I’m Afraid of White Coats

I went to donate blood today and I left feeling defeated. My pulse was too high so they turned me away. This would have been  my fifth time donating and I’ve never been turned away before.

Blood dropIf you’ve never given blood, here’s how my experience went today. I signed in and started reading the papers that they gave me while drinking my 2 cups of water. Then they gave me a number and soon after a woman came and took me to one of the cubicles they have set up to take my blood pressure, pulse, etc. This was where I met my downfall. She asked me a bunch of questions and then proceeded to take my pulse. Right away I knew I was going to be lucky to pass the pulse test because I could feel my heart going at a million beats per second. She said it was really high and that she was going to try it again in case she counted wrong. She hadn’t. She then took my blood pressure, also high. Normally my blood pressure is a normal 120/70. Today it was 150/100. I told her that I have had this problem before. Whenever I think about somebody taking my pulse or blood pressure, I start freaking out. She said that she actually has this problem too. It’s part of a condition called White Coat Syndrome. Whenever somebody is being tested by a medical professional, they’re blood pressure is consistently higher because of a fear. While it’s nice to know that I’m not the only one this happens to, it’s also extremely frustrating. I am in no way scared of the blood donation process. I also know there is nothing wrong with my pulse or blood pressure. It’s just that every time I get tested I can feel my heart start to beat faster and my breathing gets shorter and quicker.

Blood donation types

This graphic shows which blood types each one can donate to. AB can only donate to AB.

Donating blood is one of those things that I do because I know it’s needed. My blood type is O- which is loved because that means I can donate to anybody. I’m not as fortunate though because I can only receive from other O donors. As I was leaving one of the women working there told me to make sure to try again because they really need my blood type. As if I didn’t feel guilty enough.

This winter has been especially hard on the Red Cross because of the blood drives that have been cancelled due to bad weather. Blood donations have not been able to be collected and have risen to 23,000 uncollected. If anybody has been considering donating blood, just do it. It’s definitely not for everybody but you’ll never know if it’s for you until you try. It’s easy to set up an appointment. Just go to redcrossblood.org. Each donation can save up to 3 lives. Next time I try to donate, that’s what I’ll be focusing on. I don’t want to sound like a public service message, but this stuff is really important. And who knows, maybe the next time I go to donate blood, the person that takes my pulse will be wearing a blue coat. Crazier things have happened.


About sambates

UNK student, Mormon, Vegetarian View all posts by sambates

4 responses to “I’m Afraid of White Coats

  • blumemr

    I hate getting my blood pressure taken. The instant they start pumping it tighter around my arm I automatically hold my breath, always. I don’t know if it’s a fear or just a reaction, but the nurse always gives me the look and says “Um, you can breath.”

  • jeffbabl

    I’ve always been too nervous too donate my blood. I really shouldn’t be so nervous because I’ve had blood taken for test before. Your post reminded me about people who donate their organs for transplats. I used to think, no way I’m never giving my organs away because their mine. I am beginning to warm up to the idea because people need organs very badly and well as blood transplants. It would be kinda neat to know after I pass away my heart is still pumping and lungs breathing. I’m always doing something the day a blood drive is here so I never do, but hope to try it at least once….which in turn saves three lives, one of which could be yours.

    This Public Service announcement brout to you by Sam Bates and this station.

  • dodgees

    Don’t worry Sam, I was denied too. I tried to donate what I thought was similarly need 0+ blood, but I couldn’t because I’ve been out of the country in the last 12 months. I used to donate regularly before I traveled overseas a few years ago. Since then I haven’t ever qualified to donate, and I don’t know if I ever will again.

  • Ralph Hanson

    When I was younger I earned my gallon pin that I would wear proudly. Since I’ve gotten older, I’ve had some health issues that keep me from donating, but I still feel guilty passing on blood drives, even when I know they won’t take from me anymore.

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