Friday, September 25, 2009

I had it coming.

I have a bruise on my arm.

I should be more precise: I have a bruise on the inside of my arm spreading out from a needle puncture. I tried doing my civil duty yesterday by donating blood, but while my iron count and blood pressure were fine, my veins just weren't in it.

Usually I find the mini-physical more stressful than the actual donation part--the finger prick for the iron hurts more than the needle I think. And I feel like it's a job interview where your body could get any question wrong and you are automatically disqualified. Iron too low? Out. Temperature too high? Out. Have you gone to remote countries lacking clean water and basic medicine practices? Out. Once my blood pressure was too low so they made me drink a can of Coke to raise it. I passed all the tests yesterday, though.

Then in the donation lounge chair (it's kind of a lounge chair...there are old ladies walking around bringing people water, you get to sit there while everyone does things for you) my nurse, Lynda, searched for a suitable vein.

"Did you drink any water today?"

"Yes..." I did, I drank more water yesterday than usual, I promise.

"Well, let's try this." And she did. Try, I mean. The needle went in and I waited for the warm feeling of my blood flowing through the tube taped to my arm. Nothing. She pushed the needle in...nothing. "We need Julie to come wiggle this," she said, calling her over.

I guess Julie is the expert on veins, and as she held the needle in one hand and felt my arm with the tips of her fingers I believed it. She looked at my arm and seemed to see through it; a quick twist of the needle and blood was flowing. Now the problem was the vein she found wasn't the swiftest flowing one. They let me sit for a while, telling me to squeeze the little stress ball hard each time. When they returned to check on my bag, though, it wasn't filling fast enough.

"I'm going to have to pull it," Lynda said. "Sorry."

I think I was more sorry--I felt like I wasted a bunch of their time and now I was going to go eat the food and walk out of the gym wearing the bandage and purple wrap like some sort of hero when I was actually a phony.

And today I wake up with a pretty purple bruise and a sore arm. Badge of honor? More likely just karma.

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