I went in to give a blood sample on Tuesday. The National Marrow Donor Program arranged for me to visit a lab that was close to my home and assured me that I didn’t need to bring anything with me. The sample will be analyzed to see not only if I’m a match for the patient but also if I have any diseases that could be communicated to the patient. There are some infectious diseases that don’t affect normal people that much - they may not know that they even have them. However, patients with leukemia have weakened immune systems and passing something on could have fatal consequences.
So I sat, waiting for my turn at the lab. Irrational nervousness started to set in. I hate getting shots. I hate having my blood drawn. Even writing about it now, I feel uneasy. The rational part of me knows it doesn’t hurt and it’s not a big deal. It’s like deciding to ride a roller coaster. Someone wants to ride a roller coaster? I’m game, where’s the line? Once I reach the front of the line and get strapped in, I start to freak out and think, maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.. Luckily, the freakout is internal. I’m what you call a “quiet wreck,” if I start to get quiet, you should be worried. In the end, I’m always glad I took the ride. So, I agreed to have my blood drawn, knowing that it wouldn’t be a big deal. However, at this point, my pulse was racing so much I could feel it.
My turn came. The lady asked me for my papers and I started babbling that I didn’t have any papers and said what I was there for. I saw a box behind the counter from NDMP. It was a medium sized box with tamper-evident tape printed with NDMP in big letters. I thought “wow, this is serious” and was impressed that my supplies were there waiting for me. The lady opened the box and everything she needed to take the sample and send it to the NDMP was there, down to the needle and vials she was supposed to put my blood in.
My nervousness was getting worse. I checked my arms and I could see veins in my left arm but not the right. I told the lady that I prefer to be drawn out of my right arm since I’m left handed, but if-she-needed-to-use-the-left-arm-because-the-veins-looked-better, then-go-ahead. I didn’t want her to stick both arms in an attempt to find a vein. What I really wanted to say was, “hey lady, my pulse is pumping so hard that you should have no problem finding a vein. Pick one and let’s get on with it.” I blabbered to her a bit about why I was there, mostly to take my mind off it.
I know I shouldn’t have worried, it was nearly painless. She filled up at least 4 different colored vials with my blood quickly. The entire process took less than 5 minutes. She dated and signed each vial and I was clear to go.
I wondered as I was sitting there how I would handle even the outpatient blood donation if I got that far in the process. I would certainly do it, but I can’t imagine the wreck I would be inside leading up to it. That is the least of my worries now. It will be at least a week, likely more before I find out if I match.
Previously: I May Be the Match
Natalie writes Almost Never Clever, a deviant scrapbooking blog that just might surprise you.
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