Steven M
Posted by

Step Two - The Bone Marrow Aspirate

Steven M
Posted by
06 Nov 2015

My thoughts and feelings of the first few times I had a bone marrow aspirate.

I'm sat in a  waiting room on Ford Ward, my new home for the next four to six weeks.

"I've come for some blood," announces Rosemary as she walks in.

"No problem," I respond. "I've already got a line in my left arm from the CT department."

"Sorry, I can't use that one, that's a venflon line, lets have a look at your right arm."

Rosemary seems pleasant with a good bedside manner, but gives up after two attempts.

"I think I'll put a butterfly in your hand instead, I'll be back," she says as she gathers her things and strides off.

I start to take on board the difficult job nurses have.  In the past, whenever you see "NURSES UNDERPAID" or "NHS CUTS ON THE RISE" or any other headline we've grown accustomed to, I can't say I've really given it a second thought. I mean most people are overworked and underpaid, aren't they?

But now it's me in the chair.

"Hi, I've brought you some tablets, we"re starting your steroids now, I know it's 1 o'clock, but it'll mean you only missed your morning pills.  I'm also going to give you a pill to counteract the acid indigestion the steroids will cause,"  a new nurse explains.

I notice her name tag, her name is Claire.

Claire continues.

"Your having bone marrow today, would you like to be put under?"

My mind goes back to the previous weeks events.

"Normally we would give you a general anaesthetic, but because you had your fluids for your CT scan, we'll have to do it under a local. It will be painful" 

Dr Bevan goes on to ask if I'd like to wait to enable me be put under, but with the stakes involved here, the sooner the better.  So in we go.

"Now just lie on your side in the foetal position" as he prepares his instruments.

At this stage I can't see what's going on, but boy oh boy I can feel it.

"What do you do for a living Mr Mitchell?" he casually asks as he works.

"I'm a timber floor layer" I say through clenched teeth.

"Oh, well I'm probably using similar tools to you right now"

My mind comes back to the present.

"Yes nurse, I think I will take the sedation this time".

Fifteen minutes later nurse Claire reappears.

"I just need to take some blood, sharp scratch"


Read the next step of my journey. 



I remember the bone marrow aspirate only too well Steve - not a pleasant experience at all and I regret not taking the general anaesthetic as it was pretty painful!

I also remember looking round afterwards and seeing the nurse with the needle and joking that it couldn't possibly have been that needle remembering just how big it was. A real eye opener thinking that that had just been in my bone.

Do you still get the odd phantom pain/ache there? I do occasionally and am immediately reminded of the procedure.