I lay on the gurney, groggy from having spent a night in the ER. It was early in the morning and I was alone. I had barely slept at all the night before, and for some reason, they started blasting music around 5 am. I was hungry, exhausted, and scared.
I looked over at the IV and saw tiny bubbles making their way through the tube, heading for my arm. Wait, isn’t it bad to have air in the IV? At the end of Catching Fire, wasn’t Katniss going to kill Peeta to save him from the Capitol by injecting air into his veins with a syringe?
I started to panic, but realized that even if I had the courage to ask the nurse such a stupid question, the air was going to enter my vein before she got there. Either this tiny bubble was going to kill me or not. I would know in a few seconds.
It didn’t kill me.
I thought of this moment at a recent Entyvio infusion, when I asked my nurse if it was ok that there was so much blood around the IV site. She reassured me that it was fine; it was just because my veins were well hydrated so I bled more when the IV was inserted.
“I just wanted to make sure,” I said apologetically.
“There are no stupid questions,” she said. “One guy asked me once about the tiny bubbles.” She pointed to the bubbles in the tube. “On doctor shows they make it sound like air in the IV is going to kill you. But it would have to be a giant air bubble that filled the whole thing.”
I laughed. I didn’t tell her I had been worried about that once. But it made me feel better that someone else had had the same question.
There are no stupid questions. If you’re wondering, chances are someone else has wondered too. And nurses and doctors have heard it all. I’ve gotten better about asking my questions, but I still find myself getting embarrassed sometimes or worrying if it’s a stupid question or if I’m bothering the doctor with too many questions.
Also, TV shows and The Hunger Games are probably not the best source of medical information.