I've always been overly sensitive to the very idea of blood. So having my blood taken by choice always seemed odd to me. Why would I want to volunteer to have a needle in my arm for an extended period of time?
When I found out I needed to know what type blood I have, I began to consider all the options. There are several methods I could have chosen is which they could have taken a small amount of blood and analyzed it. But if I HAD to be stuck like a pin cushion with a needle than why shouldn't someone benefit from it?
Later one of the ladies told me that for someone with my hyper needle paranoia to come in alone for my first time donating was extremely abnormal. Oops, I didn't even think of bringing someone for moral support! Anyway, my Dad raised me to face my fears - assuming that most of them weren't as bad as I'd built them up to be in my head anyway.
I decided around lunch time on Friday I was going to donate. Just this once. I dreaded it for the next 3 hours while I waited for my time at work to be over. Thank goodness I was getting off early or I would have managed to talk myself out of donating by 5:00.
Dixie who took my phone call to schedule my appointment assured me that they would help me through the entire process and it wouldn't be nearly as bad as I thought. She recognized me by my voice when I arrived a few hours later. I think all 3 ladies present could tell I was about to have a meltdown.
They managed to get me into the interrogation room with only slight prodding. Where I dutifully answered to 'no' to the necessary questions like, 'have you ever accepted payment for sex'. Insert awkward laugh here as I told her I teach abstinence education and she could probably skip some of these questions. She didn't find that as funny as I.
I AM my Daddy's daughter because in true Christensen fashion when we're terrified, we laugh. My Dad use to do this every time I'd force him to ride a roller coaster with me at Busch Gardens. Sorry for mocking you Dad, I totally do it too!
They pricked my finger and checked my iron levels and found that I was a 16.5 (only had to be a 12.5 to donate). Secretly I was wishing I wouldn't be allowed too. Then I could pat myself on the back for trying and never ever try again. No such luck.
At this point the lady did encourage me by saying, ' the blood you donate today will save 3 lives'. Shoot. Guilt trip much? Though she intended to be affirming me in my decision, I found myself scolding myself internally for wanting to back out. I could handle 10 minutes of pure panic to save 3 lives, couldn't I?
Panic attack number 2398320 of the day happened when they brought me to the cot I was to lay on during the process. The man next to me looked about 100 years old huddled under a blanket looking purely tortured. I shrieked, 'what'd you do to him?!'. They assured me that he was fine, a regular platelet donor. I assure YOU that he was NOT fine. I about got heroic and tried to free him...
Have you ever had one of those moments where you think if people would turn their heads for 30 seconds you'd bolt? I have. All I could think was 'I can't do this I can't do this'. But those dang ladies were so nice and encouraging, how could I just leave now?
They encouraged me not to look at the needle. No objections here. It hurt when they put the needle in but not unbearably so. Then they gave me a stress ball to squeeze but I could barely squeeze it I had psyched myself out so bad my hands were all tingly with heebie-geebies. They noticed I wasn't really squeezing and then gave me a kid sized stress ball since my hands are so small anyway. I tried to squeeze that some but was a weenie and didn't do the best job they've ever seen. The hand in my blood giving arm was like ice. Still don't know why and they didn't either. Nerves probably.
Ivoney & Dixie were a real riot and they insisted on taking my picture with my blood (featured above). They took 3, including one after they said 'it's just like twilight!'. I wonder if that movie helped blood banks? They put a blood donor had on me and took more pics. Way to document the moment in which I'm trying to recover from one of the single most traumatic experiences of my life! Thanks ladies.
Dad called as I was waiting to regain feeling in my legs so I could go home. I answered and was chatting with him when Ivoney snatched my phone and decided to chat with him herself. She told him how fabulous a daughter he's raised and told him he should donate blood too. Ha ha. 10 bucks says he did not.
I admit to being glad it's over...but I may make myself try again sometime. Here's to saving lives one drama filled afternoon at a time!
Oh yeah, I'm B+ ... : ]