Wrapped Up In Books

My version of skydiving.
August 13, 2008, 11:25 pm
Filed under: A, For Your Health! | Tags: ,

I am not a risk taker in the physical sense. I have a fear of heights, fear of flying, fear of falling off my bike (perhaps if only for the pain of roadrash or falling beneath a moving truck), etc. However, today I made a small step toward changing that.

Today, I had a voluntary bone marrow aspiration.

Your reaction to this will depend on your preexisting knowledge of this procedure. Bone marrow is that stem cell rich stuff that fills your bigger bones. Stem cells, if you weren’t already aware, are able to develop into basically anything your body requires, and scientists have their spidey senses honed into their capabilities for cancer research, among scores of other things.

To get to this marrow, a doctor has to shove a big needle straight into your hip bones. You lie face-down on an examination table with your pants (or in my case, a skirt) pulled halfway down your bum. The doc freezes the skin, then freezes your bone. In the USA, this entire procedure would have been done under general anesthesia. I was never aware of what my bones really felt like (or rather, what I could feel with my bones), but I’ll have you know it’s a very bizarre feeling to have something tapping right against it. And then piercing right through. And then sucking stuff out. With one large and in charge needle.

The last part was the only uncomfortable step of it all. At some point there was a seriously pinchy feeling, but apparently that’s caused by the excitement of nerve endings inside of your bones (I wasn’t even aware of their existence!), and there’s nothing that can be done to quiet those sensations. The feeling passed in fewer than 3 seconds, though.

I was left to recover for a few minutes after everything was over. My mind, previously reeling at the concept of a bone marrow donation, was almost let down at how painless the whole thing was. I guess what I was more in awe of was that I followed through with something of which I was completely unsure and realized that it wasn’t so bad after all. Here’s to embracing the seemingly scary things in life and ponying up to doing things other people wouldn’t dream of – scientia est potentia.

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1 Comment so far
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wow. I’ve collected bone marrow aspirates, and the first time I did I immediately thought “I hope this is never ever EVER something I need done!” … the size of the needle, the amount of force required – I have a hard time buying that that’s not painful!
(was there any soreness when the numbing agents wore off??)

Comment by maggie

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