Sunday, February 2, 2014

Blood & Magic

Man, with a title like that, it sounds like I'm about to go off on some dissertation about fantasy and magic within fantasy or, maybe, some new magic system I, personally, have developed for some epic fantasy epic that involves blood or something. Or maybe something with vampires. Sadly, it's nothing so fantastic. Actually, it's just what it says it is...

I have an ambivalent relationship with blood. I don't mind the sight of it, not at all. If you're gushing blood, I can even stay level-headed enough to help you or get you to help or whatever. I know this from personal experience (like when a friend of mine when I was a kid fell off of a wall and hit his chin on the way down (man, there was blood everywhere!), and I got him to his mom (so she could take him to get the bajillion stitches he needed)). So it was with some surprise that I found out I have a squeamish reaction to people having blood drawn.

I don't have a problem with needles. You need a shot? No problem. Well, unless it's in the belly; that's kind of gross, but it doesn't make me want to pass out (I know, because I had friend in high school with type 1 diabetes who had to give herself insulin shots in the belly. Gross. But no head issues). However, you so much as poke someone with a lancet, and I start to swoon. Not that I've ever actually passed out, but I think I've been close.

I found that out unexpectedly during sixth grade. We were on a field trip to a hospital, and they were going to centrifuge some blood for us, but they needed to get the blood, first, so one of the nurses or techs or someone popped his (or her (I don't remember)) arm out to have the blood drawn. I was trying to watch just like everyone else was, but, as soon as they stuck the needle into the person's arm and started to pull the blood out, I went "white as a sheet," as one of my classmates said, and broke out in a damp sweat, and felt like my head was going to pop off and float away.

To make a long story short, I have learned to avoid situations where I (or anyone else) am going to have blood taken out of me on purpose.

So it was with much trepidation that I had to go in to have my blood drawn last week. Just something for this program at my wife's work, nothing to be alarmed over. [We earn points for doing things like this and can redeem for, among other things, movie tickets. So, now, you know the secret to all of the Oscar movies.] Well, except for me. It was something for me to be alarmed over. Evidently. Because I didn't sleep well the night before (among other side effects). It was, after all, my first time to have my blood drawn.

I also had to have my blood pressure taken. I have had that done before. But it didn't go well. As in, she took my pressure the first time and it was really high. Too high. So she decided to take it again and started telling me to relax and stuff, so I told her it wasn't having my blood pressure taken that was the issue, and I explained the whole thing with taking blood out of people. During the discussion about that and her amazement that I had never had my blood taken before, she finished with the pressure for the second time, and it was even higher, and she was concerned, so she decided to try my other arm. I don't even know what it was that third time, because, by the time she was finished, she had decided to take my blood first. Yeah, yeah, I know she'd already done the pressure three times, but she didn't take any of those results.

She had me lie down and she took my blood. Which was actually okay, because I just stared at the wall the whole time, and, other than a tiny poke, it didn't feel like anything. I was quite shocked actually that she had taken three vials of blood out of me. Three vials! My wife says that's normal.

She took my blood pressure again... and it was totally normal.

Which brings me to my point: I didn't feel any different after she took out my blood than I had beforehand. I mean, to me, I didn't feel any different, but something in me changed, because, immediately after, my blood pressure had returned to normal even though I hadn't felt stressed before and I didn't feel relieved after.
And I find that pretty amazing. Bodies are weird.
And that thing in particular? Well, that's magic.

Which brings me to
Last week, Nathan Fillion tweeted that he was learning to play Magic: The Gathering, "the game with more rules than game." Or something like that. Here are the things you should take away from that:

  1. Yes, I am now on twitter (in case you missed me say that before). You can find me here. If you follow me, I will probably follow you back. Unless I don't know you, in which case you need to give me a reason to follow you, like interacting with me.
  2. Yes, I follow Castle. Um, I mean Nathan Fillion. The guy who used to a space cowboy. I only follow cool celebrities, though (seriously, I already quit following one (unnamed) celebrity who turned out to be a <content edited>).
  3. Fillion plays Magic! And was even tweeting Wizards of the Coast about some issue or another. He became infinitely cooler when he tweeted about that.
I hope he posts updates, because I really want to know what color(s) he settles on as his favorite.

Oh, also, if you have any twitter tips, let me know, because I'm still trying to figure the whole thing out.


  1. I'll have to look for Fillion on Twitter.
    I don't handle needles well either. I think 'white as a sheet' describes my reaction as well.

  2. I, too, follow Nathan Fillion. He's Captain Tightpants, for crying out loud. Of course I follow him!

  3. Don't get diabetes Andrew. I have my blood drawn four times a year. I don't really watch what they are doing. I don't watch flu shots or shingles shots, I turn my head the other way.

  4. Seeing Nathan Fillion as head of the janitors on Community, trying to get his porn unblocked was pretty damn cool last week.

    My twitter suggestion - start a feud by tweeting off-color insults at easily angered celebrities?

  5. I follow Fillion too. My tip? I dunno. I don't do twitter that well because I tend to follow folks that interest me. Most folks expect a follow back and will quit following you if they find out you haven't returned the favor. It's just that I actually read my twitter feed and don't want it cluttered up with stuff that I don't want to see.

