After all my talk about giving blood, you might be wondering how my experience went.
First. it took a LONG time. We went down at 10:30 a.m. and barely were back by 1 p.m. This isn’t the fault of the blood folks…it’s all me. The beginning steps went well — the candy bar prize wheel, screening questions to check eligibility, etc. There was a moment when the screener thought I might be anemic (and therefore, not eligible), but I passed a second test with flying colors.
When it finally came time to relax on the lawn chair-looking contraptions, that’s when things started to go a little awry. I followed Eileen’s suggestions, drank water in advance (not enough, apparently) and requested the most experienced RN there. I also warned them about my difficulties giving blood before.
The result? Things still didn’t go quite as anticipated. My vein, evidently, is like a rubber band and keeps scooting out of the way. When it finally got poked (and this took a little while), the pace was pretty slow. I finished filling the bag about 12 minutes later.
But that was it.
My veins didn’t hold up for the last leg of the journey, filling up the tubes. And if you can’t fill up the tubes (which are required for running blood tests), they can’t use your blood. And if they can’t use your blood, well, the entire BAG that I just filled was useless.
So I took a deep breath and turned over my other arm.
Sure, with RN Louise’s help, I managed to fill the tubes and get the whole donation process done. And yeah, it only took half a day. But the final parting comments were what was really priceless.
Louise told me that 1) this was the most challenging draw she’s had in months and 2) she very politely mentioned that she didn’t want to DETER me from giving blood, but that…uhhh…there are other ways I can help.
Ouch. As sweet as she said it, that almost hurt more than the needle.
This won’t be my last time giving blood, but it sounds like my personal hesitancy was justified. There’s nothing worse than wanting to help and being (mostly) unable to do so. Sniff. Just means that Robin better give blood twice as often to make up for me!