Every time I have to start an IV, I'm dreading it as I am pumping up the bed to get it to the correct height. I hate hurting people.
Yes, IVs can hurt, but it usually becomes more of an annoyance afterwards than anything else.
I think taking them out can be quite painful... let me explain. They put so much flippin' tape on your hand/arm to keep the IV in place, that when they remove the IV, they have to first peel back all the tape. And if you have any hair on your arms... OUCH!
So I just had a little overnighter in the hospital Thursday, until Friday afternoon after a bad case of gastroenteritis and I needed almost four liters of IV fluids. By Friday I was feeling better and was ready to go home. I knew the doctor was at the nurse's station writing the discharge orders, and I decided to help 'speed things along'. I decided to start slowly working on all that tape, at my OWN speed, so that by the time the nurse got there, she could pull off the last little bit of tape and take the IV out. I took my time, pulling a little here, and a little there from each corner until I'd just about removed it all from my skin. Then I thought, "Oh, what the heck, I'll take the tape off the skin, but hold on to the IV line until she gets here." So the nurse walks in and I tell her, "I've already removed the tape so I could control the ouchy hair removal part." She laughed and said, you've already done most of my job then, but I don't have a dressing and tape to put over it, so I'll be right back. In the meantime, I had one of those 'I don't think I'm going to make it to the bathroom in time moments', so as I stood up from the side of the bed, forgetting that the tiniest bit of tape was holding the IV to my skin, the IV slipped out and so now I've got blood running down my arm, and I'm grabbing for tissues as I run to the bathroom.
Thankfully I made it to the bathroom, and was able to clean up the blood that had dripped down my arm. I grabbed some more tissues and held the pressure at the site until the nurse returned. By then (less than 2-3 minutes) it had stopped bleeding. So then she really kidded me and said, "Well, now you HAVE done my job for me." And all she had to do was put the dressing on and tape it down.
But yea, getting that tape off is sometimes more painful than putting the IV in. Geez, had I known I was going to get gastroenteritis and require IV fluids, I might have shaved my arm (assuming that I would have known where they were going to be able to get an IV in!) before I headed off to the ER.