Thursday, November 19, 2015

(Not) just another day at the Kraft Family Blood Donor Center

Yesterday, there was nothing wrong with my driver, but a few things were wrong, or at least odd, with my day.

I called ahead to the Kraft Family Blood Donor Center like I am supposed to do to say I was on my way in for my 3 p.m. ECP. The front desk person who took the call said she would let the nurses know. But when I got there it turns out she hadn't, meaning I had to wait about 20 minutes for the machine to be primed.

Then, my nurse had a hard time getting the needle into a vein where it would draw. When she finally had it in and was waiting for the machine to start, she realized it was taking a long time. She called in another nurse who said one of the tubes was not connected properly and was drawing air. They had to take out a new kit and start again. In the meantime the needle in my vein started hurting a lot. She flushed it, and it hurt even more. Turns out it had infiltrated. She had to switch to my right arm. The machine beeped repeatedly, signaling that my blood was not being pulled out. After some injections of heparin to thin out what was probably clotty blood, it finally started working.

While we were waiting for the machine to start, we talked about the Paris attacks. (How can you not?) My nurse reminded me that back a month or so ago when we were talking about the refugee crisis, and she had said she didn't want any Syrians to come to this country because terrorists would be sneaking onto Massachusetts Avenue, I had said these were just poor people in need of a haven.

She said, "I told you this would happen," referring to the speculation that one of the attackers had slipped in with the wave of Syrian refugees. I said actually, most if not all of the attackers were from Belgium and France, and, judging from what I had heard on the news, the potential for this problem is greater in Europe due to the controversial Schengen agreement, allowing for the free movement of people across the European bloc. I told her I also heard that the vetting process in the U.S. is more thorough. And I asked, was she sticking me so many times because of our disagreement. She laughed and said of course not, which I knew to be the case. It was just one of those days.

I took a nice nap and then woke up and watched most of an episode of Bloodline. I had told my driver I thought I would be done early (because I have gone down to five rounds instead of six), but in actuality, I was done late, at 7 p.m. We closed down the place.

Getting home around 8:30 is a kind of strange time. Too late to eat a real dinner but too early to not have anything. In the car on the way back I had had a clementine, some popcorn and a piece of the banana bread I had made. At home, I had yogurt with chia seeds and raspberries and some of the Teddy Grahams that are an addition to the snack menu at the Kraft Center. The chia seeds made me feel healthy, and the graham crackers made me feel like a kid.

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