So now that I have completed phase one of the donor process (lose weight), the University of Pennsylvania sent me a box of 7 or 8 empty vials last night, which all needed to be filled with my blood. They will need to look at this blood to assess my viability as a donor.
The instructions directed me to Quest Diagnostics to get the blood drawn. I went to Quest this morning and immediately met resistance, they said there is no way Quest will ship my blood to someone else and they were not going to let me ship my own blood. The people at Quest made a bunch of phone calls to Quest supervisors, but ultimately, they gave me my box of vials back and said they couldn’t help me.
I am traveling tomorrow through the end of the week, so I was determined to get it done today. The one helpful thing the people at Quest did was direct me to the Saint Clair outpatient hospital center down the road, the folks at Saint Clair were fabulous, took me right in, they were thrilled that I had a box all made up and they didn’t need to create their own vials.
The guy stuck me with the needle in my right arm and the blood was flowing like a newly opened box of merlot. He quickly filled 3 vials, but on the fourth, the well began to dry and blood stopped coming out. He pushed the needle in more, he pulled the needle out, he asked me to squeeze my fist then release repeatedly, but no more blood would come out. He removed the needle and then stuck it into my left arm and we were back in business, the remaining 4 vials were filled up quickly, but by the end, I was feeling a little woozy.
Fortunately, I know the symptoms of feeling woozy post blood extraction, I had once fainted after a Red Cross blood drive and it was not a good experience. I told the people that I was fine, but would really appreciate something sweet to pep me up, they provided me diet ginger ale and I was revived.
They let me hang out for a couple minutes, we packed up the blood in the fancy container and they let me take it to the UPS store across the street. I informed Penn that the blood is in the mail and they expect to give me an update in 14 days.