a journal on hiking and traveling around the Philippines

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Charmed by A Phlebotomist

The sight of a phlebotomist usually insights fear to people who are afraid of blood or those who are wary of needles. Though I do not suffer from such, I do feel icky when undergoing blood tests. I mean, who enjoys getting pricked right? I may be eccentric, but I’m not in that level. Hehe!

Serendipity. That’s how I  would call what happened yesterday afternoon when we went to the hospital to visit our friend and fellow outdoorsman Adrian who is in the hospital due to a lump near his heart. We were hoping to donate blood as well should he need it for his treatment. Several of our friends were not qualified to donate blood so there were only 3 of us who went to get our blood test.

It was a mini adventure trying to locate the blood bank. It was in a separate building which we found by asking the staff. It was like passing through a maze to get there. I was particularly amused at the interesting business establishments around the hospital such as Red Ribbon, Jollibee, Delifrance, Figaro, Dimsum & Dumplings and 7Eleven. It felt more like a simple hotel than a hospital. It smelled nice too. The comfort rooms are amusing as well. There’s a huge full-size mirror right before you enter the restroom even bigger than the one inside Serendra’s public toilets. I wonder what’s it for since people who go to hospitals normally don’t need to doll up. Maybe it’s a Feng Shui thing.

We reached a vacant area that looked like an airport lobby and asked the guard what to do. He directed us to this machine where we were to get our numbers. It was cool! We punched a number assigned to the blood bank and a little print out spurted from the machine indicating our number in the queue.

We then proceeded to the second floor to fill up these questionnaires and waited for our turn to get called. As we sat in the huge waiting area, a guy exited from the blood bank and me and my friend looked at each other. He looked cute – as in boy next door who’s a little naughty kind of cute. I swore to my friend that I’m getting my blood test from him and nobody else. My friend giggled and joked that maybe we should offer something else other than blood – like perhaps – flesh? Hahaha!

After a few minutes, me and two other friends got called inside the room. Our other friend got left behind because she did not pass the initial screening. There were two people conducting the initial interview – one was a friendly looking nurse and the other one was the cute guy we saw. Oh my gosh. I waited for my turn and by luck, or perhaps fate, I ended up at his desk and he verified my answers from the questionnaire we filled up earlier.

His eyes were his best feature. It was a combination that said “Hey I’m the marrying type of guy, but I can also be very naughty.” Hahaha! After all that verification, I moved to the second phase - drawing of blood for testing. He wrapped this rubber thing around my arm. As he was doing that, another concern hit me. If I was going to donate blood that day, can I eat before giving out blood? Though his looks caught me off-guard and made me feel slightly giggly and my hands sweaty and cold, my appetite for food was not shaken, not one bit. I was hungry and I needed to eat already. So I grilled him with questions - “Could I eat? Can I drink coffee?” Obviously, my priorities are still intact.

It was music to my ears when he said I could – but not 30 minutes before I give blood and that I should avoid alcohol and fatty, oily foods. I smiled at him enthusiastically and suddenly felt a sharp pain on my arm. I could feel the needle pricking me much deeper than the usual and I slightly yelled in pain. I think I got him distracted because I kept asking questions about food. He immediately apologized. I tried to rack my brain for other points for discussion but my stomach was growling and could not produce any flirting scheme. I said goodbye and smiled at him the sweetest way I could. The results won’t come out until two hours so I had time to eat and then when I’m all nourished again, maybe I could come up with something to get his Facebook account or something.

Two hours later, me and my friend returned to the blood bank – full from food and the cake treat from our UK-based friend Mira – (hehe). I was feeling hopeful that I may be able to donate blood and perhaps chat more with mr. Phlebotomist. After waiting for a few minutes, mr. P. regretfully informed me of the results. I had way too much WBC which is not acceptable for donating blood. I felt alarmed, was I sick as well? I felt extremely fine. He said it’s probably due to some minor infection which may not be serious. I was disappointed. The blood could have helped my friend a lot but then I guess there’s an even bigger purpose for my blood. At least I met mr. P. and was also able to spend some time with my friends who I haven’t seen in a while. I bid goodbye to Mr. P.. Perhaps it’s the last time I’ll ever see of him and I realized, I was actually looking forward more to donating blood.

And since we are in the subject of blood, I would like to appeal to you to be a donor. The demand for blood is huge. According to an article from 2009, our country needs 900,000 of bags annually. You surely don’t get paid for it but the rewards are far greater than money - you get to help people live longer and your body also benefits from it (like lower your risk to Cardiovascular diseases, replenish your blood supply to help your body function more efficiently. More benefits here.)

If you are interested, the Red Cross Philippines site has outlined all the information you need in giving blood
You may also give them a call here to find out where you can give blood.
National Blood Services Office : +63(02) 527-0000 loc. 106 (Reception)

If you want to help my friend, please email me at : beadedtraveler@gmail.com to get details on how you can donate blood for him.

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