On a previous visit the needle had clotted up, a fact which the techs had attributed to me being dehydrated. For this reason, I have since tried to make sure that I've had lots of water throughout the day before I go in to give blood.
Today was a little tricky, because I spent the day working from a coffee shop. (It was a day which was pleasantly enlivened by donutgirl's company and visits by cgoldfish and saucypunk.) I did pretty well on the water business in the morning, then less good in the afternoon, as it turned out that the coffee shop was out of bottled water and had no water fountain. Around 5 pm I had an italian soda, and then at 6 when I headed over to the blood bank I got a large bottle of water and drank it down quickly.
Now, when I give blood I give double red blood cells, which means that they draw a bunch of my blood, extract the red blood cells using a centrifuge, then mix the remainder of my blood with saline solution and pump it back in. Then they repeat the process. The saline solution is usually pretty cold, so the sensation of it getting pumped into my arm is pretty odd, but it's usually not too uncomfortable.
However. You know how if you go through a bunch of temperature changes it can make you have to pee?
So as they were pumping the blood/saline mixture back into my arm I started to feel a strong urge to go to the bathroom. This urge grew until by the time the machine was doing the second round of blood extraction it felt like my bladder was going to explode.
"How much longer is it going to be?" I asked my tech. "About another ten minutes," he said. "Are you uncomfortable?" "Well, no," I said, "I just really have to pee. I guess I can hold it."
About ninety seconds later I decided, no, I really wasn't sure I could hold it at all. I called the tech back over and told him. He called another tech over and she told him, "Shut it down." This he did.
I got out of the chair and the motion made my bladder's agony even more severe, which I wouldn't necessarily have though possible. I stood there for a moment, pondering my next move. This caused the techs to all think I was about to pass out. I then dashed to the bathroom in a sort of fast bowlegged waddle and achieved a certain blissful release.
And that was that. Not my proudest moment, or my least embarrassing, but, you know, when you gotta go you gotta go.
In about a half hour I get to take off the bandage, which will be nice, because it's really sweaty and it hurts a little to wear it -- the tech kind of jabbed me when he put the needle in so the area's a bit sore. I suspect I'll have some pretty impressive brusing on the inside of my right elbow tomorrow.
More shortly ...