Friday, March 01, 2013

Giving Blood

I had a letter in the post  this morning from my doctor's surgery, Ashfield  Medical Centre , telling me that they had made an appointment for me to have a blood test and my blood pressure done at the surgery. I'm not used to having an appointment pre-booked like this. You usually have to make such appointments yourself, which can generally be quite difficult as you have to ring the surgery the same day and it can take some time to get through on the phone during busy periods. I presume you get an automatic blood test and blood pressure check after so many months if you have a long-term health issue such as a heart condition as as I have. We changed our doctor's surgery because at the previous one we had a couple of issues, one being  the receptionist not dealing with personal details particularly confidentially when you went in to make an appointment.  I really object to having everyone waiting hearing my conversation when speaking at the reception-desk. I do recall when I worked for the N.H.S. (for the Learning Disability Service in Bedfordshire.) client confidentiality being a priority. So we transferred to Ashfield Medical Centre and have been with them around a year or so now and have had no problems.

I'll be honest and admit that I'm not good at giving blood. I can't think of many people who actually do, or admit that they do. I don't particularly like needles, and certainly when they're stuck into my arm, or, indeed, any part of my anatomy if it comes to that. Generally, if I have to have a jab, say, for 'flu, then I don't have a problem. It might be like a slight bee sting, a sort of tingle in the arm, but when it comes to having to give blood, then that is an altogether different ball-game, kettle of fish, call it what you will. I think this started when I lived in Bedford and had to go to Bedford Hospital to give blood for a test and it was a fasting blood test, meaning I wasn't supposed to eat for a good 12 hours beforehand. And it was early morning, which didn't help, so I was feeling hungry when I arrived at the hospital. I gave the sample and that bit was easy. I felt slightly queasy and left the clinic too quickly. I should have waited before leaving, but was really in too much of a hurry to go home. When I got outside I think the fresh air hit me suddenly. I found I had to sit down on a low wall in the carpark, but I didn't remain seated for long because I found myself keeling over and collapsing on the ground, with a mouthful of gravel in my mouth. At that precise moment an ambulance arrived in the hospital grounds and I could hear footsteps approaching as a group of paramedics came over to me to find out what was the matter. I think I had blacked out. I was taken into a room in the hospital and tended to and eventually was taken to the Accident and Emergency department at South Wing Hospital at Bedford and checked over and after a while went home. It was somewhat embarrasing, to say the least as I'm, not used to being fussed over like I was and being the centre of things.

On one occasion at the doctor's surgery in Bedford I was made to feel as if I had a major problem and was almost a trouble-maker when the nurse had problems finding a vein in my arm and the fact that I was liable to pass out because she was taking so long to take the blood from my arm, and that she had to get a second nurse in to help. I do find it easier if I'm laying down when they do this, so that if I do start to pass out I am at least laying down.

At our old doctor's surgery they realised that there was a problem with me giving blood because I apparently have narrow veins, making it difficult to extract blood, even after tapping a vein, getting me to drink plenty (as dehydration will make veins difficult to find.) and eventually using a needle designed for taking blood from babies! They had one of the doctors in their practice who was particularly good at taking blood, which is unusual as this job is usually done by the nurses in the surgery.

When I first had my heart attack and was in the C.C.U. (Coronary Care Unit) at Bedford Hospital I had to give blood several times a day. They had real difficulties getting a vein up, trying to take it from my arm, in the crook of my elbow and even said they could try in my hand or my foot, which I refused. I think it would be really unpleasant if it was from my hand. By the end of the week I spent in hospital my arm was black and blue due to the blood being taken, and looked more as if I had been bruised! The strange thing is I never seem to have any problems when they put a canula in the back of my hand or wrist when I've been in hospital, as you would imagine that that would be more uncomfortable than merely taking blood. I think the problem with giving blood is when the nurse takes ages and fiddles around, sticks the needle in, leaves the thing in a vein for what seems like ages then takes it out, then says she can't get any blood, then tries in another part of my arm, which is when I start to feel really queasy and start to feel faint.
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