Sure, I’ve had worse days… but this was the worst day I’ve had in quite a while. Read on to hear all about it.
James, my cubemate and database-partner-in-crime, was off work today for Man Trip ’06™, so today it was all me. I was scheduled to answer the Loan Corrections Team Line today, so I knew my productivity would be a little down, but all I had to do was add tracking for one extra statistic, make sure another was working properly, add a search to one form, and hopefully start work on some reports. I was also scheduled to give blood at 1:30pm. Should have been a relatively cake day to kick off my one-week-plus vacation.
First off, there was supposed to be three of us on phones. One person was absent from her desk for at least half an hour, apparently socializing with a cubicle of Loan Corrections folks while answering their questions about whatever it was they were doing. That made for a mighty busy morning.
Getting phone calls every ten or fifteen minutes threw a giant monkeywrench in my coding, as I kept having stupid errors and problems pop up, and then getting interrupted just as I thought I might be figuring it out, then having to remember after I hung up what I had been doing before and what my brilliant fix had been.
Went to lunch at 12:15 not having gotten much accomplished at all. Most everything was half-done, but nothing was functional yet. Well, I’ll take that back. Mainly the “bells and whistles” weren’t functional; the actual normal workings were already OK, for the most part. Ate my salad, took my walk, then went with a coworker to go give blood.
There were only two workers at our mini-blood-drive, where there are usually three. Jess and I sat and waited for some time — we probably started our paperwork around 1:45, so we sat there for at least 15 minutes. No biggie there. We understand being understaffed. Got our paperwork done, answered all the insipid questions (“Have you had sexual contact with a male in the past six months who has had sexual contact with other males?”), got our iron checked, and got strapped into the donation beds.
Interesting side note: despite all my stupid morning stress, my blood pressure was only 110 over 82. She commented that all of us seemed to have low blood pressure, and that she must be in the wrong line of work. 🙂
I had a nice conversation with the lady who ended up sticking me, asking her if she ever got tired of being friendly. Because, damn, she was super friendly. It was really cool, considering that I *knew* she was having one of those days. She had to be. They were swamped, and neither she nor her coworker had ever done a two-person mini before. Anyway, she said that when donors are mean to her, she specifically has someone else stick them, because they sometimes complain later if something went wrong. “The lady that stuck me was pissed and deliberately mean and rough” — that sort of thing.
Well, I’m pretty sure she wasn’t pissed at me, so I don’t know what went wrong.
The needle stabbed something fierce going in. —No, let me start at the beginning. I was concerned when she 1.) massaged my arm several times to get a good vein to show itself, and 2.) marked my arm with a felt-tip pen to help her stick me in the right spot. (Incidentally, she missed. I peeked at my elbow just now, and the stick-mark is easily half a centimeter off.) Now, I’m not scared of needles, but I do make a point of not watching anyone stick me with a needle, just so I don’t tense up and make it hurt worse.
OMG, could it have hurt worse? I suppose it could. Still, though, that was infinitely more painful than last time.
I let her know something was wrong after she stuck me. I said, “ouch.” I could have been a trooper and just sucked it up, but I figured she’d appreciate the feedback. She apologized, but kept right on going. Once the needle was all the way in, she saw my scowl and asked if I was doing OK. I told her I was “mighty uncomfortable.” She withdrew the needle just a touch, then asked if that helped at all. It might have, or I might have just gotten used to the sensation of being able to feel the needle in my arm. At any rate, it definitely felt weirder than last time. More uncomfortable. Physically.
At the end, I apparently turned my wrist and slowed the blood flow, so it took a little longer than usual for my bag to fill. I’m guessing I inadvertently twisted my arm to make the insertion site less painful. As she was drawing the final vials of blood from me, the needle kept moving just a little. That hurt almost as bad — no, I’ll say just as bad — as getting stuck in the first place.
At the “canteen” (aka the table with water and sugary goodies), several of us compared notes. The blood donation veterans (my co-worker and the organizer, among others) agreed that this was possibly their worst blood donation experience. I feel kind of bad, talking trash about the phlebotomatic skillz of the super friendly Red Cross worker… but this is going to be one hella nasty bruise. It still feels like I have a needle in my arm. I should take a picture of my arm and post it here (under a cut, don’t worry, Sheryl), along with my WTF commentary.
Oh, and let me mention that I’ve never before had a bruise form at the site of the finger prick. This is a new experience.
My shit-tastic day wasn’t even over yet. After 90 minutes at the blood drive, I still had to go back to work.
Actually, the rest of my workday went relatively well. I eventually had to just cut myself off and admit that I wasn’t going to get everything done. I wrote James a couple detailed e-mails about what I got done and what he still needed to do. Hopefully he won’t be too overwhelmed when he gets back from Man Trip ’06™. I changed my voicemail message, turned on my Outlook Out-Of-Office message, cleaned and straightened my desk, and was on my way home.
Not too many assholes on the drive home, which was nice. The kids who practice football across the street from our house were all in the road in their shoulder pads and shit, but that’s becoming a normal thing.
Final touch to the day? To preface: I’ve been in the process of turning over my very first website to another webmaster. Now, technically speaking, it’s not the same site as it was in 1996, but it’s for the same organization. After ten years, I just don’t have the interest or the oomph to continue to maintain it.
The fantastic final touch was the end of a recent e-mail volley about the website. Previously, someone had pointed out that the website hadn’t been updated in a year. Totally true. I spoke up and admitted fault for that — “My bad,” I had actually said, then explained that I was in the process of turning the reins over to the new webmaster. The response sent to the list today?
“Please hurry and pass the reins.”
Thanks for all the work you’ve done over the past fucking decade. Now don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.
I know, I know, I haven’t been updating, and there are people out there who are anxious to have a functional alumni database and more pictures and full corps rosters and all sorts of goodies that I just gave up on trying to get people to help me collect. It still hurts, though. I’d have felt better if someone had said that they understood first, before telling me to get a move on.
In response, I posted a reply to the mailing list, confirming that I had finally passed the reins to the new webmaster, and thanking everyone for making the mailing list a cool place to be. I also mentioned that I hoped the new webmaster would make the site something that everyone could be proud of. I mentioned in passing some prior failed attempts at reunions and fundraising and such, but tried to just gloss them over in favor of an arrivederci sort of post. Kind of backhanded, but kind of genuinely thankful to the people who helped me over the years.
I did get one e-mail thanking me for the site and the mailing list immediately after I posted my message to the list. That was welcome, but did little to ease the sting of the rest of the day.
At least I’m on vacation now. I still just want to crawl in a hole and cry, but at least I know I don’t have to go back to work on Monday.
Update, midnight: Since Sheryl said a photo of my arm wouldn’t bug her, here it is, in all its glory:
Oh, and it’s really hard to see the marker point, but it’s there. Hence the arrow as visual aid. I’m totally having them use my right arm next time.