On how donating blood totally didn’t kill me. Not even a little.

(Or it’s my plasma, I can swoon if I want to.)
(Or, there HAS to be an easier way to get free cran-apple juice.)
(Or, I guess I DO got time to bleed.)

This year, I resolved to donate blood for the first time. I’ve wanted to for a very long time, for the following reasons:

1)  I am super healthy. And that’s awesome.
2)  Other people are not healthy, and need all of the blood!
3)  I’m a grownup.
4)  Personal Growth ‘n Stuff.
5)  I am an emergency MEDICAL dispatcher who gets ooged out by blood? That’s just wrong.

But let me give you a brief history of my general aversion to my blood, your blood, most other things having to do with biology, and this one time I almost fainted in an embalming room.

1)  This one time in nursing school, I almost fainted during a lecture in an embalming room. WHY DO WE PICKLE EACH OTHER WHEN WE DIE?? Just … yuck.
2)  This other time in nursing school, I almost fainted watching a simple blood draw in the ER. (I did not finish nursing school, in case this needs to be said.)
3)  I almost fainted when my doctor tried to tell me about Norplant. No no NO, I do not want some little plastic thingy sitting under my skin for two years. And oh please please please stop talking about it.
4)  Let’s also add almost fainting any time I’ve ever had a blood draw my entire life, any time my daughter has had a blood-draw, or any time too much ketchup is spilled in one spot.
5)  And oh yeah — wounds. I’m not a big wound person either. Ditto: impailments.

When matters of blood, the body, and foreign objects being placed into the body are being discussed, depicted, re-enacted, or interpretively-danced, I get woozy. It starts with an uncomfortable heat on the top of my head and under my arms. My stomach gets tight. My head gets fuzzy. Blue Oyster Cult starts singing about a reaper, and I’m pretty sure if whatever is going on doesn’t stop I’m going to …

Faint? Die? Look to my abdomen in horror while a small alien rips its way out? Not sure what my damage is, actually. But I do know it’s just in my head.

So, I wanted to donate blood to prove, in some small way, that I can overcome, overpower, over-logic, the silly, unfounded fears that keep me from donating my perfectly healthy, happy blood, or anything else I want to do for that matter.

My 21-year-old daughter, Mariah, has donated MANY times, and volunteered to come with me on my Mission of Person Growth n Stuff. And when the appointed day came, I promptly tried to get out of it.

“Nobody called me back to schedule an appointment,” I told her.

“I’m sure we can just walk in,” she countered.

“Like a hair cut? What kind of fly-by-night outfit is that??”

“I’ve always just gone right in.”

“Tell me more about the cookies.”

“There will be LOTS of cookies.”

“SHIT.”

Just walking through the doors, I feel the heat rising to the top of my head. And what’s with all these questions about blood n stuff?  By the time the tech administers the blood sugar test, my ears are ringing, I’m sweating, and I’m thinking I should have just resolved to give up cookies.

I can’t even stand a pin prick to my finger. What the hell was I thinking??

But, NO. I want to do this so badly. Plus, my daughter, who sometimes looks up to me, is just five feet away. Also, Personal Growth! I use some yoga breathing techniques I’ve learned. I think about a movie I saw the night before, I try to go to my happy place, hell, ANY happy place. Breathe breathe breathe.

By the time I’m halfway through my Benicio del Toro delivering pizza (and I have no money) fantasy, I realize with glee: My freak-out/hot flash has passed.

I’d love to tell you the rest of the visit was nothin’ but net.

Not exactly. During the actual donating of the blood, there was quite a bit more queasiness, sweating, lots of hand-holding, cranberry juice, Lorna Doones, and yoga breathing. However, there was no running, screaming, punching, fainting or quitting! Score!

“You saved three lives today!” one of the techs beamed as he expertly tended to my arm.

I’m going to Disneyland!

The whole thing took maybe ten or fifteen minutes. My arm got very tingly, but it certainly didn’t hurt beyond the placing of the needle. And everyone involved was incredibly slick and professional.

Presently, I felt a hand stroking my head reassuringly. Benicio? Even better. I looked up and realized it was my sweet, grown-up, college girl telling me I was doing a great job.

At that point, even if an alien had actually begun ripping its way out of my abdomen, the whole experience would still have been totally worth it.

But let me just be clear that did NOT happen. The alien part, I mean.

Anyway: peace and love … and try donating blood!

Cookies.

Comments

  1. Balfs says:

    Plus they’ll send you a card in the mail in a few weeks and you’ll find out your blood type.

  2. Lori says:

    I have donated blood for years, over 6 gallons. I went one day and was asked to donate platelets. Sure, I said. That is a MUCH longer process, anywhere from 90 minutes to 2 hrs. They take your blood and spin the platelets out and return the blood to you. The platelets help cancer patients, so I am game to do it whenever I can, I can donate every 2 weeks. Congrats on becoming a blood donor!!

    • Caroline says:

      You are a trooper, Lori. Donating platelets sounds REALLY hard. But I’ll definitely donate blood again. For the children! (and the cookies).

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