I did it for the first time on Monday. Gave blood that is. It was the most spontaneous thing I’ve done all semester, which actually sounds pretty pathetic. Truth be told I’ve *hopefully* done at least one other cool, spontaneous thing this semester, but I’m pretty proud of this one.
No one can tell me they weren’t nervous the first time, either. I truly won’t believe them. Having a needle stuck into my arm to get some blood sucked out doesn’t sound very pleasant; it sounds scary! But what is it that’s so scary: Is it the needle? Is it the needle being left to chill on my forearm?
My problem with donating blood is that the life is being sucked out of me. Blood is pretty important…it’s how the body gets nutrients. Now do you see why I don’t like that aspect? When I donated blood, life and nutrients were sucked out of my body so someone else could have them. I’m okay with it though because I saved three people. Thinking about it is what really psyched me out; I thought so far into it that I called the office to tell them I was chickening out! Thankfully the girl who answered the phone was understanding and could relate to what I was feeling and talked me off the cliff.
Let me say this: I was a nervous wreck throughout the whole process. If I didn’t have a snack to occupy myself with during the questions this time I would have sweated profusely. However, my person (shout out to Kevin with United Blood Services!) was gentle and got me through the process quickly. I told him it was my first time to donate blood and he said, “Congratulations, you’re about to be a life saver.” Matter of fact but it was exactly what I needed to hear. It calmed me down remembering I was about to do something really good. Plus the way he said it was like he believed in me and was so happy I was there; those words are what got me through.
Once I sat down in the chair the magic really started to happen.
When I sat down I was shaking in my boots. I froze up when Kevin put the needle in my arm and didn’t do the foot exercises for most of the time—mistake. I could feel every emotion as it ran across my face, which was pretty funny. At the beginning another nurse asked if I was okay because I’m pretty sure there was a super nervous look on my face. Then at the end when Kevin asked how I felt I lied (obviously) and said I was fine but he knew that I was lightheaded because he made me chug a Powerade before putting me back on the ground. I was pale and worried and hysterical by the end; I nervous laughed even after it was done. I was glad it was over because it felt like it took 983475923 years! I mean it was some of the 10 longest minutes in my life. And the whole time it was happening I was SO light headed.
But now I’m a seasoned pro and can totally handle it…LOL. Next time I donate it’s likely I’ll freak out again but that won’t stop me from donating. The overall process was simple and mostly painless, plus I got two free snacks. And saved some lives! I really encourage people to donate blood for two reasons: you can eat beforehand (I’ve even heard of people being asked to go have a snack and come back) and it’s a really easy way to do something good. Eating and feeling good about myself are two of my favorite things to do and this is such an easy way to do both. Plus you’re giving to a good cause. It’s a win-win-win situation.
So tell us: Have you ever donated blood? What was your experience like? If you haven’t, is it something you’d be interested in doing?