Sunday, May 1, 2011

To give blood or not to give blood, that is the question

Back a thousand years ago before my head exploded, I gave blood fairly regularly.  I was a bit of a tough stick. Veins are deep and rolly. But a good stick-er could hit it first time, no problem. The blood flowed fast and I was out of there quick.

Then the head went all explody.  Lots of new meds. Feel like crap all the time. And I was wary of giving blood.  Lord have mercy I did not want to do ANYTHING that would make the head mad.

But the head has been mostly really stable for the last couple of years so I got brave and went to give blood on Valentine's Day for the big blood drive.  Mistake, because all the stick-ers are there and they don't have the luxury of calling in the best one for you.  Sweet girl just couldn't get it and after so many tries, had to let me go.  No blood given.

I was disappointed because I was willing to let her get someone else to try again, but she said they weren't allowed.

So yesterday, I tried again at the blood mobile at our freecycle event.  Even though I hadn't actually given blood last time, I was still in the system as a "donor" and had to wait the 6 weeks.

Well, it took three of them to hit the vein. Lord have mercy. It was deeper than they thought and it just took a while to hit. And it kept rolling on them. Of course. Hurt like all get out but I told them to keep going if they thought they could hit it.

Then finally, eureka!

Going great!

Then.....it slowed.  Then stopped. Ugh.  Not a full pint. My blood had clotted and stopped the flow. Blew out the vein.

All that and no usable pint.  Not their fault. They were sweet and nice and did a great job. It isn't like they can see that dumb vein in there after all.  A good dear doctor friend looked at my gigantic deep purple and red knotted bruise last night and said, "yeah, you probably shouldn't give blood."

So today, my head is having sharp pains. Pressure lightening strikes.  The head is a bit mad.  Could be, I'm dehydrated, which caused the premature clotting to being with.  And the reason for the head being mad.

And I'm wondering if I really should be giving blood? The tough stick issues aside.  That I can live with.  But I wonder if the stress of that plus the physiological stress of less blood is too hard on my already medically stressed body and systems? Or is this just dehydration I'm feeling? If I knew I could give blood, I would keep doing it.  As long as the stress to my system is something I can handle, the good it produces is worth it.

But I have two failed attempts. Granted, both under less than ideal situations. Possibly if I went in on a normal day and could get their best person, all would go well.  But maybe not. And it isn't a good idea to stress my system like this and not have the benefit for others at the end.

I don't know. Something to ponder..... Maybe my doctor friend is right.

Any of you give blood?  Do you feel any effects?

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