I remember on my second visit to Alton Towers, a friend warned me that the 2nd trip on the Black Hole would be my worst. He argued that on the first occasion I had no idea what to epect, so enjoyed the thrill. Queueing second time around would leave plenty of time to imagine the horrors ahead. Once in the car I would anticipate every sharp turn and near miss,heightening the tension. Having survived a repeat run, future journeys would hold no further terror.
I hope he is right. Today I attended my second blood donor session, armed with my donor card indicating my blood group O-, which I share with only 8% of the population. This group is highly sought after for its rarity but also because it can safely be given to almost anyone in an emergency without the need for cross-matching. When a change of venue in hawick meant limited numbers could be accommodated, I received a personal invitation! Being on holiday on the relevant date, I enquired about alternatives in nearby towns – hence my visit to Galashiels today.
My blood red pass gained immediate entry and I joined the queue, which gradually shuffled along the line of chairs. I was quite blasé about the whole think though feeling slightly nervous. Having received my "two hearts" badge for my second sessio (with my important blood group on it) I joined another queue, awaiting my bed.
Not that it's very comfortable. A cold steel frame on folding legs with a plastic "canvas" sheet stretched across. My head rested on a small foam pad, and my right elbow on another. The next part was not smooth. Trish (my Donor Carer) got the velcro of the pressure cuff caught in my jumper, the nurse got distracted and seemed to swab my arm incessantly with unnecessary pressure. The needle hurt when going in. The job done, I was very wobbly for several minutes and had TWO biscuits with my cup of tea. The dizziness lasted on and off for an hour, accompanied by a dull but definite headache. In fact, the smoothest part of the process was the giving of blood, which seemed to take onlhy a couple of minutes.
The whole thing reminded me of my recent dental appointment. In need of an emergency checkup, I enquired how much longer we would hae to wait to register at our preferred practice. "well, we are just processing last January's applications, and you registered in May so it should only be another six months. A call to the emergency dental line saw me visit Mr McInnes. Checkup complete, I discovered the clinic had a very reasonably priced dental plan. So we made appointments and decided to sign up.
On the second visit Mr McInnes did not seem quite so gentle, and his receptionist happilhy told me the treatment required would cost me over £200! Ler's hope my friend is right and after the second visit it will all seem less painful.