Wasted Blood

I know this makes me one of the oddest people alive, but I actually like donating blood.  I don’t mean that I enjoy the whole needle-sticking process–trust me, I can do without that part–but I like that my blood can help someone in need.  I figure if it grows back on its own, there’s no reason I can’t share it with people.  Usually, it’s a fairly painless process, and despite the fact that the first I attempted to donate in high school, I wound up with huge bruises on both arms, I continue to donate whenever I have the opportunity.

Anyway, I went to a blood drive today.  I was pretty stoked because it’d been a while since the last donation.  Everything was going along swimmingly; I’m hooked up to the needle, squeezing the little ball, and the nurse wants to get my blood flowing faster, which struck me as odd seeing as how I’m usually speed racer with this shit.  Anyway, she fiddled with it for a bit, another nurse fiddled with it, and they determined that I had clotted.  Weird.  Never happened to me before, but fine.  But the damn woman wouldn’t put the needle back in my arm because there was already blood in the bag! What the fuck?!  I’ve had several occasions where the needle was switched from one arm to another without any incident, so why not now?  I’m a willing blood-giver and you’re not going to keep trying?  That’s bullshit.   What’s worse is that the blood I did give is now going to be tossed out because it’s not enough, and I can’t go back to donate for another 6 weeks anyway, even though I barely lost any blood.

This whole process today has genuinely upset me.  I feel like I wasted my time and my blood, and it seemed because this nurse was lazy.  As I was sitting in my chair, getting my arm prepped, I actually saw another partially filled bag of blood go past me; what the hell, man?  Last I knew, Red Cross did their damndest to get your blood if you were willing to give it, and this felt like they were simply giving up without a fight.  So disheartening.

Now my arm really hurts, and it NEVER hurts after I’ve donated, even if I wind up with a massive bruise.  So now I’m down a few ounces of blood that will be of no use, and my arm feels as if it should be in a sling.



~ by raspychick on March 26, 2012.

3 Responses to “Wasted Blood”

  1. […] week, I told you lovely people about my botched blood donation, Wasted Blood.  Being the wonderfully odd person that I am, I thought I’d show how this person, whom […]

  2. Two units of blood and 18 (yes, you read that right — 18) units of plasma saved my life one night, after I almost completely bled out. It was Type O Negative, too, because that’s my type and the only kind I can accept.

    With that in mind, I have always been a donor after that as often as possible. I’ve had chronic anemia all my life, so it’s been difficult to get accepted most of the time — I’m either anemic, running a fever, or both. When I am accepted to donate, it’s a huge fucking triumph for me emotionally.

    But, after working for the Red Cross, after having been one of their go-to people for coordinatiing disaster relief as a volunteer in my much younger days, I will NEVER give blood to them ever again — not after the 9/11 attacks. Why? Despite my having the “nirvana” blood type of O-Neg, the “universal donor” they and the local hospitals crow about needing all the time, when I went and stood in line for 3 hours to give a unit a few weeks after 9/11, the nurses were BITCHING OPENLY about having to work so hard. Now, these are nurses who made AT LEAST $18 an hour, plus overtime and got fed and got a break or two after x-number of hours working. We volunteers calmly and politely stood in line for 3 hours or more, waiting our turn because we knew they needed the blood. (This is blood which the ARC will sell for upwards of $500 per unit now, in some markets.) Did we bitch, moan and complain? No, we did not. FUCK those nurses who did.

    So now I give when local hospitals have blood drives, or the local companies who collect, process and sell blood and *enjoy* what they do at corporate blood drives (where walk-ins are almost always gladly welcomed). They get extremely busy, too, with people lined up for at least an hour or more but you sure don’t hear any complaining — just a common vibe of a group of people working to help others.

    Outside of the ARC, I’ve NEVER had a huge bruise like you described. Fortunately, my pain threshhold being what it is, I told the nurse to just “fish around” for a better vein to get the donation restarted. I was lucky each time that it worked, but then had a real conversation starter on my arm for a week or so afterward. With my veins are they are, it was either that or lose the donation as they did with you. I take things like that VERY personally, since I don’t want them to waste a drop of anyone’s elixir of life.

    I hope you have a MUCH better experience next time you donate. And, from one person whose life was saved by donated blood, THANK YOU for giving blood when you can. I cannot even begin to express the depth of my gratitude to all who donate.

    • I don’t know if I’ve ever known of anyone who’s actually received donated blood–while I’m sure whatever caused you to need that much blood sucked balls, it’s kind of awesome to know someone who’s benefited from the process. It’s actually quite the inspiration to keep donating. I may be on the lookout for more local ones now, though. Fuck those nurses for bitching about how busy they were (openly, at least–bitch to your colleagues in private all you want, but keep it away from volunteers). Fuck them HARD.

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