Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Adventures in Blood Donation

This post is not for the squeamish. *evil grin* I'm sure my buddy Ceeelcee will love it.

I went for a blood donation this morning. I do this as often as possible/I remember, and this week the workplace is competing with another Big University in Tennessee to collect the most blood. I had an appointment, I quickly scanned the information sheet, signed in, and waited my turn for processing. I was taken back in less than 2 minutes, and checked in by a nice woman who actually told me my BP, pulse rate, temperature, and iron level as she measured them. So far, so good, and a big improvement over previous experiences.

Next it was time to wait in the glorified lawn chair to start the donation. I waited, and waited a little more, but took the time to read the latest issue of MLA News. There was a little wiggling involved with getting the giant needle properly placed, but this is not terribly uncommon. Then we just tick down the 4-5 minutes it takes to fill the bag, and wait for the attendant to come over to collect the tubes of blood for testing and disconnect everything. No fuss, no muss.

When the Red Cross worker attempted to set up for collecting the tubes of blood, we had an, um, equipment failure. The tip snapped and blood spurted everywhere, like a low-budget horror flick. "Blood fountain" would not be an inappropriate description. I, of course, could not look away. Neither could the lady in the next chair, who I think was a little disturbed. My first reaction was to giggle (sick, I know), and my first thought was, "I wish I had my camera so I could blog this." Ultimately, blood had to be cleaned from my arm, the floor, the attendant, and the arm tray, and the attendant had to change into a clean lab coat. Multiple sets of gloves were gone through. Meanwhile, I had to lift and move my arm so the pools of my blood could be cleaned up, causing stress on the needle (still connected to the tubing and bag), which wiggled around.

So, what of collecting the tubes of blood? Did you know there are 5-6 of these? I had never noticed, because they're usually below the chair and out of site. A supervisor came over to consult, and determined that the only way to collect them would be a "second VP." At first I heard "second BP," which made no sense. No, second VP, for venipuncture. I had to be stuck in the other arm in order to collect the tubes.

I want to say that the Red Cross folks were nothing but professional, and this was more equipment failure than human error. I'll still donate in the future, I just wanted to share my morning of gore with you nice people. I hope we kick Other Big University's behind.

Photo by Yogi and used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike license.


Blogger ceeelcee said...

I had one of those bent needle incidents. The guy in the next chair looked like be was gonna throw up, but I just watched in the same perverse fascination that you had.

I'd be right there with you if it wasn't for the syphilis and all...

3:11 PM  
Blogger Lynnster said...

See my response at NIT:

I think a lot of us medical clerical types tend to have stronger constitutions than the strictly clinical folks a lot of the time... heh.

3:37 PM  
Blogger joe lance said...

They can tell iron level on the spot? I did not know that.

3:39 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

CLC - "if it wasn't for the syphilis" - I think that's the best comment on this blog, ever.

Lynn - I think you're right. The last time I donated, I watched a nurse throw up.

Joe - Yes, that's what the finger stick in advance is for. If it's under a certain level, they won't let you donate.

3:55 PM  

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