Thursday, March 11, 2010

Fresh Blood

I'm having trouble with the book report. The first issue was finding a book along the YLCF themes (ie. not math). The next issue is reading it. I think I"m on chapter 2, and the month is half done! I'll do a report on it once I'm finished, though, even if that's not in March.

On Monday, I was walking next to the Student Union Building when I saw a blood donor truck being unpacked. It's something I've always wanted to do, so during an hour break I had in my day, I rushed over and got in line (in hindsight, give yourself more than an hour; there were three people in line, and it took me a full hour ten minutes).
The first thing they did was ask me if this was my first time. I said yes, and the nurse said, "Ah, fresh blood." That made me laugh, which probably quelled the butterflies and jitters I had for about 0.7 seconds. I also got to wear a sticker that said "1st time donor" so that other nurses would know to explain things to me as they happened, which was nice. I got my basic name and address information taken there, then sent to fill out a medical form concerning my health.
The first fourteen questions I got to fill out myself. They were amusing. One was something along the lines of "Did you live in France for more than six months between the years of _ and _." Lots about where I've lived and the blood transfusions I've gotten.
The next group of questions, a nurse had to read to me and bubble in herself. I had read them over before hand and they seemed to be geared towards discovering if you have HIV ("Have you recieved a blood transfusion in Africa since 1977"), and from the questions, I knew that I was going to answer all of them no. So she started reading and I started shaking my head and she sped up. Let me tell you, that lady was the fastest, most accurate reader I have heard. Granted, she probably had the questions memorized, but she didn't even pause before questions, and she was simultaneously bubbling answers. It was incredible. She also took my blood pressure, which is always ridiculously low (I am my mothers child) but I was so nervous that it was actually on the low end of normal! So that was exciting. Then she handed me four bags, each a liter. My eyes bugged. I know the average woman only has 5 liters of blood. They were going to drain me dry. But she explained they were going to only fill up one bag, and then after it was tested, they would separate it out into the other bags.
Then I headed over to a lawn-chair-style-bed in the middle of the gym, surrounded by other beds with other students. Just as they got the cuff around my arm for pressure, the guy I was facing started to black out. There was a little flurry of nurses with cold rags and juice boxes around him, and his feet were propped up and head lowered, hence the lawn-chair. He was fine and my nurse was back in five minutes, but it was a rather interesting thing to see seconds before I was supposed to get stabbed.
Once I was hooked up, it was fine. I had a little squishy ball I was supposed to squeeze occasionally, and my arm fell asleep, but besides that, it was relatively painless. I passed the time watching the nurses test the blood on the table at the far side of the gym and chatting with the nurses. They were all very friendly and funny, and extremely grateful. They kept saying thank you, and I thought that was very nice of them, but really, it's something that somebody needs to do. As the motto of Canadian Blood Services says, "It's in you to give."
I wrote this so that anyone who is considering giving would know all that's involved and feel comfortable going in to the procedure. I didn't feel exhausted at all afterwards, and it was nice to know that I helped someone who might not otherwise get that help if everybody felt it was someone else's job. So yes, I would do it again.


Kathleen said...

Great post! I am a blood donor when they will take my blood as well (not for the past 1.5y though since I went to India). Your description of the process was great. When you're in the little bubble and the nurse is speedreading all her questions, don't you wish you could just say, "Look, I haven't had sex so the answers are no"?! (I think they have to read them all for legal purposes, though.)

Did they compliment you on your veins?

Chelsea said...

Ya, I did think of saying that going in, but I figured if they wouldn't let me bubble them in myself, they wouldn't take a blanket statement like that and bubble it in themselves.
And they did compliment me on my veins. Though I've heard that before from nurses doing blood tests on me. And I believe it, because I can see them blatently in that arm. :-P

Sadie said...

I like your description of the process Chelsea. Very thorough. :)

Ressie said...

:) Yeah fellow donor. Its great to give! Such a rewarding feeling. Good for you angel.