Monday, December 28, 2009

Choose Your Own Bloodventure 2: Lost in New Vein

(Alternate Title—Blood Goggles 2: The Reckoning.)

Today morning was blood donor clinic REDUX.

(Full history here with previous outcome here.)

I went back! And I passed with flying colors! Actually, more like passed out.

But let's baby got back up the story train a bit.

I get there. They put me through the screening, and I am cleared this time! Woohoo! I feel so accomplished for no discernible reason.

Then they do the finger stick test to check my iron, and I barely pass that, but I do. Boy, those finger sticks hurt. They hurt more then giant needles, I've decided. Or maybe fingertips are just a sensitive bunch.

Then I go for the mainstage event: the blood draw! There is an element of suspense and wonder since it is my first time. My phlebotomist (who was also my screener) is very nice and she has a Southern accent (from Mississippi, I learn through eavesdropping). I find it to be very comforting, as if I am about to be served a fresh slice of fruit pie off the windowsill instead of getting a tube stuck in my "juicy" veins (that's the adjective she used!).

My blood is coming out pretty slowly, no big surprise there. My arm starts to feel like a log so they remove the tourniquet and then I keep pumping my arm and it takes a bit of time, but gradually, I fill up a bag (lunch for a vampire)!

Proof positive, or negative. I forgot to ask my type.

Now for the medical drama. I sat there for a bit, then I sat up. So far, so good. I was tentative, but playing it cool.

Then I walked over to the kitchenette area where they make you sit and eat a snack and drink some juice for 10 to 15 minutes until you are pronounced fit to return to society!

I go and sit there. Right away my mind turns into a blackish grid and everything starts closing in on me. I've had dizzy moments from fevers of yore so I try to put my head between my legs. I am not sure where I remember this from (probably TV, how embarrassing), and hey guess what, it doesn't help at all.

I weakly wave at the nearest nurse and go, "HALP."

And this whole crew of nurses rushes over, ready to rock n' roll. I must've looked convincing. They lay me out on the floor and stick ice bags under and on my neck and arms, elevate my legs, and stare at me with very real concern. I feel woozylicious (donor drunk is the diagnosis I'll go with, I haven't built up a tolerance yet for sapping blood).

Gradually, they move me in a wheelchair back to a bed where they have me lay there with icepacks until I no longer feel like a ragdoll.

The nice thing that happened was that every nurse in the entire vicinity came by to see how I was doing...as if I was some sort of hero!

Pah! Hero! More like autologous donor with newbie syndrome!

All the regular morning donors, mostly elderly people, sat in beds around me with their little bags silently judging me and my obvious weakness. But I just adjusted my icebags and enjoyed my random throne. I felt like Queen of the Blood Clinic! Everyone kept making sure I was OK and asking if I needed anything.

An approximation of my throne.
photo courtesy of Flickr and extremeezine

I think the real explanation is nothing that exciting happens at a blood clinic, so I added some action to the day. I was happy to play the part once I was stabilized, but back there at the beginning, definitely not my best work. Shaky legs, gradual slump over, Matrix brain, sweaty chills, and nausea. No thanks! I'll take another finger prick instead, thanks.

Finally, one OJ, a granola bar, and two hours later, I ventured back out into the world to tell my story.

They offered me a T-shirt before I left, but I wasn't taking a T-shirt after donating blood to myself! No way! They also said, "Come back and see us again!" Yes. I will. Just not right this second.

P.S. I am actually sitting here daydreaming about the blood clinic right now because I felt like such a prize piece of society there. I could do no wrong, and everyone was so eager to please me. But I know, if I go back tomorrow, it just won't be the same. Mainly because I can't donate blood two days in a row! I'm not allowed. The law says! Medical law. Learn it! It's what keeps this kingdom running smoothly.

4 comments:

Molly said...

Wow. The last time I gave blood -- TO OTHER PEOPLE, BTW -- I passed out twice and didn't get that level of care or concern. Just some wet paper towels and another bag of Famous Amos cookies. I think it was mainly because I'm me (sour) and you're you (endearing). Glad you're feeling perky again!

Aparna said...

Oh, Molly. How I love thee! Sour, my foot! If you are sour, then buy me up a pack of Sour Patch Kids because I am a hee-yooge fan. Your blood ordeal sounds way, way more riveting and I hope it's stored somewhere!

I already miss seeing your delightful face on a regular basis! Wah.

Gina said...

That reminds me a bit of my last two blood donations. It was a spur of the moment thing, and I hadn't eaten much that day. When I tried to get up after I nearly fainted. They did take good care of me and made me drink a Coke (which I never do). Then I was awake until 3am.

The next time I gave into their harassing phone calls and made an appointment at a local drive. I was the last appointment and it took over half an hour for me to fill the bag. So they were cleaning up and waiting for me. I took it easy though and didn't faint, even asking for a Sprite to drink before getting up. Since I was last they loaded me up with swag and snacks to take.

Hope all goes well for you!

Aparna said...

Gina! Yay! More blood stories! Someone should start a blood donation blog. Oh wait, there are already probably 50 jillion. You reminded me I have no good reason to stay up until 3AM since I don't have a Coca Cola excuse.