13 September 2008
I don't actually mind being a pincushion. I'm getting used to it. But sometimes things get out of hand.
I start my day each day by giving myself a finger stick to check blood glucose levels. I always think of the woman in the commercials for a new blood check machine which uses "the smallest amount of blood possible," and who talks about the pain of the daily pricks and says, "you just don't know" (how painful it is). Must be someone with a very low pain threshold. I prick about the same spot every day and don't even blink.
At 9 a.m., I had an appointment to give blood. I swear this was "apprentice day" at the blood place. I am usually in and out of there, including time to eat my donut, in half an hour. But the gal doing the intake was new and I threw her for a loop. One of the screening questions they ask is if you've had any vaccinations within the past 8 weeks. Well, I had a shingles vaccine a month ago, but I had been scheduled to give blood the next day, so I was in contact with the folks there. They looked it up at the time and said I couldn't donate for four weeks, not eight. So after MUCH discussion, and a conference with one of the screeners I recognized, she decided I was OK to donate.
I also wanted to repeat the line we often teased Paul about: "Don't tell Bev Sykes things she already knows." I was told more basic things than I've ever been told before. I dunno...I donate blood every 6 weeks and have been doing it for years. Did I really need basic, basic information? But--ok. She was new.
But then there was the finger stick to check for hematocrit level. Even with the additional four weeks, the damn drop of blood still didn't sink to the bottom of the copper sulfate solution, though your level has to be at least 38 and mine was actually 42, after they ran it through a centrifuge. She said she didn't understand why it didn't sink. I told her it was "force of habit." They always have to spin my blood to qualify me for donation.
So, with the blood finally passing its test, I was taken to the donation place. They always take blood from my right arm, which has the best vein. Usually what happens is they get me in the chair, take my blood pressure, get the bag ready (takes a few seconds), and then stick the needle in and in 10 minutes or less, it's over.
Well, the nurse was someone I hadn't seen before. Once again, I simply cannot believe the blood pressure readings I got. Something like 106/60. I know I've been on blood pressure meds, but that's totally unbelievable. I must run out to Kaiser and get the BP taken and compare the two. Of course, I was in a nice comfy reclining chair. Maybe that's why.
Anyway, after she took my blood pressure, she started working on getting the collection bag ready. I don't know what she was doing but at one point I thought she was making it from scratch. It took her forever. But finally she got it done and came at me with that long, thick needle. She found the usual vein, stuck the needle in, released the little lever and nothing happened. She had missed the vein.
Then she started doing the fun thing -- poking around inside until she finallydid hit the vein, but immediately a hematoma erupted, a bruised bump. So the whole thing had to be removed and I got a lecture on how to ice it every couple of hours and then put heat on it this afternoon. She had the woman who was observing (I never did figure out if she was a supervisor or a trainee) to fix a bag of ice for me, using a rubber glove. Actually a rubber glove makes kind of a neat ice bag--except that after she tied it off and attached it to the crook of my arm, so it would cover the hematoma, I looked down and the glove was giving me the finger!
By this time nurse #1 was back building a bag from scratch again and finally, on the second try, she managed to hit the vein and in 10 minutes I had finally donated blood.
Then just to top it off, she lowered the arm on the wrong side of the chair--I'm used to getting off on the RIGHT side, not the left side, and couldn't coordinate my body to get down that way -- ok, that was me being stupid, but it was just weird.
I left the blood place and went downtown to the infamous Mishka's Cafe to meet Kari from Davis Community Network for a meeting. With my bandaged arms, I felt like I looked like I'd either just come from a bloody battle, or that I was some sort of drug addict who had been shooting up that morning!
Kari says that she's been a little nervous about donating blood and never had done it. Somehow I don't think my experience this morning (or my appearance!) was reassuring!
Oddly enough, they always give you instructions to eat well (yeah--like I need to be reminded of that!), and not to do any strenuous activity. I always pooh pooh the instructions because I never even notice that I am a pint low. But today, I kinda felt it for the first time--must be my advanced age, so I gave myself permission to sit and read for a couple of hours, which was very nice indeed!
If nothing else, it kept me from thinking about that Sarah Palin interview which made me hold my head and go ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod over and over again. Do you really want this woman a heartbeat away from being the most powerful leader in the world?
ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod
PHOTO OF THE DAY
MILES TO NOWHERE: 68 miles