the valiant attempt

January 30, 2005

The bloodmobile came to my workplace this week. I have assumed for years now that I simply have blood that flows too slowly through my too-small veins in order to be able to give the amount they need–within the time frame allotted for drawing it [an assumption based on good reason, mind you]. So, I initially did not think twice about the bloodmobile’s arrival. Upon further thought, however, I realized that I actually really wanted to give it another shot. I mean, my blood pressure could very well have risen since the last time I tried to give, back in college . . . And my blood type is rare, to boot, and therefore valuable . . . It’s worth a shot, at least. So, I sucked up my fear and signed up on an open slot.

After I had sufficiently explained to them my yes’s for Malaria and Hepatitis, assuring them that I had been an otherwise healthy resident of Africa—as opposed to a promiscuous 7-year-old—I was ushered in and my proffered right arm was taken [I am generally protective of my left, writing hand]. It was rejected . . . dejected. A quick look at my measly little veins and the nurse requested my left arm after all. I sighed–I was afraid of that. But, other than this, I was encouraged by the day’s happenings in the bloodmobile.

A blood pressure reading showed, amazingly enough, a relatively normal 120/70. When I commented on my reading, though the nurse did dampen my excitement, explaining to me that most people have a significantly higher blood pressure reading upon entrance of the bloodmobile, regardless of whether or not they feel nervous. Oh, well, I offered, if that is the case then I’m afraid I can assure you that I am decidedly nervous—memories of sticks, and re-sticks, refusing to be suppressed.

Happily, one stick seemed to do the trick this time . . . on my left arm. A reassuring flow began. And then, after a few minutes, my little blood bag began to beep insistently, alarmingly. And the nurse rushed back to my side. Never having heard this beeping bag before, I knew all the same what it must mean. It slowed down, didn’t it? Yes, I’m afraid so—let me get our vein expert. The vein expert arrived and began tweaking the needle, warning me that she was going to re-position it. After too long of this “re-positioning,” the pain was getting to me. My nurse looked at me again, and said, teasingly “Don’t give us a pouting face now.” Laughing, I answered that this was probably my I-will-not-faint face. By this point, though, I was getting seriously queasy—this feeling I knew a bit too well.
Um, I really am about to faint . . .

Well, the vein expert was tiring of her attempts by that time. Thankfully, as I had just warned them all that the little fidgeting I was trying to distract myself with (wildly wiggling toes and fingers) was no longer enough and I was about to have to let out some sort of a scream. But, they gave up—assuring me, when I asked if it had all been in vain, that they could still use my blood for “testing purposes,” and I have had to, yet again, resign myself to being a failure at giving blood. I guess I at least cannot be accused of not giving a valiant effort—or something like it.

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