  6. I'm like you with the blood drawing thing. I should be used to it by now since I have to go in every few weeks for blood tests. I never look because I'm afraid I might pass out. About 25 years ago I had blood drawn for the first time and I was watching. I got very dizzy and swooned for a moment. Never have looked since.

    I followed you on Twitter and sent you a message. If you figure it all out then clue me in. I tweet my blog posts and retweet some stuff from other people. Sometimes I get results but mostly I think the tweets just vanish into Twitterspace. Tweeting seems pretty arbitrary. But I can also get a bit obsessed with it sometimes. Look forward to your post about what you learned from Twitter. I'm still waiting to do mine.

    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out

  7. I'm a twitter refusenik, so I can't give you any pointers. When I was little and my mom came home and told me she gave blood, I burst into tears. Now I watch tons of reality shows about hospitals and "Dr.G" the coroner. Nothing bugs me now. :)

  8. I don't think I follow that many celebrities on Twitter. I found them disappointing, forced, and obnoxious.

    I'm following WAY more people than I was. I arbitrarily held it at 100-ish for a long time but then decided to use it more as a news service, so I will find someone/thing I like, and follow a bunch of likely-seeming people on there, and then weed out the ones whose tweets I find annoying.

    I try to keep my tweets from solely being the automatic, book-pushing ones I set up a while back , and I try to make them entertaining. I have to be in the mood for Twitter, although I like it better than email for keeping up with people.

    As for blood, I'm okay with it being drawn, unsurprisingly. I don't tend to look as they jab me, although I can. I don't mind watching it. You get used to everything.

  9. Some people just get nervous at certain things. My blood pressure is always higher than normal when I'm at the doctor, and it's just because I'm there. Yet I have no trouble getting blood drawn. Go figure.

    If you want to meet more writers, you can always go to one of the Lit Chats. There's a bunch of them, for pretty much every genre.

  10. I'm going with the, "You've never had blood drawn before?" bit. Wow. I have little holes in my left arm from all the times I've had blood taken.
    But then again, I'm sickly.
    It doesn't bother me at all when they do it, either...I watch them every time. What was really interesting was a couple of years ago, when I had to have a couple of transfusions - pints of blood coming INTO me through that little needle, LOL...

    Twitter is still a mystery to me. I just found out what spammers are and that you aren't supposed to follow them back. Now I have about 900 people I have to unfollow...

  11. Alex: It's not needles in general, though, which is what puzzles me. If it's putting stuff, I'm okay with it.

    M.J.: Captain Tightpants? I think I'm missing that reference at the moment.

    Jo: I don't plan to, thanks.

    ABftS: But I stopped following that guy, and I don't want to start again.

    Rusty: I've already had a few of those.

    Lee: I don't think I have enough followers at this point to be able to figure anything out.

    Lexa: I'm going to assume I know what you mean and say that I was, too. I don't even remember, now, why it was I changed my mind.

    Briane: I am trying to only follow people that are interesting, I'm interested in, and are at least somewhat active.

    Jeanne: Mine used to go up when I had to go have my blood pressure taken, which is so counter-productive. I think that quit happening the time I had to go in a few years ago when I was so sick I just didn't care.

    Do I need to meet -more- writers?

    RG: I also used to be able to say I had never broken anything. Then I crashed my bike...

  12. The Red Cross comes to my school every quarter, and I always give blood, and I always hate it so much. I never get used to it.

  13. I'm a slight hypochondriac, and being the daughter of doctor didn't help. I can totally step into the "treatment" mode and actually don't panic when injuries happen...unless it's to me. I freak out about having my own blood drawn, probably because the first and ONLY time I donated blood I barely made the weight limit, and whew! Not a fun experience... BUT, on the brighter side, who doesn't love space cowboys? And you associate with such people?

  14. MP: I can't even look in a room where people are giving blood. I'd have to be unconscious to be able to do that.

    Crystal: I'm kind of the opposite of a hypochondriac. I think I get it from my family. Like, maybe six years ago?, they found out my uncle had cancer, fairly advanced cancer; he wasn't supposed to make it more than eight months. He was all like, no, I'm fine, I'm going home. He's still alive.

  15. Fillion plays Magic!? His coolness did indeed exponentially expand.

  16. David: He was learning to play, at any rate. I haven't seen any updates since day 2, but I could have just missed anything else.

  17. I used to be able to get my blood drawn with no sweat. I'm 0+, so when I was still in America, I went and donated blood as often as I could.

    Unfortunately, after one trip that left me a little light headed (I think maybe I hadn't eaten enough calories beforehand), I haven't been able to watch my blood getting drawn since. I think it was because it's a very terrifying feeling just before you faint. You're aware of your surroundings, but you can't respond. Your brain freaks out because it's thinking of every worst possible scenario to getting shut off, and that makes the whole deal even worse. And on and on.

    Suffice to say, I now have the same fear as you. The last time I went to get blood drawn, the nurse working with me had to catch me when I fainted. He made me lie down, and when I came to, he said "That's no problem. Trust me, it could be worse. I used to be an EMT. I saw a guy whose head had been decapitated in a motorcycle accident."

    My immediate thought was: Haven't that taught you about proper bedside manners?


  18. alex: It's weird how those things happen and that even rational thought applied to that stuff won't affect your emotional response. Silly brains.

    And, um, ew. I can't believe he told you that as a way of calming you down.