Monday, January 16, 2006

I've got you ...under my skin, I feel you...deep in the heart of s'mee!

in the bag
Originally uploaded by Stitch.

Everyday people all over the world make little "to do " lists. This morning, mine included a stop by the local blood bank to donate a unit.

I am usually very prompt. I showed up for my 10:00 appointment at 9:28. I knew something was up when I followed a little black jeep into the empty lot. The jeep in front of me parked in the "reserved for blood bank staff" space, and the owner popped out of the jeep and into the building. I found my space and by the time I looked up I didn't notice who had left, but I did notice a few other things.

One was the cartoon nurse on the rear window. This is an indication of the owner of said vehicle being a nurse. Not a complicated code, pretty obvious. The other thing I noticed? Well the license plate frame which read: "PSYCHO *ITCH FROM H*LL!" Just the thing you want to see as you are about to lay down on the big blue chair and expose a vein.

If you will recall, last week I made reference to my low blood pressure and the inability of most folks to actually find a pulse, beat, evidence of life at all within my veins. After the initial paper work I was called back into the screening room for the interview portion of the competition. Ms. F was my LVN for the day and she seemed fairly nice. We chatted as she fought to find the required life form cursing through my body; once found, she smiled and I could see a bead of perspiration gently fall towards her cheek. The finger stick revealed that I was indeed anemic but right at the cut off point for the offering I was to give. She also remarked that I was "remarkably relaxed". Where have I heard that before?

She explained the procedure and we went over to the comfy big blue chairs. She asked if I had a preferred arm, "no", and went to work. She pumped the BP cuff and had me squeeze a small rubber globe while she palpated my arm for just the right spot. She explained that the needle was larger than a regular needle and that I might want to look the other way, but that she had done this thousands of times and would try to make it as painless as possible. (yeah right, they all say that don't they?) She remarked that she found a good vein and with a few -almost undetectable- pokes she was satisfied and began to reach for other things. In my head I was very impressed. She did know what she was doing! I barely felt it at all! She was by far the best needle poker I have ever had! I decided to take a peek at the needle, kind of that looking at the accident as you slowly drive by morbidity. I turned my head and found the spot. She poked me alright, with the back end of a bic pen! It made a hard little indented target for the real thing. She asked me not to move and went in search of her tools.

Things were going well until I heard her gasp.

"Oh shoot. I am so sorry. NATALIE! NATALIE! HAS ANYONE SEEN NATALIE? I NEED NATALIE STAT!" At this point she asks me to "look away" and assures me, "although this isn't normal, it does happen on occasion...NATALIE! I am so sorry, are you in pain?" (should I be???) I really wasn't feeling anything other than the intense grip she had on my arm and a little tingly.

Eventually another gal came over... the head honcho of the blood bank(according to her badge and demeanor), the one that just happened to be substituting from the county head quarters today and had been heard previously in less than happy tones. She put on her happy face, one so happy that I was thinking "she doesn't want me to get mad and sue" -seriously her face was strangely happy. You know, the face they save for telling the terminally ill they "have three weeks to live" happy. She followed with an apology and a string of questions to find out if I responded in this manner when I gave blood before. I managed a glance at my now revealed arm and there was not only a large bruise, but a large swelling also. They were busily wrapping it and instructing me on how to get the swelling and bruising to come down quicker.

side bar: If I had this reaction when I give, donate, otherwise leak blood, it begs the question "Why would I do this again?" So much for reason.

On to the other arm. After having to re-set up the instruments she found a vein and stuck in the needle. This time it stung internally like all get out and the sting stayed for about five minutes. Now they didn't say anything, but I am wondering if there was some magic potion on that needle to prevent my arm from ballooning up. We may never know. She put warm pack all over that same arm and had me hold a warm pack instead of the squishy ball everyone else had. All went well, but I am a little bruised on both arms. Pretty.

As I walked into the canteen a very friendly little gal offered me my choice of beverage and some cookies. The gal at the table next to me had two bags of chips -doritos and cheetos, and 3 assorted Pepperage Farm cookies - the good ones. Hefty guy across from me had a small sandwich, three chocolate chip cookies and was in the process of asking for another bag of cheetos and another room temperature water. I received my pine-orange-banana and had a couple of iced raisin of my favorites, but honestly, I had been there now for almost 3 hours and I wanted someone to drive up the block and grab an IN-N-OUT cheeseburger for me. (I did stay long enough to see Madagascar two and a half times through...I wanted to move it, move it, right outta there.)

