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They’re Out For Blood

, , , , , | Friendly | April 30, 2019

I am a single woman who doesn’t date. I have a high platelet count, so I donate platelets regularly. Ninety-nine percent of the time, it goes perfectly smoothly, but one time, I unintentionally move my arm, causing the needle to slide out of the vein and blood to go where it shouldn’t go under my skin. They unhook me and bandage me up with no harm done… at the time.

By the next day, a huge part of my arm is black and blue. For the next several days, every time a coworker sees me in short sleeves for the first time since it happened, I have to watch them gasp in horror and ask who’s beating me up, then explain I don’t have an abusive boyfriend or family member, I wasn’t mugged, and I didn’t fall down any stairs. It gets very tedious after the first three times.

I have never moved my arm again while donating blood or platelets.

Just His (Red) Cross To Bear

, , , , | Healthy | April 17, 2019

(For those who don’t know, there is a specialized blood donation process called apheresis. In this type of donation, the platelets are separated out of the bloodstream and collected, while the rest of the blood is returned to the body. It takes longer than a regular whole blood donation but can be done more often so people can give more. The phone rings and I answer it.)

Me: “Hello?”

Caller: “Hello, this is [Caller] from the American Red Cross calling to speak to [Husband] about scheduling an apheresis appointment.”

Me: *calling out* “[Husband], it’s the Red Cross. They want to suck your blood!”

Caller: “No, just his platelets…”


This story is part of our Blood Donation roundup!

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This Is Literally Costing You Blood

, , , , | Healthy | March 31, 2019

(It’s my second time selling my plasma. The tech who got me hooked up the first time is floating around but isn’t the one to hook me up this time. I hear them talking about how many jabs it took them and how fast the machine is pulling blood out of me this time.)

Me: “You’re making me sound like a science experiment.”

Tech: “You are.”

Me: “Touché.”

That Warm Fuzzy Feeling Isn’t Blood-Loss

, , , , , , | Hopeless | July 15, 2018

I’m donating blood for the first time. I made an attempt a few years ago, but was rejected because I weighed too little. Since then, I’ve been trying to keep my weight at a healthy level, waiting for an opportunity to try again, but not really making it a top priority.

While I’m waiting to get called in for evaluation, I notice an elderly man walking around talking to the other donors. He eventually comes up and starts talking to me. It turns out that this man has bone cancer, and is dependent on blood donations every three weeks for his health. He is making it his personal mission to thank all of us, because it is people like us that made sure he could live to see his two grandsons’ birthdays.

I get through the rest of it with a smile on my face, thinking about giving what I have to someone who needs it. It’s nice to be able to help people, but to see what exactly a simple blood donation can do really gives me a warm fuzzy feeling. Rest assured, I’ll be back to do it again when the 56-day rest period between shots ends.


This story is part of our Blood Donation roundup!

Want to read the next story? Click here!

Want to read the roundup? Click here!

Has Been Trying In Vein

, , , , , | Healthy | July 14, 2018

(I have been donating blood at least twice a year ever since I was 18 years old. Once the needle gets into a vein, I have no problems filling the bag. The problem is my veins tend to “squirm” under my skin, and if they don’t get pierced straight on, they have a habit of popping. Due to this, I am rather used to them needing multiple attempts to stick me. One time, I go in to make my donation, and after doing all of the paperwork, I am sat on the bench. The phlebotomist — blood drawer — walks up with a young guy.)

Phlebotomist: “Mr. [My Name]? This is [Trainee], and he is a trainee with us. He is almost done with his training. Would you be okay if he did the needle insertion on you today?”

Me: “I mean, it’s fine with me, but he might have a hard time. I’m sometimes hard to stick.”

Phlebotomist: “Okay, [Trainee], I’ll be over there if you need me.”

(The phlebotomist then walks away to go do a draw from another donor across the room.)

Me: “All right, [Trainee], looks like it’s just the two of us. Just to warn you, my veins tend to squirm a bit, and are easy to pop. Just take your time.”

Trainee: “Don’t worry, sir. This should be easy. Just squeeze on this ball, and… Shoot.”

(He slid the needle into my arm, and, like I warned him, my vein moved out of the way. He tries to change the angle of the needle while it is in my arm, causing a good bit of pain, and then scrapes the side of the vein, popping it.)

Trainee: “Darn! Don’t worry; this is fine. There is another vein I can use. Just make sure you sit still, please. Please squeeze. D***!”  

(Another squirm and another pop, luckily with no digging inside of my flesh this time.)

Me: “Do you think you should get your trainer to come and look?”

Trainee: “No, sir. I am almost fully trained, and I have done this before. Is it okay if I move over to your other arm and give that one a shot?”

Me: “Sure, but you are going to have the same problem over there.”

(He moves over to my other side, cleans the skin, ties off the band, pokes at my vein with his finger a couple of times, and lines up the needle.)

Me: “Are you sure you don’t want to call your trainer over?”

Trainee: “I’m sure, sir. This will be fine. Just please don’t move while I’m inserting the needle. Squeeze. Fu… Um… Hey, [Phlebotomist], could you come over for a second, please?”

(He has managed to pop the third vein, and when extracting the needle, he ripped my skin a bit, causing me to start bleeding. When the phlebotomist gets over, he says to her:)

Trainee: “I don’t know what this guy is doing, but he keeps moving his veins while I’m working.”

Phlebotomist: “I doubt he is doing it on purpose. Let me try another vein, and I’ll show you how to do it.”

Trainee: “Umm… I already tried both elbows, and the veins all popped under me.”

Phlebotomist: “Why didn’t you call me when you started having trouble?”

Trainee: “It would have been fine if he hadn’t been wiggling his veins. Look, I tried both in his left arm, and one in his right, but his right is bleeding now, so I can’t do the other. Do you think I should go for an artery?”

Phlebotomist & Me: “WHAT?!”

Phlebotomist: “NO! YOU DO NOT TAKE BLOOD FROM AN ARTERY! NOT WITH THE TRAINING YOU HAVE! That donor over there is almost full; go take his needle out when he is done, and point him to the snacks.”

(The trainee walks away, muttering something under his breath that I can only assume is more blaming me for moving my veins. The phlebotomist apologizes profusely, saying that she hasn’t had any trouble with him yet today, he has been good with other donors, etc. As they can’t get blood from popped veins, she tells me to come back in a month after they have healed up. As I’m walking to the front door, I walk past the trainee, who gives me a glare, and says:)

Trainee: “Next time, sir, please hold still while we are inserting the needle.”

(When I went back in, the phlebotomist recognized me, and came up to apologize again, and said that the trainee no longer worked there, at least partially due to the fact that he kept blaming the donors if anything went wrong.)