Sunday, March 29, 2009

Isn't donating blood supposed to be a good thing?

So on Friday I was shopping at Wal-Mart and as I was leaving I saw a sign on the door for a blood drive the following day for a little girl that has some heart problems. I decided I wanted to go donate blood because I wanted to help this little girl. If it was my child I would want others to do the same as well.

So the next day my Mom and I went down to Wal-Mart where they had the San Diego Blood Bank mobile blood donation center set up. I filled out my paperwork (this was my first time donating) and was brought inside and got all registered. Then they had me take a seat in one of their special half laying down/half sitting up seats. Then the "Blood Collecting Specialist" came over and marked the vein that she wanted to stick. She even went as far as cleaning my arm with the iodine or whatever it is they clean it with before she realized they hadn't gotten my "bags" ready yet. So as she waited for the bags that would collect my blood, she looked at my arm and decided that the "side vein" (this what she repeatedly called it) would be easier to draw from. So she then marked that one and cleaned that area again. So then they finally got the bag ready with my labels on it and she went ahead and "stuck" me. The blood started flowing, but very slowly. She then proceeded to move the needle-and I must say this needle is huge!- around in my vein trying to get the blood to flow faster. I kid you not she poked and prodded at my arm for a good 15 min "trying to get the blood to flow faster". She kept asking me "does that hurt" to which I kept telling her no because I didn't want to be a pain, but yes it hurt very badly! I even looked down at one point to see part of the hole in the needle (the needle edge is kind of slanted if you know what I mean). I immediately freaked out thinking that she just pushed air into my vein...couldn't this lead to bad things?? It was around this time she finally called over the RN that was there and asked for her help. The RN felt the area where the needle was and said she felt a hematoma. I asked her what that was and she said it's a clot. I again freaked and she said "Don't worry it happens all the time". I figured that since she was an RN and she worked for the San Diego Blood Bank that I should believe she knew what she was talking about. They the told me that they would just take the needle out and I wouldn't be able to donate today. I had only filled the bag half way. I have never had an issue when I have had blood drawn before and they checked my hemoglobin levels before they started yesterday and they were fine, so I'm starting to think this "Blood Collecting Specialist" wasn't much of a specialist. So the RN walked away and the other lady pulled out the needle. When she did a small clot came out with it. She said "see there is the clot that is why your blood was coming out so slowly". So they got me all taped up and had me go sit in the "cooler" and drink some orange juice and eat a snack and then I was free to go. On my way out the RN said to me "come back and donate again soon!" Yah right. That won't be happening again. You will see why after you read the rest of this blog.

So my Mom and I went home and my arm was THROBBING! Like I said I have had blood drawn numerous times for labs and such and never had more than just a little bruising. My arm began to swell and I was in some serious pain. After about 4 hours my arm and hand started going numb and I was dizzy and getting some sharp pains in my chest. I assumed the dizziness was from giving blood (I later found out that since they only got half a pint from me it shouldn't have made me so dizzy). I text messaged my friend Caitlin about what happened. She told her Dad (who happens to be a Registered Nurse) what happened and he immediately told me to go to the ER because they might not have gotten all of the clot out and it can travel to your heart or lungs. (Today I looked up the symptoms of a blood clot and they were swelling, pain and redness in the area of clot-all of which I had). So my Mom took me straight to the ER. Scott stayed home with Alex because it was 6pm and I knew we would be at the emergency room for a while. Alex won't go to bed for anyone other than Scott or I, so we figured he should stay home with him. So we got to the ER and the nurse had me come in to take my blood pressure and heart rate and ask me what was going on. She looked at my arm and immediately said "Your arm should not be that swollen from donating blood". So she took me back in the room and the doctor came in and he said the same thing. I told him that when she pulled the needle out she had pulled the clot out with it. He said there is no way to be certain that they got the whole thing out and that I had all the symptoms of "Deep Vein Thrombosis". He sent me up for an ultrasound. That took about 20 minutes and was actually pretty interesting. They watch the blood flowing through your veins and everything and can even listen to it flowing through. The Ultrasound Tech checked every vein from my neck all the way down my arm. He said everything seemed to look and sound okay, but that he had to send it up for the Radiologist to look at to give the official okay. So they wheeled me back down to the triage room. The ER dr came in about 15 minutes later and said that everything looked clot! I was so relieved! I was so scared that I was going to have to be hospitalized and with Scott leaving sometime soon, I had no idea what we would do with Alex. Not to mention I have never been away from my baby boy for that long before! The doctor said that she probably bruised my muscle pretty badly and that is why it was so swollen and hurt so bad. The U/S tech even showed me all of the "little air pockets" in my tissue that the lady had created with the needle. There were about 20-30! So I was sent home with instructions to elevate and ice my arm and come back if I had chest pain or shortess of breath. I am also supposed to see my primary care physician in 3-5 days to make sure everything is healing okay.

My parents think I should call and complain to the San Diego Blood Bank tomorrow, but I have a feeling there is small print on the registration form I signed that protects them from things like this. But then again do they really want someone who doesn't really know what she is doing to keep poking people with needles and possibly causing someone permanent harm or even death? I think I will call tomorrow, but I have a feeling the conversation won't go very far.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


I am so blessed to have a beautiful healthy little boy. Every day I look at him and I know how lucky I am that he is and always has been healthy. This is not the case for so many other little ones out there.

Back in January, I began following little Harper Stamp's story.

I prayed for that darling little girl daily and asked for her strength as well as strength for her parents and the doctors and nurses who cared for her. I am so happy to say that Harper is doing great and is at home and getting cuter every day! I have continued to follow her Mommy's blog and have found a number of other sweet little babies and children who are in need of all of our Prayers. I figure the best way to tell you their stories is to just post the links to their parents' blogs. If you could please take a few moments to pray for these precious little ones. Pray for their strength and for them to heal. Pray for the strength of their parents and also for that of the medical professionals who care for them daily. There are a couple that I will list that have already lost their little ones. Please pray for their families. They need us all during these difficult days. Thank you all so much.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Pee Pee in the Potty!

That's right my big boy went pee pee on the potty for the first time tonight! I didn't think he was anywhere near ready and wanted to wait til he was around 2 years old to start potty training, but Daddy wanted to try before he deployed so we got a potty last week. We have been sitting him on it and he has been scared silly up until tonight. Daddy sat him on it before bath and he went! Mommy missed it though! I made him a potty chart when we bought his potty, so he got to put a sticker on and he was so happy! Then he gave everyone high fives. He was so proud of himself! We will see how he does tomorrow! I am so proud of him!!