While I was waiting the canteen gal brought me a red t-shirt and thanked me for "bleeding for the martyrs". She also gave me paper work for other freebies for donating this particular day. I felt pretty guilty, MLK day was yesterday and frankly the appointment was given to me not by choice, but necessity. I didn't make the connection until she mentioned it.

On the way out three really sweet little ladies asked me to take their photo in front of Martin Luther King's poster o-the day and the U.S. flag as they held a flyer with his picture on it as well. One of them hugged me "for Dr. King" and then another replied that it was "nice of a white woman to honour Dr. King by donating blood". I felt really guilty then, but didn't want to seem like a goof, so I just smiled and left. Sorry Martin, you are a great guy, I just forget because #2 shares your birthday and I remember him instead of you; it's a mom thing more then a national issue.

So all's well that ends swell I guess. In the immortal words of Roseanne Roseanna Danna: "It's always something!"

(thanks to Stitch for the photo!)

add to sk*rt


chronicler said...

You always one up me! ;-)

Well, now that you've seen the psycho b from Hades don'tcha want to go back again and again?

I'm on their calendar and do my duty every chance I get and have yet to have your fantastic luck. The worst, as I stated earlier, was blood letting all over the floor because I bleed fast!

Well, hopefully some poor schmuck doesn't get your blood and then you have to go all over again!

Susan M said...

I hate having blood drawn--and I always have to have at least five vials everytime I go to the doctor. (I can't donate, though--they don't want diabetic blood.) The thing that drives me nuts is I have this really great vein. Any lab I go to ALWAYS has someone in training, and they ALWAYS want to draw my blood because I have such a great vein. Ugh!

chronicler said...

Oh s'mee - I got site of the day for tuesday at Michele's! Yay!

David B. said...

I usually give blood a couple of times a year, either at our stake blood drive, or at work.

I have one vein in particular that always seems to work well. Its the "mother lode" vein.

Over the years, I have learned to insist that the person drawing blood use the mother lode vein, because if they don't, I usually end up with one of those 6-inch multi-hued iridescent bruises. (Which sounds like may be in your future for the next coulpe of weeks!)

Trinity13 said...

See this is why I don't give blood. I'm afraid something like this will happen to me. But, I know I need to, I just don't want to go alone! :-(

s'mee said...

o.k. trinity, next time we go together!

Pink Pen said...

I have the worst time getting blood drawn too... one nurse took eight separate tries before she had to go and get a doctor to do it. I was black and blue up and down both arms and they finally had to take it from the back of my hand (!!!). Now I tell the nurse to use a butterfly needle and point to the exact spot they'll find the most success... and then deal with the ones who get pissy about me telling them how to do their job (uh, it's my body. I like it without bruises thanks.)

Here from Michele's!

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I hate when the people drawing boood are---shall we say--inept, and then you are left with the bruises from hell! I had to have a pic line put in at one time and my whole arm was bruised and swollen...and THAT was the so-called Expert who did that!

valbee said...

I don't mind having blood drawn for tests and I never seem to have any problems. But I am still chicken to donate blood. My son does it, but he's a universal donor so he's always in demand. The Red Cross is constantly calling for him. Me... they don't bother me to donate at all.

Thanks for an interesting story and for stopping by my blog! :)

s'mee said...

Pink Pen, yikes, I am going in for surgery in a few weeks and I am DREADING the ol' I.V.more than the surgery! What a chicken I am! Welcome and thanks, read again!

Old Lady, what an intersting life and blog you have! The better to see LA with I presume! WOW, I will be back for more! Thanks for coming by and come back soon!

Valbee, it was nice of you to stop by... interesting weird thing: My ma and pa used to date at Mickey Finns down around San Diego way...wondering if it's the same place. You'll have to stop by again and we can chat it up.

s'mee said...

Valbee, answering my own question....DUH! san Diego in Ohio? I guess not, but my brain is slippin' lately! lol