To start, if you haven't read my Hemochromatosis blog, do it! I want to catch you up on my journey.
I have Hemochromatosis and every week I have to go in for a Phlebotomy, which is a fancy word for blood donation. Every Tuesday I go in to donate a pint of blood and this week was no exception. Little did I know what a crazy experience it would be.
When preparing for a Phlebotomy, there are some things that you must do like: make sure you have had good nutrition that day, drink plenty of fluids, and most importantly relax! Donating a pint of blood is not easy and so you have to be prepared. I take this seriously!!
Preparation is my way to gain a feeling of control, since I am so fearful of needles. This week was no different, except I made some changes, like: I ate lunch too close to my appointment, swapped Gatorade for coconut water, and was running late. Little did I know that all of this would add up to MAJOR drama!
Going into the appointment, everything was fine and Shane was with me, so I felt good. They called me back and I sat in the recliner room with all the other patients. My favorite nurse was there and she got prepared and asked me what arm I want, I decided, stupidly, to do my right arm. That failed when she lost the vein and my anxiety sky rocketed!
Then she went for the left arm and like always, she got it! Ok, we recovered and I was ready to get this over with. Shane and the nurse both mentioned how much faster I was filling up the pint compared to last week. I thought this was a good sign and I'd be finished quickly.
THEN IT HIT ME! I started to feel nauseous, the nurses we're panicking, handed me a waste basket, and I threw up! Then, suddenly I started to get cold sweats, and I mean like soak my clothes and the chair sweats. Shane had to grab towels so I could towel myself off, all my clothes we're already soaked. While all of this is going on, I am still getting rid of blood.
As I start feeling light headed and tingly, the nurses went in to crazy mode. This is where my memory gets foggy and I don't really remember what happened. I was paying attention to the paramedics that were there for another patient. The next thing I remember, is closing my eyes and waiting for it to be over. The nurse comes in with some fluids and I yelled, "does this mean another needle?!". She said no and stopped my blood donation, to swap it for IV fluids.
I sat there with IV fluids for another 15 minutes trying to get back to feeling normal. I finally started to cool off and get dry from sweating so much. Then I got emotional and cried. I just wanted to get out of there and be done with this. I felt desperate. I texted my parents and Shane's Mom to distract myself and finish the fluids. I was kind of out of it and just emotionally drained. "GET ME OUT OF HERE", was running through my head. Shane kept talking to me to be calm and letting me know I'm almost done. He's the calm force I need to make it through all of this.
Once the fluids we're done they finally took the needle out and I sat there a minute, getting my wits about me. I had to sit up little by little to make sure I didn't pass out. The nurse and I made a plan for next week so that it will go better than this week did. After a few minutes I was finally ok enough to walk and made my way out of the office. I felt like I was defeated and questioning if I could handle this.
I was hoping at the end of the day to say that I survived my second Phlebotomy and that it was another good experience. This wasn't quite what I was expecting but I still made it through. So next week, I will prepare even more and not change so many variables. I will make it through, I have to, and maybe I'll realize that I can handle anything, including needles.
Thank you for your support, kind words, checking in on me, and praying. I literally don't have the words to tell you how much I appreciate it. This will get easier and I will conquer it, especially with all of you supporting me! Thank you!