I was one of the first appointments of the day. I arrived a few minutes before 7:45 and completed the usual preparations. Hemoglobin check, blood pressure, weight, height, and no, I have not had sexual relations with an HIV-positive prostitute since my last donation. I also answered no, too, to the all of the questions that pertain to the female gender. (This must confuse a lot of men, because every time I donate they tell me how to answer these questions in a manner that tells me these questions baffle other dudes.) I make my way to the chair and get hooked up. Made it right through the "light bee sting" pinch of the needle entering my vein. I glance over, the clear plastic tube is flooded ravishing red. I'm good to go. Just settle in and read a book for the next 30 minutes and my donation will be complete. Right? Right...
After about five minutes, Tiffany -- sweet, friendly, and cautious Tiffany -- asks me if I feel okay. Yep, I said. I'm good. Let's donate some plasma! But she said that she noticed something odd on the digital graph she was watching. I flat-lined for a moment, meaning, apparently, that stuff was either not going out or coming back properly.
She remained on standby while I kept squeezing the spongy green squeezing thingy.
Suddenly I yelped, "Ow. Oww! Owww!! OWWWWW!!!"
Everyone looks. What's with that dude?? Tiffany says I infiltrated. She shuts down the process and pulls the needle from my arm.
"Infiltrated? What the heck is that??"
She apologetically explains that it means the fluids, i.e., the red blood cells and stuff, that are being returned to my body are not reentering my vein. Instead they are being pushed into the tissues surrounding the vein. Hence the reason for the pain.
I can only describe the pain as an increasingly intense sting or pinch. Almost feeling like the needle was plunging further into my arm. Of course it wasn't, but because the flesh and nerves around the needle swelled, it probably made the needle feel larger.
She cleans me up and applies gauze. There would be no plasma donation today.
Thus, I am bummed. I went through all of the steps including the one that makes me the most woozy -- the needle insertion -- and nobody benefited. My instructions are to ice my arm and not do anything overly strenuous today. I can also expect a significant bruise on my arm.
Son of a gun. I can take the wooziness. I can take the bruise. I can take the pain. But dammit, I wanted somebody to benefit from it!
I can attempt donation again when the bruise and swelling disappear, but next time I thinking of only donating blood -- which is a one-way only process -- and skipping the plasma. Furthermore, I believe in vital fluids donation, I really do, but this is the second time in four attempts that the extraction has gone awry. It's so frustrating.
Lastly, please try to donate if you can. I was the poster boy for needle or syringe insertion panic attacks. The mere thought of it would make me woozy and I'd nearly faint, but I just kept going to overcome it. I mean, what's a little sting to save another's life? ("little sting" for a normal donation; today's donation attempt defied normal)
But I did get a free ticket to the Wisconsin State Fair! So that lessens the bum. :)