My Left Arm: The Story Of Crusty Scabs

27 Feb

You may recall I took a flying visit to the pavement some weeks ago.  My left arm bore the brunt of the impact but it’s on the mend.  The scabs have almost gone and would have been gone long ago if I’d stopped leaning on the Hub’s face with my elbow.

Although it still hurts to stretch too high or too quickly – – – sorry, short break for hysterical laughter while I corpse at the thought of me exercising  – – – it is fully functioning.  That’s why I thought I’d be okay to give blood from it on Monday [the Hub interjected with something about getting blood from a stone-hearted…butenoughfromthegallery].

I don’t have a favourite arm (does anyone?).  I have great veins, according to many nurses, and they can siphon it from either side, so I didn’t think twice when I sat in a left-handed chair (this post is beginning to seem weird even to me); and maybe it wouldn’t have made a difference but my left arm was not happy with the way the Blood New Donation Executive – BloNDE for short though, in actual fact, she was a BruNeETTE: Brutal New Executive Trying To Extract.

I’m not sure she was new, if I’m honest, but it’s the only explanation I can think of for the way in which she hacked at my left arm with the needle, came back several times to wiggle it about, and smiled nicely at me in the most terrifying way.

The blood eventually seeped out, reluctant though it was.  I don’t understand it because I’ve donated blood at least nineteen times and never had a problem. This time, the area around my elbow was tight and ached and my left hand went extremely cold.  I was told to report it if it still hurt after my orange juice and Club biscuit (two Club biscuits…I was feeling quite sorry for myself) which it was, so I did.

Boy, was I sorry.  Yes, I was.  They sent me to the nurse.  It was like being back at school, except I didn’t come away with a cloth brick and two safety pins at the end of it.

Forty minutes to go through my story, check for bruising, explain possible forthcoming symptoms, explain what to do in the case of possible forthcoming symptoms, explain what is on the other leaflet instead of the bruising leaflet which was all she had to hand but most of the possible forthcoming symptoms were the same on the one leaflet as the other and the advice anyway was to immediately phone this number and ask for advice about those possible forthcoming symptoms if I showed any of those possible forthcoming symptoms.

I didn’t have any forthcoming symptoms and I told the nurse as much when she phoned next day to check on me.  They really want you to go back and give more blood, you know.  Something about ‘saving lives’ and ‘helping research’. I’m not sure what exactly; I couldn’t hear her over the lump on my left arm.

The lump had almost disappeared by Wednesday evening and the ache had long gone, so I didn’t consider missing last night’s First Aid class.  My church applied for funding to provide this sort of education to the community and I thought it would be useful to attend, especially as it was free (I may be a Christian but I’m not made of money): if I ever deck a ReDHEAD (Really Doesn’t Have to Ever Ask DoesthiswhoppinggreatneedlethatI’mstabbingyouwithhurt?), it would be good to be able to revive her again.

The trainer was very funny and had us all singing Nellie the Elephant: half of the chorus sung twice amounts to thirty chest compressions.  First Aid has changed a lot since I took a course twenty-five years ago.  No more three breaths good/five compressions better; now it’s all assume-if-it’s-a-stranger-they-have-Hepatitis-and-don’t-give-mouth-to-mouth-unless-he’s-particularly-good-looking (though I might just have added that list bit to my notes without hearing it from the instructor first).

CPR was harder to do than I expected, especially the breathing; but I aced Burns – no butter!  No bandages!  No hot water! (how my mother once treated my sunburn).  Dealing with choking was easy enough to do on small dummies; however, I was the class dummy when it came to adults – bottom of a class of seventeen people.

The trainer put on a harness thing which had a large pad to protect her back when we whacked her – five times, having first bent her over our arms – and a simulated choking throat on her front (sponge in a bottle).  The idea was to stand behind her, make a fist and thrust up around the area of the diaphragm, five times; then go back to five whacks and so on.  Some people managed to expel the sponge fairly quickly, especially the men, who were stronger; but plenty of the women did it too.

I had a little trouble.  I have no strength at all and, although the spirit is willing, the flesh is as weak as one of my puns.  I grasped her from behind and looked for all the world like an enthusiastic Goldilocks desperately humping poor Papa Bear, and having as much success.

Jo is an excellent trainer and wanted to ensure that everyone went away knowing they could do this, so I kept at it until she’d have been long dead in real life – but I got that sucker out in the end!  Thank you, Jo.

