Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Blood Donation

I had to leave my friends at the Farmers’ Market early in the morning for an appointment to donate blood. On the way downtown it started raining buckets. This route takes me through the most tourist/yuppie/cabbie infested part of town and is no fun to get through. Today though, the drivers were very nice and gave me my space. Sympathetic because of the rain possibly? Whatever the reason is was very nice to not have impatient drivers in addition to my sogginess.

I was late for my appointment with the blood drive, but there were very few other people there and the staff didn’t seem at all phased at my lateness. The obese receptionist gave me a certificate to fill out to win $25 of free gas, "something we all need." My helmet was hanging at my sodden hip and I declined saying, "I ride my bike everywhere. Gas doesn’t matter to me." The woman told me I was lucky to be able to ride, but said that she was "too thick to exercise." ?????

The woman who questioned me about my medical history was even fatter. She was probably my age or younger and each breath she took was somewhere between a wheeze and a pant. Her massive breasts sat upon her imposing belly that sat solidly upon her lap, almost concealing her legs. Her fingers looked as fat as Wisconsin brats and a quarter coin could almost certainly pass through her wedding ring. Her labored breathing didn’t diminish her pleasant personality, nor did the groan of effort she made to stand up. I felt both sad for her and disgusted at her body crushing itself in layers of fat.

I was wearing my "Put the Fun Between Your Legs" t-shirt and one of the men commented approvingly of it as my arm was getting cleaned with iodine by an older woman (nurse?). He and I engaged in a wee bit of bicycling chat. The nurse began to scold me about riding my bike after donating blood. I had already told her that donating blood doesn’t really effect me – I’m not a fainter. So laughingly I informed her that my office was only a few blocks away and by the time I biked home my body would be completely fine. She continued her warnings and couldn’t understand that my commute is not very strenuous.

Once my blood was flowing she was surprised at how fast it was filling the bag. She looked at my chart and commented about how healthy my numbers were. Eventually she realized that she couldn’t convince me not to ride my bike home and with resignation conceded that "biking was probably OK for someone as healthy as me."

The experience just left me shaking my head in wonder at the workers. The cause and effect relationship with biking didn’t seem to dawn on any of the women. Could it be...maybe, just maybe.....that biking contributes to my good health, instead of my health making me "lucky" enough to ride a bike? Sure, I was healthy even before I began riding, but it certainly worked to slim down my body and contributes tremendously to my overall fitness.

Move your bodies people! It does wonders.


At 2:43 PM, Blogger Rick J said...

Down here in Austin, the blood ladies are equally as fa..... thick. I give every 6 weeks, most of the time I receive compliments to my 58 year old health. I am continuously wondering why that, if one works closer to life support entities like the blood bank, the people seem to live in unhealthy ways. I gotta tell you, tbat blows my mind.

At 6:52 PM, Anonymous brad s said...

I just got back from donating blood today myself! I also got scolded for riding my bike. Giving a bit of blood doesn't affect me in the least but they can't seem to fathom it. They also clucked disapprovingly when they noticed my resting heart-rate was 52. I work hard to keep it that low! I xc mtb race and commute daily, it's no accident it's that low. "Any lower and you won't be able to donate." So let me get this straight; if my heart is too strong and healthy I can't donate? Society in general are becoming a bunch of fat slugs and if you don't fit that profile, it seems you're out of luck. They don't know how to deal with you. It boggles my mind that health professionals can't recognise a healthy lifestyle and compensate their silly tables for it.

At 7:52 PM, Blogger George said...

Nurses.......yeah, my wife is an RN and while she isn't "thick", damn near all her co-workers are.

Probably something to do with where she works-they don't have to move around a whole lot.

My buddy is a trauma nurse and he isn't fat at all, I wish he was.....he totally kicks my ass on road rides.

At 3:59 AM, Anonymous genome said...

Overall health is interesting thing isn't it. I completely agree that just keeping a basic level of fitness allows you to do so much more with your life.

Cycling is the way of the future!

At 6:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

my goodness people, you know, being a fatty CAN be a lifestyle choice. i'm a fatty and i enjoy it - can you believe that? i actually enjoy it. just like riding a bike instead of driving a car to work. it can be a choice. i'll tell you what, you don't cluck your tongue at me when you see me walking around and i won't cluck my tongue at you when i see you biking, okay?

At 4:19 PM, Blogger Sascha said...

hey woman! Just trying to get your attention so feel free to delete this comment. Gilby and I are trying to plan our weekends and are wondering when you're getting here. We are trying to establish the likelihood of another outing. Can you email me pleeze? I tried emailing your brother but he must not be speaking to me this month as he never replied.

At 10:35 AM, Blogger SueJ said...

I just don't mention it, since usually I give from work so they don't see my gear. When it has come up, I tell them "I ride as if I were walking, with the same effort. I'm used to it."
Only time I had trouble after donating blood was at choir practice. I hadn't really eaten enough and holding those long notes out... "What happened to the alto section?"

At 10:46 PM, Anonymous Jim said...

I always get a lot of leeway from drivers when it rains. I won't say it's because I'm a hot piece of ass in a wet T-shirt, but...well, yes I will say that.

At 8:01 PM, Anonymous LL said...

Hey, for the record, I thought the same thing. I'm 23, and I figured that those recommendations were for old or sick people. My blood donation place actually said that my resting heartrate of 56 and my BP of 100/68 was good. Anyway, I donated, had lunch, and drove home. I felt 100% myself and energetic. 4 hours later, I started what I'd planned to be an 8 mile bike ride, which I do often. 1 mile in, I wondered why it was a slightly harder ride even though I'd just inflated my tires, which usually makes it easier(they were low, ~35 psi, so I inflated them back up to 60), but didn't feel otherwise unusual. 2 1/2 miles in, I decided to head back. About 1 mile from the beginning(so about 4 miles total - really not that far), I all of a sudden got extremely tired, got off of my bike, and leaned against a guardrail on a bridge. Next thing I know a stranger is asking me if I'm okay, offers water, I notice scrapes on my arms that I don't remember, and conclude I must have passed out. I don't consider myself out of shape, but in the future I won't bike after giving blood.

At 12:15 PM, Anonymous charity donation said...

Nice job, it’s a great post. The info is good to know!


Post a Comment

<< Home

Web Counter
Site Counter