That’s the 4th pint of blood removed from my veins in the past few weeks, and unlike previous times, this time I gushed – the entire bag was full in less than 10 minutes. Still, I wish they had a system that required a smaller needle and less initial pain.
It doesn’t particularly help that the local GPs & nurses at the local health centre aren’t generally used to taking pints of blood in a single go. Sure they’re always taking small amounts for samples and tests, but that requires only small needles, and it’s the suction of the syringe that draws out the blood. When taking as much as half a litre the blood needs to fill the bag under it’s own pressure. Thus the needle needs to be longer and wider to allow the blood to flow more easily.
The ones who are best trained to take blood simply and with minimum discomfort are of course the National Blood Service or the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service. This would have the double benefit of being treated by someone who has fewer problems finding the right place to shove the needle in, while simultaneously contributing to the massive shortfall of blood required by the National Health Service.
Unfortunately, the blood donation services are not allowed to accept blood from people with the genetic form of Haemochromatosis, despite the fact it is neither harmful nor transferable to the recipient. There are moves afoot to try and change this, but even when it comes, they still will not be allowing more than 4 donations a year.
What a waste.
So what to do with all this extra, non-usable blood being taken from me every fortnight? Well, I had an idea while the last drops were dripping out of my arm and my head was floating in a light and fuzzy way.
Pig’s blood is traditionally used, but I don’t see why my blood wouldn’t be just as tasty or nutritious. Either I could do a deal with one of the local butchers, or perhaps set up my own specialist business using a suitable name, such as “Sweeney Todd’s Home Made Black Puddings” or “Sawney Bean’s Black Pudding Emporium” with the tag line “The owner puts more of himself into his product than any other maker”.
However, upon further enquiry from my GP it transpires they are not allowed to give me the blood to take away with me, even though it was mine to begin with. Apparently once it has left my body it is categorised as bio-hazardous waste and has to be disposed of accordingly. I’m not even allowed to put it in the compost bin.
Still it’s probably just as well, as with my condition I should be avoiding such iron-rich foods anyway.
*Sam, if you’re reading this, here’s a nostalgic link just for you http://www.charlesmacleod.co.uk