Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Like blood from a stone...

I signed up on Sunday for a church blood drive to hopefully make up for a terrible experience a week ago.

I was climbing into the blood mobile when I slammed my toe into the top step. At first I was just embarrassed but then it really started to hurt and I noticed blood was flowing out from under my toenail. Well, the last thing I wanted was to leave a trail of blood on the blood mobile floor, so I asked for some help and got my toe bandaged up. One of the nurses said "maybe it's not your day to give blood." I shoulda listened.

I still wanted to do what I came there for, so I did the iron test (they poked my finger) and climbed up on a 'couch'. The phlebotomist (look it up) came and preped my arm and couldn't find my main vein, so he decided to try for a smaller side vein. I'm usually ok with needles, but this one really hurt. He said sorry and then informed me it wasn't flowing, so he moved the needle around a little to try to find the vein. No luck, and the blood that had started was already coagulating in the tube.

I spun around on the couch so they could try the other arm. I wanted them to. I know how valuable a bag of blood is to someone who needs it, especially here in Hawaii where we can't just bring in some more A negative from the next state.

I'm sitting there with a bandage on my toe, on my finger, on my right arm, and here comes the technician with a needle for my left arm. We decide to take the extra time and really try to find the main vein on the left. I'm actually pretty confident because I often have trouble the first time but usually am successful the second time. The area is preped and in goes the needle. The nurse is pretty sure he got the right spot, but nothing is flowing. We'll later discover a skin plug in the needle.

Somehow I walked out of the blood mobile with four punctures, but without giving blood. I was disappointed. They gave me a little pin to make me feel better. I did feel better until I read it. "I gave blood at the Hawaii Blood Bank". I guess they don't have pins that say "I tried to give blood."

Looking back on it now, I think my veins constricted in reaction to the pain I was experiencing in my toe. I should have listened to that first nurse and come back later. I'll give it another go on Sunday, September 10th, but I'll definitely be watching out for that top step. It's a doozy!

Peace, Love, and Phlebotomy,


(This experience is not the norm, and I have always found the blood bank staff to be very friendly and professional. The blood bank needs your blood too. To give blood or find out more information, contact The Hawaii Blood Bank.)

People interested in donating blood must:
» Be in good health.
» Be 18 years of age or older (17 with parental consent).
» Weigh 110 pounds or more.
» Bring a valid photo ID.

The donation process takes about an hour and includes some paperwork and a short physical. The actual collection of blood takes five to eight minutes (unless you're special like me!)

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