My blood is apparently quite a hot commodity (O-) and every couple of months I start getting daily calls begging me to come and donate. I actually show up to do it about twice a year. I have good veins (bragging) and it’s not a big deal to do it.
This time I heard that Hurricane Sandy had impacted blood supplies and figured I could do something to help. Even if that something was lying on a table, bleeding.
Anyhoo, I made an appointment and went to our local Miller-Keystone donation center. I usually go to the Red Cross, but this one is closer so I figured I’d give it a shot.
I have to say I enjoyed it far more than donating at the Red Cross donation center (sorry, Red Cross.) Cleaner facility, nicer people, and comfy reclining donation chairs. It’s an entirely different and better experience to be chillaxin’ in the recliner while bleeding instead of lying flat on your back.
And, not to go completely tangential, although I do…and I will…is there some illicit benefit to giving blood that I am unaware of? The folks at the Red Cross always give me this attitude like I am trying to pull something shady by offering up my precious O neg. Is there a high to be had? Is there some reason beyond it’s a nice thing to do that motivates people to try to jam their questionable blood into the supply? Are you SURE you haven’t been to Africa having sex with needle-using men while they sleep with other men and give you tattoos and piercings? Um, yeah. Pretty sure.
The lovely ladies at the donation center on Friday did not question my motives, which was refreshing. They even suggested I might want to give double the red blood cells. Which sounds sort of scary – like, would there be any left for me? Unfortunately (fortunately) I was deemed to be too small to do that. Can I tell you how stunning that pronouncement was? I don’t think that I’ve been too small for anything. Ever.
And then, after the deed was done – they gave me cake! I went there joking that I was doing it for the cookie, but they had cake! Woot!
Chocolate cake, with caramel and peanut butter cups…filled with cream.
Giving blood rocks. What an amazing day, right?
So I went home and went about my business. Sitting at my kitchen table, deflecting toys flung at me by my dog, Twittering, Facebooking. Strenuous stuff.
Kids came home from school. Kids left with their Dad. Every other weekend had arrived once again.
The time when things get weird.
Around this time, about 5 hours after the donation, the pressure dressing on my arm was beginning to feel a little squeezy. So I rolled up my sleeve, took off the bandages, rolled my sleeve back down, and went back to work.
About 30 seconds later I felt a distinct wetness on my arm. I looked down and my entire arm was covered with blood…seeping through my sleeve. Eek.
I’d like to take this moment to tell you that in the name of all that is good in the world, you should never ever ever Google “bloody arm images”. Really. Don’t. Ever.
I attempted to remain calm, rolled my sleeve back up and hurled myself across the kitchen (dripping as I went) to grab something to make it stop. Once I was applying pressure to my arm (via paper towel), everything was (sort of) under control. I kept pressing on my left arm with my right hand…and used my left hand to clean up my trail from table to sink.
Afraid to take the pressure off, I made my way over to the first aid cabinet and found some gauze pads. I had to rip open the package with my teeth (right hand still busy holding the paper towel…left hand the only one available.) So ultimately there I am, holding the folded up gauze in my left hand. Needing to transfer it to the crook of my left elbow…while maintaining pressure with my right hand.
Yeah, good luck with that. Because seriously, arms don’t bend that way.
Does anyone else remember this from Sesame Street? This is what flashed through my head…because I could have definitely used a few more hands right about then.
But luckily there wasn’t too much bleeding going on by then…so I was able to put down the paper towel, grab the gauze (which immediately unfolded and had to be refolded) and get it on the right spot with little carnage.
Then I found a band-aid, contorted myself so that my right foot was holding the gauze on my left elbow crook, and one-handed the band-aid onto my arm using only my right hand. Like some demented game of Twister, where one false move releases a fountain of blood to cover the board. Good times.
Suddenly I felt a lot more like I had earned that cake.
I’m home alone again next weekend. I’m planning to rake leaves, and cut down dead bushes. The potential for injury is likely higher than it should be just sitting at the kitchen table.
I should probably re-stock my band-aid stash.