What A Sad Day It Was...I've been donating blood for the last 25 years, whenever my company holds a blood drive. I've always loved the idea that I could be helping someone that is in desperate need. Well, last year during the spring blood drive, the nurse was checking my vital signs. I noticed that he was taking an abnormal amount of time to read the pulse. After about a minute of trying, I was told that I was going to have to be rejected. When I asked what the reason was, he asked me if I have a history of heart murmer or irregular heartbeat. "WHAT?? I'm perfectly fine!" I responded. "Maybe you can try taking the pulse in the other arm and see if you get a better reading." He replied, "If I get a different reading in the other arm, you have worse problems!". I reminded him that I had donated just 6 months earlier and everything was fine. He told me that if something were to go awry with my heartbeat during the donation, and my blood pressure went irratic, they were not prepared to handle that sort of crisis. So, dejected, and somewhat worried, I returned to my office. I placed my fingers to my jugular to feel my pulse. Damn, the guy was right. I was skipping every 4 or 5 beats. I started to panic. I had never sensed this before. But I had let myself get a little to complacent in life and had gotten out of shape. My wife was freaked by the story. She did not hesitate to make appointments right away for doctors and specialists.
After much testing, it was determined that although I have mitral valve regurgitation, it is not serious. Eventually, I will need surgery. But the good news, I was given a good bill of health to be able to donate again. I donated my first pint in over a year last month. I'm type A+, which is not in high demand for whole blood. The best news I've had in a while is that being type A+, means I'm a universal doner for platelettes. I've never done this, but I plan to try it next time around. I love the idea that I am still able to help someone in need.