Monthly Blood Donation: March

Donation Date: March, 2012
My Appointment: 12:30pm
Others? No.

Here’s the recap:
First I get a call from the Red Cross. Can I come an hour later? The donation center isn’t ready and will be running an hour behind. Sure, no problem! I was trying to get something finished up at work and needed just a little more time. So that worked out for me.

I leave for my pushed back appointment. Get to the donation center. It’s still not ready. Huh?

So what exactly does not ready mean? Turns out the Ann Arbor center and the Berkley (or was it Warren?) center SHARE apheresis machines. What now?? That’s so odd! First, finding out that the machines are mobile (kinda). Second, learning that while Livonia is a dedicated apheresis donation site that’s open like 5 days a week, Ann Arbor is not a dedicated site. I already knew it only did Saturdays and Mondays. But that the machines traveled to another center for Sundays and then came back… seemed just wrong to me. Not a waste, but… I don’t know.

In this case, the machines had not been shipped back to Ann Arbor on normal schedule. I wait. How long do they think? Maybe another hour. Okay… I head over to the mall to handle something I had wanted to deal with anyway.

I return. Still no machines. ETA? Still an hour. Always an hour when I ask, always an hour when the nurses ask. Hmm. Someone’s not telling us truth.

Oh hey, did Susan (was it?) find those donation pins we talked about at my last donation? To fill out my collection? Yes, and she left them for me. Yay! Cool, and much thanks. :)

I wait. Apparently another donor had already come, and left. A third donor comes and waits with me.

Eventually the site / regional director shows up. She apologizes for the delays and is on and off the phone. The other donor and I wait. I try to do the math on how late I can stay, trying to account for having to get out to Amber and that I’m not getting any work done. It doesn’t look good. The nurses mention the center is slated to get wireless sometime this year, but it just hasn’t been set up yet. Oh well.

Finally I have to leave. I really don’t want to…. but I need to work. The director has popped in again, and offers the wireless. But we thought it wasn’t set up? Oh sure it is, not the dedicated one for the employees, but the Ann Arbor site has wireless. Oh oh? The director gives me the name and password. Hey look! Wireless! I set up my computer for working, and sit to wait some more.

Then make or break time comes. I pack up, everyone says apologies, and I head out. I really wanted to donate. Missing this blows my once a month donating plan. And it’s used up too much time away from work for me to be able to come back next week to try again.

I’m in the car about to drive away when I see a familiar machine being pulled out of the back of a white van. Arrrgghh! Stay or go?!

I park my car and head back in. I hear the director ask how many donors they’ve lost due to not having the machines. Someone responds with names, including mine. “I’m here,” I call out as I walk into the back. I told them I saw the machines arrive and decided to come back.

So, finally, way too late for me to do anything but a small P1 and still have to owe work time, it looks like I can donate. I help set up the computer and printer in the exam room while others set up the machines. Anything to speed the process up. The other donor lets me go first (I kinda took that position, but I did offer a pretext of asking if he minded).

Get through the exam, the interview, and get back to the machine. I can’t remember the name of my nurse, but not one I used to have. She sets me up, and puts the needle in. OWWWW.

And things don’t seem to be flowing well. Or is that just me being overly sensitive? I’m not used to donating every month like I used to be. I don’t remember what’s right and what’s wrong. But, I felt like I had to say it just feels wrong. I think the nurse tried to reposition the needle, my memory of this part is sketchy now. But the donation proceeded for a few minutes. I said something again, and the needle was checked again. She said she thought the return fluid was going in wrong, and that she could feel a bruise forming. I agreed that something felt wrong. She ended the donation, pulled the needle, and wrapped me up.

Well, at least the donation was recorded as an attempt, so it counts towards my once a month goal. (I’m a member of the Club Give Platelets 2012 promotion). And I’d gotten access to the site’s wireless for future use. I left only some disappointed, but definitely frustrated for the whole experience.

So I got my March pin. I also got a massive and colorful bruise. Never bruised like this from a blood donation before. Good thing my nurse realized what was going on and stopped it!


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