That Time I Tried To Donate Blood

Friday, January 23, 2015

Alright. Things are getting a little personal on the blog, but I don't mind so much. When I'm 80 & looking back through these posts, I like to think I'll appreciate having written about the good AND the bad.
Yesterday, I happened upon a Red Cross blood drive at my school's gym. I wasn't planning on donating, but as I sat and chatted with my friend, I kept looking over at the registration table. On a whim, I got up and walked over to the sign up. There was a short wait - why not?

image via Social Awareness
Sitting in that plastic chair with a sticker on my shirt, however, I couldn't help but start to worry.

The last time I donated blood was my senior year of high school. I had donated a couple times before, and I (although it may seem strange) really enjoy having blood drawn. I love watching the blood snake its way through the tube and know that it's going to someone who needs it more than I do. But then, about a year and a half after donating for the last time, I was the person on the other side. I spent one sleepless night in a hospital, having blood pumped into my body every hour on the hour. I left a couple of days later, arms full of bruises and a dislike of needles. I got over it for check-ups, where they would take a tube of blood for testing, but I'd never had a significant amount taken.

So you can imagine my anxiety when I plopped onto the chair and the nurse, who was bopping around to some music, casually stuck a needle into my arm. All of the memories of that headache-filled night flooded back and I started to panic. The nurse saw my dismay and I told her I felt a little dizzy. Suddenly, a cold washcloth was on my forehead, the bed was reclined and every eye in the room was on me.

My vein ended up collapsing and I was unable to donate, but I like to think I walked out of there one step closer to overcoming my fear. Perhaps someday I will donate blood again, maybe even regularly. And next time, I'll drink enough water beforehand.

Have you ever donated blood? What are your thoughts on overcoming fears?
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