Giving blood ... you know it makes sense.
Once, not long ago when times were hard, I thought I could earn a few quid by volunteering for medical research. Addenbrookes were advertising for ‘guinea pigs’ to try out new forms of medication in return for monetary recompense. I registered … turned up … and underwent the preliminary tests but was found to have a regular irregular heart beat … so was rejected.
I got my act together, comforted by the fact that I was still alive and that a regular irregular heartbeat is fine … it’s the irregular regular ones which are the cause for concern (so the Doctor assured me anyway).
I resumed riding my bike and a couple of years later went off to the Pyrenees to
do some hard training. This was at about the same time that many of my
contemporaries were found to have some sort of heart condition (Sean Yates,
John Pritchard, Martin Pyne, Brian Phillips RIP to name just a few) and when I
found myself standing at the side of the road half way up the Port de Paleheres
started asking questions to myself. Was I going to end up the same way? How
did the guy I caught towing a trailer further down the mountain manage to recatch
me? Why did I feel as bad as I did when he told me he’d been towing it from
England (honest!)? When asked, why did I tell him my name was Dave Loughran
(I was working for Planet X at the time) and not Ian Cammish (9 times BBAR and
I managed to remount (eventually) and got back to base without dieing but the
first thing I did when I got back to the UK was to book an appointment with my
Doctor. She referred me to Addenbrookes (again!) where I undertook a vast
number of tests before being told I did indeed have a regular irregular heart beat
and that my heart was pretty large. I asked them about ‘enlarged hearts’ as I
didn’t think that was a particularly good thing … but they told me mine was not
really any larger than they’d expect for someone who’d been doing as much
exercise as I had over the years and that I was fine … apparently!
I can only therefore put my bad experience on the Port de Pailheres down to an excess of red wine, too many baguettes and Saint Agur or old age … or most probably all three!
Once again I pulled myself together and got on with riding my bike.
Since retiring from work (I tried it and didn’t like it) I have naturally had a lot more spare time on my hands. I realised it was about time I should follow in my son Jack’s footsteps and consider giving blood. I’m A Rhesus negative which, I think, is one of the rarer ‘brands’ but I’ve always been put off giving blood in the past because I thought it might effect my racing. Since I’ve not raced now for 5 years or so I’ve got no excuse … so when my family badgered me into registering I did so as we could make it a family visit. I wouldn’t have registered if I’d be going by myself but a bit of father / son bonding never goes amiss … so I did.
I soon got an email inviting me along to one of their sessions. Jack didn’t!
Not to worry, “I know how bad you are with people” said Jayne (my wife), “I’ll go
with you to keep you company and stop you saying anything you shouldn’t”
(apparently I’ve got a habit of that).
The day before my appointment, I went down with a stinking cold … so had to
reschedule. I should have left that to Jayne as any married man knows it’s not
worth booking ANY appointment where the wife is involved … because it will be
wrong! As was this one.
I ended up going by myself.
I’d also enrolled to give platelets. I wasn’t sure which session I was attending
when I turned up. Neither was I sure how I ended up going by myself when I’d
only registered for a bit of family bonding. But there we go eh?
As requested, I had honestly filled in the form which the nurse read through …
until she got to the parts where my previous visits to Addenbrookes were
mentioned. I had a regular irregular heart beat which I assured her was okay but
I’d also slipped into the conversation the fact that I’d fainted in the kitchen a few
months ago! That didn’t go down very well and I could sense I was already fighting
a losing battle.
In the early 80s I reckon I could have made a mint selling my blood as it was like rocket fuel then. These days (it appears) I’m running on diesel and no-one wants it.
Not for the first time in my life … I was rejected.
Quite how I am going to recover from this one God only knows. I had considered organ donation but I don’t think I could stand being turned down yet again!
From ‘hero’ to zero in the blink of an eye signing off for now.