Friday, 25 July 2014

Todays Lesson: Listen to your gut

I was upset and embarrassed.  They had tried BOTH arms for my first platelet donation and neither arm would yield any blood.

"We really need you to keep up your whole blood donations." They said.

"I really don't do whole blood that well." I replied.

"But you're a Universal Donor, we really need your whole blood if you can't do platelets." Was the mantra.

So today I headed in and gave whole blood, very much against the feeling in my gut.  I sat down and she put the harpoon in.

"Hmmm...nothing happening." There was little blood coming through the needle, so the nurse adjusted it.  It took a little while, but suddenly WHOOSH - a fast stream of blood poured out of me.

So fast in fact that I managed to set a record - four minutes and thirty-four seconds to fill the bag.  I've always had a pretty fast flow, so I wasn't too surprised by my feat.  Nor was I surprised when a minute after she withdrew the needle and I started to feel faint.

I KNEW it would happen.  But still I ignored my gut and went with what others were pressuring me to do.  I ended up lying there on oxygen, needing a wheelchair to get to the toilet.  Still, I got a free taxi out of it.

It DOES highlight the fact that I didn't listen to my gut feeling - the one that said "Stick to plasma or platelets" - and dove into whole blood even though I knew it would be trouble.  It seems a lot of people tend to do that.  They ignore their better judgement and end up in some very sticky situations.  The biggest reason is peer pressure, either wanting to do the right thing by someone or not wanting to be seen as weak or different to the crowd.  However that is no reason to not listen when something inside you tells you to stop.  You have no one to blame when things go wrong if you've ignored your gut feeling - you're the one who chose to go against your inner warning system.

Nature gave us our own personal alarm system to make sure we didn't get ourselves into stupid situations.  I wish I'd listened - I'd probably be feeling a lot better right now. :-(

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