Friday, February 13, 2009

Back on track

I'm back on track. Not with my running, which has been non-existent since Saturday when I ran 13 miles with my training group and hurt my toe, but with my blood donating.

Last month the blood center rejected me because my blood pressure was too high, 182/106. Hitting the the century mark on the lower number is always a fatal reading.

Fatal to attempts to donate blood, that is. Apparently they're afraid that the drop in b/p caused by decreasing your volume of blood by taking a pint of it could be too precipitous if your b/p is too high to start with, and you could pass out.

Or worse, I guess.

I'm on b/p medicine (welcome to your 50s) but my dosage obviously needed some fine-tuning. I've been working on it.

There are always obstacles though. I upped my intake of the ace-inhibitor, which meant I needed to re-fill my RX sooner. Because I'm the health-conscious sort, I ran down to Kaiser from my house with a check, my Kaiser card and, just in case, my driver's license, to get a refill. By running back as well, I would make it a 5K workout.

The orderlies brought my bottle of pills to the counter and asked for the co-pay. I gave them my check for the stated amount, along with my driver's license. They already had my medical card.

They got antsy and called the manager over. She looked at my check and imperiously refused to take it, demanding that I pay by a credit card, which of course I didn't have on me. (Kaiser takes checks.)

The problem? My check, although it had my name printed on it, didn't have an address printed on it. It's a privacy thing.

The petty official acted absolutely dumbfounded that I could have checks without an address printed on them. She asked if anyone anywhere ever accepted my checks. Pointing to the check number, 1144, I said, "Sure, eleven hundred and forty three businesspersons have so far without a problem. And besides, I'm a customer of yours, and have been for ten years. You have my address on file."

Don't you hate it when officious types just make stuff up? I only got my meds by stonily refusing to run home and come back with a credit card. My "healthy outing" definitely raised my b/p.

Anyway, I went to the blood center today in mid-afternoon so I wouldn't be so close in time to my normal jangled, caffeine-induced morning state. This seemed to work as my b/p reading was lower, 168/87. However, the nurse was sure the machine was malfunctioning because it gave my pulse as 47. He was perplexed until I said I was a runner. "Oh," he said as he pranged my finger with a needle to get a blood sample.

He released a drop of my blood into a little jar of blue solution which had a disgusting, clumpy mass of blood from prior tests covering the bottom of the jar like a giant omeba. If your blood sinks into this mess, it has enough iron in it for you to donate blood. If it floats, you 're anemic and they won't take your blood.

I'm pretty sure that every woman on the planet is anemic according to this test and can't give blood, but for guys, usually their blood sinks into this slowy swirling bottom-clinging mass. Mine stopped halfway down, suspended in perfect stasis midway. Now what.

The nurse squeezed another blood drop out of my finger and took it into the next room. He came back sans the blood drop, happy. "Fifteen over three," he said in triumph. "I tested it in the other room." Apparently 15/3 is good. That's irony, I guess.

"What's wrong with that blood," I asked, indicating the red tear-shaped drop in the tube hovering immobile just above the clotted bloody cloud at the bottom.

"Oh, I got a tiny air bubble in it when I pulled it out of your finger into the crystalline tube. That's causing it to come to rest." Oh.

So I gave blood for the 78th time. But who's counting? I just hope the bloodletting doesn't impact too much on my effort in the hilly 9.3 mile anchor leg I'm doing in a marathon relay race in 40 hours.


Petraruns said...

I admire the blood giving - you're very dedicated to do this, especially in the face of all the obstacles thrown your way. Good luck in the relay!

Just_because_today said...

if you had caved in and ran back to the house for a credit card, you would have run a 10K...Glad you were able to donate, that is a good thing

Christie said...

I'm anemic, but I was born that way. I've been taking a supplement for almost 2yrs now that seems to work. Last I checked, my hemoglobin was up. I'm not sure if I'm at the point yet where I can donate blood though. I'm due for another check up to see where I am with that.

Danielle in Iowa said...

I almost can never give blood because of anemic conditions :-( I've stopped even trying!

David said...

Blood Center down here is in the news and pissing off donors. Apparently CEO of local center is pulling down $500k a year. For what one asks? That's pretty hefty for a non-profit.

Sunshine said...

Congratulations on the generous blood donations.

Don said...

Speaking as one who will probably need blood, I sure do appreciate your giving it.