Double Red Day

It has been awhile since I made a donation of my precious blood.  In Texas, it is Carter Bloodcare.  (In Ohio, it used to be the Red Cross.  Different name – same job. )   After receiving a few emails and seeing an article in the paper regarding low blood supplies, I decided to rescind my “donoring” hiatus.  (When a 2:00 apt becomes 3:00 before they turn on the vampire vacuum cleaner and the double red treatment takes 29 minutes to run its cycle, the whole process takes [including driving there] over 2 hours.)  Temporarily, the rescission made me feel good.  I was glad I could get back on the horse and give up a pint for the greater good.

Then, I arrived at the donor center.  The only good thing (I thought) I had done was making an apt.  One couple ahead of me were “walk-ins”, so I did get to jump in front of them.  As I read the literature, got screened (this is where they check your blood pressure, pulse, and [I think] red blood cell count.  During this process, many questions are asked regarding your name and address and date of birth.  All of this info is good to know, but when this question continues as I interact with others, my flippant, tongue-biting self is anxious to emerge.)  It would seem if you are American who isn’t gay (past or present), doesn’t do drugs or have a tattoo or pay for companionship, doesn’t travel much, and doesn’t have any weird diseases that most people can’t pronounce or don’t know what ailment is, you are probably okay to give.  So, I was soon moving on to the “chair”.

The people who work with you are always very nice (most of the time they really are).  They realize they rely on donors who volunteer their time to contribute vital fluids in a “pay-it-forward” type of gesture.  After getting on the chair this time, these are some things I did/said/thought:

  • When asked if I was ready to get the needle poked into my arm…”It’s what I came for.”
  • When asked to confirm my height, I stated, “I was about 6 feet when I came in here. All of these redundant questions are draining my of all my energy, so I am probably shorter now.”  (Some of this is not true.)
  • Now, because they no longer have saline solution {there is a shortage- who knew?}, they allow the donors to have milk and cookies or red velvet cupcakes in the donor area.  (Not necessary all of these things, but waiting to get to the canteen area is waiting too long.  They start your snack before you give so your body can kick up the blood production before you get out of the chair.  Wow, why did it take them so long to come up with this one!
  • The guy kept telling me to squeeze and hold it.  This is great, but prior to him poking me with the needle and the draining that followed, I had nothing to squeeze.  (They used to provide foamy things to squeeze on.  Apparently, somebody bled on them once in a third world country, so they cannot provide them again with out severe liability issues. )  After my insistent nagging, he did provide a couple of paper towels wrapped in tape.  (We can get a man to the moon, but…..)  So, every 1- to 15 seconds, my left hand squeezed on the towels.  (If you rightly assumed the needle was in my left arm, you get extra points for knowing how the system really works.)
  • He expressed to me his concern and sincere desire to get the blood flowing as quickly as possible.  I appreciated his goals, but being short handed was why I made the apt.  It all felt very deja vu-ish….
  • He did compliment me when I mentioned the newspaper story about supply being down.  I let him think I was a truly good person and the article had been the sole factor that allowed us to be getting all chummy.  I can’t help it the truth occasionally makes my halo visible to more people than normal. 😉
  • The guy who did not have an apt and whom I bumped turned out to be done only about 5 minutes after me.  I felt badly he was bumped for me and I felt even more badly that he was bumped and I looked like a heel so I could be done just 5 minutes before him.  He didn’t schedule an apt.  He walked in out of the goodness of this heart.  (His wife also gave!)  He deserve far more accolades than I do.
  • The guy who took care of my procedure was a trainer.  He has to be in the field a couple of days per month to continue to be a card carrying blood sucker.  Otherwise, he is in the special place where the vampire go to learn their trade.  He did warn me if I ever go in there again I may want to avoid him.  Usually, he has some immature vampires following him around. They don’t have their final teeth yet.  (I guess they have to molt or something a couple of times to get their official teeth that make they highly effective. )  I think I have had some of those folks unsupervised in the past…
  • When giving “double red”, they pump your blood out, run it through a centrifuge, do some funky stuff with your white blood cells, and then send the oxygen-bearing wonder back into your body.  (I believe the oxygen bearing stuff is what is removed in my case.)  When they take it, it is called a “draw”.  After the centrifuge gets your blood all dizzy, the blood is sent back to you and called a “return”.  In the past, the “returns” have been known to cause a coppery taste to appear in my mouth.  To combat this they give you some Tums or some other calcium chewable tablet.  When “they” give it to you, they need to do LOTS of paperwork.  So, I bring my own, and hope they don’t think I am doping up during the procedure.  I did let my guy know today.  If I was to be seen as slightly angelic, I didn’t want to keep any secrets from him. 😉

I did refuse to schedule my next apt.  The next few months have many variables.  But, since it is double red, you can really only do it 3 or 4 times a year.  If I chose to schedule, it would have been on November 13th.  Their offer of giving them an early Christmas present was pretty tempting, but I had to turn them down.

I don’t believe I have matured much since last I gave.  I was truly irritated by how the process drug out.  Sometimes, things need to be done despite the restraint you need to exercise.  This is one of those things I should get past my issues and participate in again, and again and again….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s