Monday, November 23, 2009

Not a Vampire, but oh so CLOSE!

"I made a Difference Today, I Gave Blood."

That's what my sticker said.

I was totally shocked when the lady told me I'd reached a mile stone, I'd donated an entire GALLON of my blood over the years. I even got a pin. Says "Gallons Donated 1" on the bottom there.

(worst cell pic, dang)

Then I thought about how long I'd been donating, since I was 17, when we'd had a blood drive at our high school. That memory took me back, WAAAAAY back, to the H.S. Gym, where the drive was taking place. I was fearless, unlike I am today. Then, I laughed at all the Jock guys who were paling and passing out left and right. Today, I turn my head and try to practice breathing while they insert that huge ass needle into my arm. I understand that the nurses do this, or something akin to this, every single day, and therefore have become immune to it. But honestly? I have not. I do not, repeat, DO NOT need to see the 3 bags, and 2 vials and one "mini" bag that you are going to use to store my blood. Because at 6 pm at night, having just come from work without eating, those 3 bags, 2 vials and one "mini" bag look like they are going to hold a HECK of a lot more that a pint, or whatever you are taking. Sad right? after 18 yrs of donating I'm not even sure how much they take each time. Wait, I am, because when I got my pin the nurse said,”OH! This is your 8th pint! You get the pin!!!" So, yes, it SEEMS like you are taking more than a pint. Anyway, I don't need to see it. And even more? I don't, REALLY DO NOT, need to FEEL IT. Yes. FEEL the warmth of my own blood as it flows through the tube that is laid over my arm and dangles down to the bags it is connected to. Do. Not. Need. It is in no way comforting.
Recently I've discovered that I am "sensitive" to surgical tape. One time while donating I had a mini-meltdown almost pass-out because the tape over the needle in my arm started to itch. Now this had happened before, but usually right before the nurse declared me A FULL BAG. So I always just wrote it off as an at the end sort of body reaction. However, this one time in question, the nurse did not come to rescue me. Not for quite some time. When she finally did make her way over, "How are you doing?"

"My arm tingles. And itches. A LOT."

"Hmmmm" said her voice, "MEDIC!" said her face.

P.A.N.I.C. sets in.

I start to feel sick and light headed and things just started to escalate. My worst fear is PASSING OUT.

The sweat starts. Oh lord, here we go.

She tried to talk me down, and it helped some. But the SECOND she ripped that tape off, my body started to cool down, my focus came back, and all was right with the world. Except for the lively red 2.5" swollen rectangle on my arm.

"Well, it appears you are SENSITIVE to surgical tape." the nurse informed me, "From now on have them use this....." and for the life me, I can NEVER remember what that stretchy self sticking stuff the coaches used to warp my ankle in. So now, I just tell all medical personal that my "Allergies" include codeine, Sudafed and surgical tape. Which always gets a follow up of; “Latex?" "Nope."

There was a time where I didn't, couldn't donate. My iron was always too low. But I tried, MANY times. After 17 years I should be WAY beyond 1 gallon of blood. But you know what? I bet I'm a gallon further ahead than a lot of people out there.

If you can work out for 30 to 40 mins a day, you can give blood every 56 days. Because that’s about how long it takes, depending on the wait of course. You never know whose loved one you could help save.

PSA ended.

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