Friday, August 15, 2008

West Nile Virus story

OK, I am so bummed. They wouldn't take my blood this morning. My hemoglobin count is too low. It usually is, but after they spin it, it's usually OK enough for me to give. But not this time.
This is especially hard for me because it has been 3 years since I last gave blood. This morning was a big deal. I was so excited to finally start giving blood again.

Three years ago this Labor Day, I gave blood. It was a mobile unit at our local Mall. I vividly remember walking down the steps of the mobile unit and feeling kinda weird. In fact, I woke up that morning feeling kinda weird. But hey, it's 110 degrees, I just gave blood. What did I expect. So three days later the Blood people call to tell me that I have the West Nile virus. By then I was very sick. In fact, I started crying so hard that I couldn't talk, so I climbed out of bed and ran to hand the phone to Randy. I was convinced I was going to die. Cuz, you always hear of those few that die from West Nile... and being the drama girl that I am... then I too, was going to die.
Well, I didn't die. I was just very sick for a week and then too weak to get out of bed for another week. In the mean time, I am getting calls from several agencies that are asking me a million questions. They put me in a study where they take blood from me every month for a year. Best part, they pay me $30.00 each time I go in. The first couple months I go in every week. So that adds up to some well deserved compensation for this here drama girl.

So how did I get West Nile? I'm glad you asked. Interesting story.

Exactly two weeks before I got sick with West Nile, we are visiting friends, sitting in their back yard and something weird happens. Something that has not happened to me in many, many years... I was getting bit by mosquitoes! People, I don't get bit by mosquitoes! We don't have mosquitoes in Phoenix! We don't have bugs in Phoenix! In fact, I commented to our friends that the whole time I was in Wisconsin the month before, I had not gotten bit even once! Everyone else did... but not me!
Well, come to find out, next door to our friend's home was a slimy, green, infested swimming pool that was a breeding ground for West Nile.
Two weeks to the day, I start getting sick. I give blood. It's West Nile. I live.
Learn more about the West Nile virus HERE.

So why am I telling you this?
Maybe someone out there will give blood on my behalf this week. Maybe this little blog will cause someone to give blood for the first time... or remind someone they haven't given in awhile.
I'm telling you, it's the best feeling! Knowing that your blood may be saving a life. Or helping a life.
Do it for yourself. Or do it for me. Or do it for someone you love.
The United Blood Services website is HERE.
Make your appointment today. You will be glad you did.
And a big thanks from me.
Now excuse me while I gorge myself on red meat, beans and raisins.


Tricia said...

I am so sorry that you got West Nile. Here in Alabama, mosquito spray is standard porch sitting accessorie. They still find their ways under my sleeves. I am going to fly into Tuscon next Wed. I am going to a friend's wedding in Tombstone. Check out my post about our trip.

Cindy said...

We have lots of mosquitos here in Maine, more than usual thanks to our very wet weather in the last few weeks. I never think of West Nile, but the Red Cross won't take my blood because I lived in Italy for a couple of years therefore I might be a carrier for Mad Cow, despite the fact I don't eat red meat.
If the Red Cross would take my blood I would give it to them.

Skerrib said...

I have issues with giving blood. I have a tendency to start passing out. Definitely throws a wrench into things. =)

Chris said...

Hello and thanks for stopping by! I found myself with my jaw dropped while I read this post! I'm so glad you're alright. I must admit I cracked up when you said you started crying hysterically. I would have done the same thing!

kristen said...

I didn't know I knew anyone that had ever gotten the west nile virus. Wow! As you know we have bugs here and man do I get bit and so do the girls. So we live with bug spray! I am not sure it works though. I really should give blood you have inspired me :)

Gina said...

Oh my goodness! I can't believe it! Seems so rare! I'm glad your better now, I had the same impression about west nile as you did before you had it. Thanks for educating us on it. And you have a very giving heart, wanting to pass along the gift of blood to others. Hugs.

Judy said...

I know West Nile is a real thing...but you are the first person that I have heard of who actually had it. So glad you survived to tell of it!

I can so identify with being turned away at the blood donor clinic! I donated for years...and then had my blood declined several times...and was told I should visit the doctor regarding my low hemoglobin. I am now supplementing my iron...that's easier than eating tons of red meat! And I'm also encouraging others to donate on my behalf.

Natasha said...

Oh wow- you know that I live next to your lovely homestate and hte fear of west nile buzzes me daily. I am so glad that you recovered and you can tell the story. This summer has been so dry that the skeeters are less of a threat. So sorry that you can't give blood, do you still have symptoms or problems because of it?