Monday, September 20, 2004

Rocket Science

Some things are harder than they appear. For instance, I donated platelets on Saturday. No, wait a minute. That's not the hard part. (unless you count sitting still for two hours, 'cause that can sometimes be a challenge)

Whenever you donate blood (or blood products like platelets or plasma) you have to answer about 50 or 60 questions. It doesn't matter that your answers don't ever change, the blood center folks are still required to ask them anyway. It used to be that you filled some out and they verbally asked the rest, but nowadays they just hand you the whole sheet and you're on your own.

The second question on the list is: Are you allergic to latex or iodine? (the first is: Are you feeling well today? in case you were curious)

And since I am allergic to latex AND iodine, I always bubble in "Yes". About 50% of the time when the phlebotomist is looking over my answers, I have to prompt THEM about this. "Uh. Excuse me ... I don't know if you noticed, but I'm allergic to latex and iodine." "Oh." they say. It's not like I'm extremely allergic and will blister or go into shock or anything. My allergies show up about two days later as a rash that itches like the dickens (whatever THAT means). So, I always tell them it's a mild allergy, which they note on the back of the form AND in big letters on the front - "NO LATEX OR IODINE."

About 75% of the time, I still have to remind the phlebotomist who's hooking me up. "Oh." they say and look at my form. "You sure are." And then they get the pretty purple gloves instead of the boring old white ones. Saturday, the tech already had purple gloves on so I didn't say anything until she tore open a package and removed a swab. "Uh. That's not iodine is it?" I asked. "Oh. Are you allergic?" she says, looking at my form. She tracked down a couple of the antibacterial scrubbers they use instead and then we were good to go.

The last obstacle is when you're all done and they wrap your arm to keep the gauze in place (supposed to leave it on for six hours after apheresis procedures). The stretchy wrap is made of ... you guessed it: latex. I usually reminded them again before they wrap me up that I don't want the latex (which causes them to change what they were going to do about 25% of the time). The past couple of times, though, they told me that they had gone to 100% non-latex wraps, so I didn't have to worry any more.

So, on Saturday, I didn't even mention it.

What are the odds that I'm sitting here scratching my arm as I type this?

Thank goodness for Benadryl's Itch Relief Stick - once again proving the sentiment: better living through pharmaceuticals.

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