Which brings me back to my left arm – nobody tells you that saving people’s lives is difficult.  Okay, perhaps they shouldn’t have to tell you that, it’s kind of obvious when you think about it, or doctors wouldn’t train for so many years so they could be sued for their BMWs;  but I hadn’t expected it to be so physical, and I could barely use my left arm last night.  Instead of using my left hand, I had to rest my right hand on my hypochondriacal damp brow.

I’m not sure I’ll bother using the skills I’ve learned (it’s not like I paid for them); it seems like so much hard work.  It might be okay for someone who I quite like, such as my children; but what if it’s an MP, or a telesales person, or the Hub? My arm really hurts as a result of all that being noble and brave guff.  I’d give my left arm for it not to be aching right now.

39 Responses to “My Left Arm: The Story Of Crusty Scabs”

  1. slpmartin February 27, 2014 at 17:23 #

    Well…I feel like I had a deprived childhood having never heard the Nellie the Elephant song until now…ah but count you my dear friend to fill the void. 🙂


    • The Laughing Housewife February 27, 2014 at 17:29 #

      Never heard of Nellie…! I’m shocked I tell you, shocked. Talk about the elephant in the room.


  2. benzeknees February 27, 2014 at 17:39 #

    I regret to say I never heard of Nellie the Elephant song either. The last time I took CPR I was shocked at the physicality of the whole thing now. You used to get a bit of a break when it was 5 pumps/2 breaths – enough so you could keep going for a while. Now with so many chest compressions & only 1 breath, I was so winded & dizzy I would have had to give up quite quickly! Well, at least I know how to call for help! 🙂 Sorry you are suffering from all your heroic efforts to save lives – take 2 Maltesers & call me in the morning!


  3. viveka February 27, 2014 at 17:55 #

    I have missed you … fall out … you had some adventures lately – that your really could been without. Never heard about Nellie neither, but quite sweet. First aid and CPR every one should really learn .. it save live – as working for Stena Line is was a must for all aboard crew and one for every land based department. It’s a tough going, but hopefully there is somebody else there that are able to do too. Good on you, Linda.


    • The Laughing Housewife February 27, 2014 at 17:59 #

      It should be taught in schools and free courses offered when changes are made, throughout our lives.


      • viveka February 27, 2014 at 18:04 #

        I think there is free courses …. often hold in the towns libraries – at least over here. The ambulance and fire bridge do them. But in schools they should taught.
        Were I grow up .. there was a big care home for severe epilepsy and we was taught from 3rd class what to do if we saw somebody having a fit.


  4. Musings February 27, 2014 at 18:25 #

    Good grief! That’s terrible… Your arm, I mean. I’ve not heard of that happening before. I know Art has had bad bruising but nothing like what you experienced. That is quite spooky. I was planning to donate some after our trip. I need to screw up the nerve though.


    • The Laughing Housewife February 27, 2014 at 18:33 #

      Please don’t let me put you off! It is a great cause and that was one bad experience out of many with no problems at all.

      And remember – I am a leeeeeeeeetle prone to exaggeration…


  5. Indira February 27, 2014 at 20:16 #

    What horrible experiences you go through dear and come out laughing at yourself , great spirit i must say.


  6. laurieanichols February 27, 2014 at 21:00 #

    My goodness, you had me laughing the whole entire time,lol. Oh boy, my baby girl has the worst time with giving blood, what happened to you happens to her every time, you poor thing 😦 So far I haven’t had any troubles giving blood, I hope that I never meet a nurse like the one you had. You are very courageous going in for the CPR lesson even though you were handicapped with your dominant arm. You definitely need a proper rest.


    • The Laughing Housewife February 27, 2014 at 21:05 #

      Poor baby girl! She’s the brave one 🙂


      • laurieanichols February 27, 2014 at 21:06 #

        she is, she may complain a bit, but she takes it like a trooper in the end.


        • The Laughing Housewife February 27, 2014 at 21:10 #

          That’s a very painful way to give blood. No wonder it hurts 😉


          • laurieanichols February 27, 2014 at 21:15 #

            The issue with the baby girl is that her veins are invisible to the eye and so the nurses poke and scrounge around with the needle hoping to find something. My arms look like road maps with veins that plump and ready and willing. I feel badly that you had your arm tortured, it really is painful and very unpleasant.


