Some people don’t trust doctors. I’m not one of those people, which is probably how I ended up carrying a bag of my blood around the Northside of Dublin the other day.
I’ve had problems with my skin for most of this year – not to be too sexy about it but I am basically a walking allergic rash from head to toe. Don’t hate me cos u ain’t me.
Anyway, I’ve tried all the body creams, butters, yogurts – all 0f the epidermic dairy you can imagine – to no success. Different doctors have prescribed different potions, pills and witchery but nothing has really helped. I started seeing a new doctor who, amongst other things, suggested I have a blood test.
When a doctor suggests something to me, I’m pretty much going to do whatever they say. They went to medical school, not me. I trust them. My medical knowledge doesn’t extend far past WebMD based-fears, episodes of the Mindy Project and the lyrics to Dry Bones (the foot bone being connected to the toe bone… and such).
So, when the new doctor suggested taking blood I was like… yeah, whatever you like, stick a needle in me. I’m not using it.
She told me she had already done the drop-off to the lab for the day, so either I could come back in the morning, or she could do it there and then but I’d have to deliver the blood myself. Firstly, I wasn’t bothered getting up early the next day when I was already there, but secondly and most importantly, there was no way I was giving up an opportunity to make a delivery of my own blood.
There were four vials – and what a wonderful word, vials. How often do you get to use the phrase VIALS OF MY BLOOD? Not often enough.
There were four vials of my blood, tucked into a plastic bag with a yellow bio-hazard symbol on it, like the ones you see in zombie movies. I was given clear directions to the lab in the Mater hospital.
So, I tucked the bag o’blood into my backpack and headed on my way – honestly, I was almost hoping I would get mugged, just for the story and for the look on the mugger’s face when they opened the bag – truly the stuff of urban legend. But despite walking along Summerhill, I did not get mugged.
Reflecting on the weirdness of the situation, I carried the blood to Phlebotomy in the Mater without incident, though I was stuck for words when I reached the reception.
“Eh… I have to drop off my blood…”
“That’s fine.” said the nurse, taking the bag of my blood and putting it down beside her on the desk. She handles bags of blood every day, I realised. To her, it was just another bag of blood. Half an hour ago it was running through my veins, doing its thing, giving me life and now it was sitting on a desk beside a notebook and a packet of M&Ms.
So, I left the hospital thinking “what a weird thing to do”. Five minutes later, I had to run back into what turned out to be the Mater private, because I wasn’t supposed to drop off the blood there, it was supposed to go to the Mater. I had to ask for my blood back.
The nurse who had taken the blood was on the phone when I got back, with my blood still sitting in its bag on the desk beside her. I waited a minute, looking from her to the blood – should I just take it? It was mine. More mine than anything else I had. Was there some sort of policy on giving back blood? Would I have to get more taken?
Luckily, she recognised me and I didn’t have to beg for my blood back. I did have to explain that I’d made a mistake, I was supposed to drop the blood off to the Mater, not the Mater private, and this was the wrong place for my blood… She understood.
I took my blood back and brought it up the street to the lab in the Mater, where I got very lost, of course, but managed to find the lab eventually after asking several people who looked at me as if they knew there was blood in my bag. I handed the bag over to another person who handles bags of blood all day and that was that.
It was a pretty interesting day.