Well, today I did my very first own pin-prick blood test for my very first own DIY INR on my squeaky new CoaguChek machine...
I discover that using the machine is a piece of cake, as the instructions are really clear and they include a DVD as well as a user manual, plus an A4 format instruction booklet with pictures. Got it all set up pretty easily...
And then discovered that I am rubbish at doing my own pin-prick tests. Oh yes. I managed to get the little needle thing into the pricking pen they provide, gold star for that because the surgery phlebotomist couldn't figure it out. People don't seem to like pulling the heads off stuff, but it comes naturally to me. I suspect I was an executioner in a previous life.
So, I tried to get the blood flowing as they suggest, by massaging the finger and even putting it on the radiator (ow). Then did the pin prick. Despite the darn thing feeling like it just excavated its way to Australia, there was a pitiful amount of blood. I tried putting it on the strip and got an error which (on leafing through the manual) turns out to be a 'blood test error', which (of course) means I didn't put enough on. Swearing ensues.
Start again... Different finger (nurse says you can't use the same finger twice). Same result. By now I am starting to feel pained, so I spend a goodly amount of time getting a finger with so much blood in it that it is purple and pulsing (okay, maybe I exaggerate slightly...) I set the machine up, I take the blood - success! Hooray! I get a beep rather than a sulky 'error 5'.
And an INR! Oh, the feeling of achievement! And it's in range... By now, I am spouting blood out of three fingers, which have ungratefully decided to provide blood now it's not needed, and the room looks like I decided to film a slasher movie here. Every darn thing has little smears of blood on it.
I sit here now typing with three cotton wool balls taped to my fingers, and you'd be surprised how easy that isn't. But hey, I did it, in the end! Now all I need is a really large supply of strips and Bob, as they say, is your favourite uncle!
Plus, of course, I didn't have to trail into the surgery, which (however much I love my chats with Jo the blood nurse) is a pain in the posterior. I'm sure it will be worth the angst, and the blood smears everywhere, and I hope that eventually I will get better at the pin pricking!