People tell me that they learn new things about me from reading this blog. Some also say that they learn new things about themselves as well.
I learn new things about myself as I write them as well. I don’t go through like thinking ‘ah, that would make a good blog,’ but sometimes it does occur to me to share a certain incident here. This is one such time.
And here is a health warning ... if you are of a nervous disposition or unsettled by talk of blood then now is the time to go to another post. Click to the right of this entry and you will see lots of different options going back years that may well be more suitable for you.
For those intrepid readers that have stayed the course, hang on it may be a bumpy ride.
Although, in the UK today, it is Comic Relief Day where people do funny things for money and often wear red noses I was not taking part in those oh so jovial activities this morning. My colour was maroon. I will explain.
I had an early blood test booked. This meant no eating or drinking before it. That’s all good, I don’t normally eat breakfast that early anyway. I’ll skip the boring bits and get to the juicy (pun intended) bit.
As the maroon-looking blood was pouring steadily out of my arm into the vial I mentioned that I was curious about the Vitamin D test that was ordered. The phlebotomist pulled the needle out of my arm and looked confused. That was a mistake. Not the confusion, but the extraction of the needle.
She told me to keep pressure on my vein while she checked her computer, and there it was the test request I’d just mentioned. She tutted and said I should have told her before. I said I had informed the receptionist when I booked. More tutting followed and I watched as she went to get another needle.
Suddenly I said, “It’s spurting,” as the blood pushed its way pass the cotton wool and through my fingers. The shock of it caused me to move my hand and then there was a small fountain erupting from the middle of my left arm.
“Oh, that’s not good,” was all I could manage as it continued.
She flustered, pulled the forgotten tourniquet off my arm and grabbed copious amounts of tissue and cotton wool to mop up the blood. This is when I learnt that I am OK with seeing other people’s blood but I am really no good at seeing my own. Actually, I didn’t learn that today, I was reminded of it because when I was a teenager I used to have random and spontaneous nosebleeds and I felt just the same about those as well – unsteady.
Although the blood was a beautiful shade of maroon I was rapidly going towards a grey shade but somehow I managed to see that she was more concerned than I thought was healthy for either of us right then. So I decided to become calm. And that’s what I did. I grabbed hold of calm thoughts and controlled my situation.
Once the stem was staunched (less than a minute but it’s surprising how much blood can flow from my ‘good veins’ in that time when a tourniquet is attached!) I mentioned that I felt a bit weak. You’ll remember that I hadn’t eaten or drank anything yet. This news sent her into another spin and she rushed off to get me water.
When she returned she said that her manager would take the next lot of blood from my other arm later as I would need to rest and recover. I didn’t want to wait around so I further controlled my breathing and told her that I was OK for her to do it now. She wasn’t sure but I didn’t want to get up and go to the waiting room to go through all that again. And strangely, I thought it would be helpful to her if she did it because I was one of the first appointments of the day and that maybe have unsettled her to have had a blood eruption so early.
You’ll be pleased to know that all went well in the second arm and the extra blood was taken without any further problems.
For a few moments I was considering being right royally annoyed with her because I thought that if they had read their notes properly I wouldn’t have had to go though that experience, however, from it I learnt that my blood is a beautiful rich maroon colour when it is forced out of my veins, and I also found out that I can still care for people’s emotional state when I am in the middle of my own drama. That was interesting in itself.
Most interesting was that I still felt shaky when I left the office and I know the staff were watching me all the way to the car. The phlebotomist had a bit of cleaning up to do when I left but at least she was smiling (with relief) instead of frowning.
What today also reminded me of when I used to donate blood, afterwards we would be given a sweet drink and a digestive. I can’t eat them anymore (because of the milk in them) but I really needed a high energy breakfast as soon as I got home: that fruit smoothie tasted extra good today.
... And I had matching plasters on my arms where I had the needles stuck in so I felt completely balanced for the rest of the day.
It’s all good.