  7. Grannymar February 27, 2014 at 21:41 #

    I know Nelly the Heffalump and that it was a perfect tune for CPR. Sorry to hear about the trouble with your arm. Do you still have scabs on it? If so and they are dry put some Atrixo hand cream (the GREEN tub) on them and they will fall off (the scabs and not the arm) by morning. Seriously it works like a miracle leaving no scars.


  8. Al February 27, 2014 at 22:24 #

    Quite the story……the fall and then the convalescence and further tribulations at the blood center. I’d say it was all worth it for the sake of a good blog, but I’m certainly not one to give left-handed compliments.


  9. sharechair February 27, 2014 at 22:59 #

    Ow ow and ow


  10. Pseu February 27, 2014 at 23:44 #

    What can I say?


  11. SchmidleysScribbling February 28, 2014 at 02:49 #

    I am confused. Hope you feel better soon! Dianne


  12. Terry February 28, 2014 at 03:05 #

    I think you have been through enough for right now. Enough pain, poking and seeing blood. Time for some new fun!! LOL


  13. Rorybore February 28, 2014 at 03:28 #

    You must have had the same nurse I had when I was in labour and they were trying to “start a line” in case I needed a C Section. I think her first mistake was saying “I never miss.” She did. 12 times. And then she tried the other arm. I think she got to about 7 tries there, when I turned to my husband – mid contraction – and said calmly; “I’m gonna hurt her. badly.” He wisely got her safely out of reach. But 3 days later when I was leaving the hospital, firstborn safely in car seat – I looked like a junkie getting out of rehab. nice.
    Thanks for the elephant song! that was cool.


  14. katharinetrauger February 28, 2014 at 03:37 #

    Tilly, I laughed ’til I cried. Very good medicine! 😀
    Now let me tell you that CPR stuff really works. A young lady in our church manages the church’s day care facility, so has to learn CPR, buy Arkansas standards. So she knows it.
    Then she and her husband were out to dinner with another couple and in the parking lot, unseen to any others, she realized the other man was choking on something.
    Right there in the parking lot, she began the Heimlick maneuver on him. She was SO full of adrenaline, at that point, that she (petite blonde) lifted him (burly guy-type) completely off his feet, more than once, and after he expelled the fatal object, he had to holler at her that he was now, effectively, saved and she could quit, ALREADY!
    The next day, in Sunday School, she was still shaking with adrenaline. Doubt she could even feel her left arm. 😉


  15. jmgoyder February 28, 2014 at 06:02 #

    We are both in the wars at the moment but you are much funnier!!!


  16. McGuffy Ann February 28, 2014 at 09:31 #

    Not only do you entertain, you educate. Thanks! Feel better!


  17. March 3, 2014 at 18:55 #

    Remind me never to choke in your presence! Jock knows how to do it (cpr), which is probably just as well, given my propensity to arrest.


  18. kiwidutch March 7, 2014 at 21:02 #

    I’ve never heard of Nellie the elephant either… I learned to do the compressions for CPR to the Bee Gees Song “Staying Alive”… the beat is apparently a prefect timing match and the song name is almost too wierdly appropriate.

    Listen … pssst I’ll trade you your bruised and tired left arm for one left foot (sadly if I have to be honest it’s not really in functioning order) Crutches included free in the deal though…

    Like you both my arms are deemed equally Ok for blood donations but in practice woe betide me if I ever volunteer the right one for the needle… always ends in disaster and one occasion I stood clinging onto a door that I had been holding open for people who had passed though it several minutes before (the Sister realised I was more than a little bit dizzy by that point and luckily shouted for help before I hit the floor). Still, only a few dramas in over sixty donations… Well done you with your life saving efforts!!


  19. sarsm March 8, 2014 at 18:02 #

    My 15 year old is a trained first aider for her school. She also told me that CPR is pretty exhausting – so you’re not alone. 😉

    I’m glad your arm is better now!!!



  1. Never Forget The Prompts | The Laughing Housewife - March 6, 2014

    […] Nellie the Elephant…some of you may have heard of it.  I’m transported to church at half-past seven in the evening and the recollection that I forgot to tell you that I’d had a spicy dinner that day and had to clench my butt cheeks the whole time I was on my knees practising CPR, in case the evidence seeped out. […]


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