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Bleeding for you - cellophane — LiveJournal
the story of an invisible girl
Bleeding for you
Today my new office had a blood drive. I love giving blood, but don't do it often enough. I decided to try to squeeze it in, even though my lunch time was taken up by a little baby shower for my previous manager.

(I did briefly wonder if I shouldn't do so, given my recent vertigo issues, but they seem to be resolving themselves. Yesterday was way less, and today I still feel remnants, but haven't had a full episode at all today. So I figure some ear oddity shouldn't stop me from saving lives, particularly if I pass the mini-physical they start with.)

I popped down at 2pm to check the line. There was none, so I asked if I could get through quickly. "Why, do you have a meeting?" "No, just a ton of work to do."

I went through the preliminary checkup with flying colors. My iron is often borderline, but today it was well into acceptable levels. Yay for remembering to take my vitamins! My blood pressure was 110/76, for those of you who wanted me to monitor it. My temp was 96.2 (brrr), and pulse 64.

I got on the table and mentioned that I needed to hurry back to work. "No problem," said the nurse, "I'm sure you can get through quickly. We're tough." She got me started, and it wasn't long at all before she cheerfully told me, "Almost halfway there."

It figures though, when you're in a hurry things take longer than they should. My nurse went on break, and told me goodbye because she expected me to be gone by the time she was through. I read my email for a long while, then another nurse looked at me. I figured I must be nearly done, and asked her how I was coming. "Slowly," she said. I was surprised. "In fact, you've stopped altogether."

Then followed a couple different nurses looking at the needle, wiggling it around (owie), adjusting the blood pressure cuff, and so on. Eventually they got it flowing again, but apparently my body just wanted to hold onto its contents! Normally I can pump it out nice and fast, but this time it was just barely leaking out.

My original nurse was very surprised to find me still on the table when she came back from break, still valiantly trying to squeeze out the required amount. Finally, after what seemed like forever, and more fiddling with the needle and the cuff, I made it. whew! They kept asking me if I'd had enough water. Perhaps I hadn't, although in fact I feel like I've been drinking more water/liquids than I used to. This morning though, to be honest, I'd had lots of coffee and diet coke, not water. I don't know, maybe I am a bit dehydrated, or maybe my earlier vertigo issues and my current not-bleeding issues are related in some other fashion. Bodies are weird.

Anyway, I now have an impressively large dark blue and red bruise on my elbow. I showed M, and he said "No wonder you stopped, you blew out a vein!" I said I thought the colors were a result of them poking around with the needle, trying to start it again -- but the phrase "blew out a vein" sounds much cooler than mine.

Anyway, it was painful, and took a lot longer than I really had time for. I try to keep it in perspective though: imagine how much worse bleeding to death might feel! There are lots of people who can't or don't give blood, so I know I'm needed. I helped as many as three people by my inconvenience this afternoon -- and they gave me cookies for my trouble -- not bad at all!


read 19 comments | talk to me!
muteid10t From: muteid10t Date: February 26th, 2009 04:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Who are you working for now.
I only ask because my office also had a blood drive today.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: February 26th, 2009 01:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
R.L. Polk. You? Also... did you donate?
swerve From: swerve Date: February 26th, 2009 06:06 am (UTC) (Link)
You are made of win and awesome. Seriously.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: February 26th, 2009 01:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks :)
johnridley From: johnridley Date: February 26th, 2009 03:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've gone slowly a couple of times. One time the needle was pressing against the back side of the vein and that was cutting it off. The other time they left the cuff too loose.

My BP is doing a lot better since I've been cutting back on the caffeine. Another week or so and I'm going to try another 50% cut back. I gave blood a week or so ago and my BP was 112/64 instead of my usual 130ish / 85ish.

I also scheduled it an hour after I got to work; normally I give at the community blood drive since they schedule 7 or 8 times a year instead of the 4 times a year at work and I try to give often, and that means riding my bike there and having my BP/pulse taken right away. Having an hour to rest doesn't hurt.
johnridley From: johnridley Date: February 26th, 2009 03:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sorry for the pain though. By contrast, this last time giving blood for me was the least painful I've ever had. Usually the needle they use feels more like a pitchfork, but this one went in smooth and easy. I think it was a combination of a good, confident nurse putting the needle in fast, and the fact that I'm now pushing 50 donations, and I've got a hell of a lot of scar tissue on that vein; there may not be any nerves left to hit!
pi3832 From: pi3832 Date: February 26th, 2009 04:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Then followed a couple different nurses looking at the needle, wiggling it around (owie), adjusting the blood pressure cuff, and so on.

