The Latest Rate at the Blood Bank

Yesterday afternoon I went to the Blood Bank.  They were in Ocean City for two days at the Convention Center.  I walked in and was met by two very cheerful ladies who directed me to a table about four steps away.  So I went there and was met by three more ladies who directed me to another table, this one about 10 steps away.  I walked over to that table and found a man who had me read the same info they give you every time you give blood, then he pointed me to another table about 10 yards away.  At that table they checked my ID and did something on the computer.  This went on for a while, and after making stops at several other tables I finally sat down with someone who pricked my finger and asked me all those weird questions, like have I been to Africa or had sex with a drug user or taken any medication containing dmekadr4894g#fdeexr58%rtjftdtt.

After taking my blood pressure and temperature, this woman took my pulse.  She told me that my pulse was 101 and they couldn’t take blood from anyone with a rate over 100.  Maybe stopping at all those tables made me feel like a ball in a game of bumper pool and stressed me out, I don’t know.  Anyway, she told me to go sit for five minutes and go to my “happy place.”

I sat for awhile and tried to go to my “happy place,” but it’s hard to pretend you’re in a happy place when you’re in a giant room with about a hundred people lying around with needles stuck in their arms and blood gushing out.  So I took some deep breaths and tried to slow my pulse.  But that’s like when you’re in a public bathroom with a long line behind you, and everyone’s waiting for you, and there’s so much pressure that it’s really hard to go.  The more I tried to lower my pulse, the faster it got.

Finally they called me back again.  I took deep breaths and tried to relax as much as possible.  The woman tried to comfort me by saying that it was a large and loud room and that it’s normal to be nervous about giving blood.  I think she was trying to say I’m a sissy.  I told her that wasn’t the problem and I wasn’t nervous, but I don’t think she believed me.  She was probably thinking I was the biggest wimp she’d seen all day.

I watched and waited with great anticipation as she took my pulse.  She didn’t say anything (I guess she wanted to keep me in suspense), but I saw her write down “98.”  Just under the mark.  But then she gave me a free t-shirt and I felt a lot better.

The room was filled with what looked like those long, low-lying beach chairs.  I hopped up on one, got stuck, and bled for awhile.  They give you this weird little rubber-like thing to squeeze every few seconds (wrapped in plastic–a nice sanitary little toy), and apparently I was squeezing it too hard and too often.  The woman taking my blood asked if it was my security.  I laughed and said, “I guess so.”  She replied, “Yeah, I can tell!”

I’m not sure if I was stressed out when I got there, or if I got stressed out by the fact that they kept trying to convince me I was stressed out.

At any rate, afterwards they gave me coffee and cookies, so that made it all worthwhile.  It also helped that afterward I went to the beach to take some pictures to paint, then came home and watched comedian Brian Regan.

Think maybe I’m down into the 80s now.  (Of course, Carolyn tells me I’ve always been stuck in the 80’s.)

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Published in: on January 30, 2008 at 5:16 am  Comments (9)  

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9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Wow! I think the last time I gave blood my pulse was like 67, I was concerned because that is a little high for me.

  2. I MEANT to go to that blood drive, but missed it so I’ll go to Salisbury to give blood there. I’m sorry they stressed you out, Nathan! At least you got a free t-shirt and cookies out of the deal-e-o… 🙂

    PS: I have to give blood for Josh now because he always almost passes out. He’s 6’4 and I’m not sure it’s appropriate for a man of his size to react that way, but it’s true.

  3. Well Christi, even if he went, he might be so nervous about passing out that his pulse would race and they wouldn’t let him donate. Though it sounds like he might be happy if it turned out that way!

    Michael–you have so much energy… how could you have such a low pulse?!?

    By the way, what is a normal pulse? The blood bank people wouldn’t tell me (“it depends what your doctor says is normal for you”), but I think it’s because they didn’t want to freak me out by telling me that normal is 22 or something like that.

  4. I don’t think there is a normal. Your pulse is a good descriptor of how active you are. The more active you are, the stronger your heart, therefore it doesn’t need to beat as much to pump your blood. A big thing people look for is resting heart rate. In the middle of the summer when I’m playing lots of ultimate frisbee my resting heart rate has been 45.

  5. The fast heart rate doesnt mean you’re nervous.. it means you’re out of shape. Just walking across the room got your heart going. If you were a football player you would have been in the low to mid 60’s. Next year train before you go.

  6. Great, I’ve gone from being a nervous wimp to a lazy fat guy. This keeps getting better.

    But anyway, thanks for the info. At least I’ve learned something (not to reveal my heart rate in the public sphere).

    And great idea, Katie–I’ll train next time!

  7. I have only tried to give blood once, evidently my vein collapsed.

    But they gave me cookies and juice anyway!

  8. I was talking with Kristen last night and she said she gets so nervous at the dentist that her pulse is about 115 normally. Although, I still find it strange that her dentist takes her blood pressure and pulse rate.

  9. Judy, sounds like they should’ve given you a lot more than cookies and juice–a pizza or something!

    Michael, that does sound kind of weird, but then again, someone with a pulse of 115 is probably showing some outward symptoms. I know a lady who actually takes Valium before she goes to the dentist!

    By the way, I took my pulse again last night: 73. Yeah baby!


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