vein is a big ol' vein. It takes large bore cannulas with a quiet dignity, knowing that its union with the plastic is a professional one only. It is a deep vein. Taking its cannulation duty seriously it pops up to the skin by just the right amount to allow regular insertions. It does not concern itself with fickle relationships with smaller veins...it makes its way immediately to an artery to ensure any medication quickly finds its way around the body. This vein is resilient. Over 6 weeks it was cannulated over 20 times. It was unfair of me to put it in such a position, but it did not complain and never let me down. Once these regular cannulations were over, it asked for a rest...and i proudly obliged.

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On this particular hospital admission i insisted that the big old vein was tasked with the job of transmitting antibiotics to my heart. It took to the job with its usual can-do attitude, and it is still performing the task with honour after 14 days. Hospital policy says that it should have been removed after 3, but the vein and i have agreed that removal of the cannular would compromise our defences, and i have thus far resisted the pressure for it to be removed.

In a few days the cannula will need to come out. We know this, and are prepared for it...we are enjoying the time we have left. Once the vein and the cannula part ways, the vein will not shed a tear, for it knows that without the reliable and honourable Cabinet Secretary, the Prime Minister will not survive.