Ah, so I guess I'll continue in not giving blood. If someone would start wiggling a needle around in my vein, I'd not be the only one bleeding. Indeed, they might have to shoot me with a tranquilizer dart like I was an enraged water-buffalo.
johnridley From: johnridley Date: February 26th, 2009 06:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm up to nearly 50 donations, and that's never happened to me. Besides, it's just a needle, and nothing there hurts for more than 5 seconds.

Do you plan on not taking blood if you need it?
pi3832 From: pi3832 Date: February 26th, 2009 08:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's funny, I don't recall you ever belittling Rennie when she talks about being scared of the dentist.

Are you only self-righteous about blood donation, then?
johnridley From: johnridley Date: February 26th, 2009 08:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, the reply really sounded like "I totally would do it except that it's possible that I might experience a needle wiggling around in a vein."

Sorry, it really wasn't a nice response for me to make. And really, the most horrible part of giving blood is boredom. Occasionally the needle hurts more than others. At its worst, it's about 1/10th as bad as stubbing your toe. I can put up with a lot more than that to give someone what they need when they're dying.
johnridley From: johnridley Date: February 26th, 2009 08:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Besides, being scared of the dentist doesn't affect a single person except the person who's scared. I know some people who are scared of the dentist, and I don't bother them about it or even mention it, though I do personally find it somewhat amusing.
pi3832 From: pi3832 Date: February 26th, 2009 10:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
One of my earliest memories is a woman digging around in my arm with a needle, trying to get blood sample. Being pre-school-aged at the time, it has left me rather IV phobic. Oddly enough, needles in general don't bother me--I can take a shot in the arm like nothing. But when you start going for my vein, my inner pre-schooler takes over.

I've gotten to where I can have blood drawn for testing without having a panic attack. I was thinking maybe I could nut up and donate blood at some point. But Rennie's little tale of them digging in her vein squeezed my adrenal gland to the point I was nauseous.

Sorry, but you'll have to talk to that incompetent public health worker about why I'm not giving blood to hospitals to sell to a patient.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: February 27th, 2009 03:18 am (UTC) (Link)
If you can handle blood samples, you can handle donating. I can't promise it won't be icky, there are no guarantees in life, but I can assure you that my experience yesterday is quite rare. As a general rule, everyone there is very kind and competent, and things go very smoothly.

Anyway how much a patient does or does not pay for the blood doesn't change the fact that people will suffer and die without having blood available to transfuse. I think donating blood is neat because it is such a personal and physical way to help somebody else. I like it. If you are feeling brave someday, you should not let my story keep you from considering it.
pi3832 From: pi3832 Date: February 26th, 2009 10:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
I can put up with a lot more than that to give someone what they need when they're dying.

What do you think the hospitals charge people for your gift?

The idea of "donating" blood is an anachronism from WWII. If they just paid $50 a pint, there wouldn't be any shortages.
johnridley From: johnridley Date: February 27th, 2009 12:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Blood given via the Red Cross is not charged for. They cover their expenses. Their books are open. Hospitals, of course, charge $10 for an aspirin so even though they technically don't charge for the blood, they charge plenty for handling it, I agree.

However, I won't let the fact that the middleman charges more than I'd like keep me from giving something that costs me nothing but an hour's time to someone who might die without it.

Sorry to hear about your bad experiences as a child. Over the years I've managed to completely erase all of my phobias, I intentionally immersed myself in things that frightened me until they were gone, but that's not for everyone, and not really as applicable to needles as it is for spiders and heights :-) I don't expect people to go around letting people poke needles into them to stop being afraid of needles - that'd probably not work out anyway.

I apologize again for being an ass. One of my new year's resolutions is to try not to be an ass as much as I sometimes have been. I had a bit of a bad day yesterday and it still hasn't worn off.
pi3832 From: pi3832 Date: February 27th, 2009 01:22 am (UTC) (Link)
One of my new year's resolutions is to try not to be an ass as much as I sometimes have been.

You and me both.
From: writerwench Date: February 26th, 2009 07:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's kinda what happened to me the last-but-one time I gave blood, some years ago - the needle apparently went right THROUGH the vein and out the other side, but I was bleeding just enough that they thought it was okay. Then they pulled the needle out, and realised.... damn, I was bruised!

Last time, however, it was virtually painless, they were swift, efficient and cheerful, and it was a pleasant way to do something good for others. Even though the UK still hasn't gotten round to putting out Oreo cookies.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: February 27th, 2009 03:10 am (UTC) (Link)
I got chocolate chip cookies. Yum!
From: writerwench Date: February 27th, 2009 09:06 am (UTC) (Link)
I got a little old mumsy helper who poured out four cups of weak lemon squash, and insisted I drink it ALL before leaving... oh, and a bag of crisps. When I was a student in Canada, after giving blood we'd have Oreo cookies and chocolate milk!
read 19 comments | talk to me!