Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Bloody Week

Fear is something very strange. The silliest things can cause a strong giant to cower. Phobia can make the most rational person do the most unthinkable acts.

The root of fear is the unknown.

And one of my all time fears is being poked with a needle. It is a very minor procedure but for some reason I really really dread it. It's been so bad that until now, I still do not know my blood type.
For some time, I have wanted to go for a health screening just to be sure that everything was alright. But the main factor holding me back was my fear of needles (trypanophobia).

Funny how things work out. In just one week, I have undergone two health screenings! The first was deliberate - a friend shared a voucher for an analysis 55 blood and urine test parameters. Awkward experience it was having my blood taken by a dominating nurse (who did not advise properly and left my arm with a huge blue black for a week). I have yet to collect the results.

The second was a simple one conducted by our colleagues from the healthcare division. A last minute decision to take up the free health screening offered at our office building, although we did not fast the complete 2 hours before the pinprick test. Results: BMI ideal, waist circumference within the limit, blood pressure ok, sugar level good, no diabetes (retina scanning). The nurse noticed that I had a 'blue and black' on my arm (like a drug addict, aiks!) and enquired about it. After explaining, she advised that in future I should apply pressure for some time where the puncture was. I guess this would prevent bleeding under the skin and breakdown of hemoglobin (causing the 'blue and black').

Something interesting I remember learning (or well, more like connecting the dots while in class) was the explanation of why our bruises turn from red to blue to greenish/yellowish and finally brown before recovering. You see, when a bruise occurs, the tiny little blood vessels under the skin ruptures releasing our red blood cells to flood the surrounding tissues [colour : red-blue]. After some time, breakdown of hemoglobin (one of the major proteins in our red blood cells, which functions as the oxygen carrier) occurs, releasing biliverdin [colour : green]. Biliverdin in turn is oxidised to bilirubin [colour : yellow] and later to hemosiderin [colour : brown]. After the degradation process is completed, the bruising colour disappears and by then the damaged tissue has already been repaired.

So yes, it was a week of conquering fears. Twice I saw my blood outside of my body!

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