Today I gave blood. I hate everything about giving blood, from the needles, to the blood, to the claustrophobic van, but today I chose to give blood. I conquered my fears and signed myself up.
Blood draw is not a new concept to me. I have suffered from anemia and a few other disorders in which regular blood testing was normal. Every single time I went in, I got woozy, and anxious and hated every minute.
This time, I told myself it would be different, I could be a trooper and I would succeed. In order to keep my sanity, I entrusted my roommate to hold my hand and distract me from what I would learn would be a half inch tube in my arm. Little did I know, she couldn’t be with me, she would have to wait at the end of the bus.
The steps to the bus seemed steeper, the walk up seemed longer, and I wanted nothing more than to be in bed between classes, but here I was, saving lives. Going into it, I feared my iron levels would be too low, that I wouldn’t be adequate and that I’d be denied. Thankfully, I passed with flying colors and they were able to proceed in draining me of sustenance.
The fine gentleman who took care of me, had a huge sense of humor and wanted nothing more than to share it with me, his anxious patient. He had me lay down and handed me a pumpkin to squeeze.
“You really need something more seasonally appropriate, maybe a squishy heart,” I told him jokingly.
Little did I know, he was prepared.
“Oh, you are just insatiable,” he said as he opened a drawer and handed me just that; a small red squishy heart.
Up to this point I had talked myself down from all my fears, but once the needle came out they were right back in the pit of my stomach.
“In just a second you’re going to feel a slight pinch,” he told me as he readied his tools.
I tensed up my body, waited and then flinched a foot away when my elbow was “pinched.”
“Pinch?” I questioned. “That was a stab not a pinch!”
“I would hope that didn’t feel good. You don’t recreationally put a half inch tube in your arm do you?” He asked. “If you do, remember to use a half inch tube. It does the job best.”
With that comment his co-worker smirked and let me know he was merely kidding.
The process of filling my bag was slow and the Wi-Fi didn’t connect in the van. I had read prior, that they allow you to listen to music or go on Facebook to distract yourself. How was I supposed to do that without Wi-Fi?
As I stared at the ceiling I began to feel the tube slipping on my arm. I nervously notified my nurse and when I looked up again, in his hand was a stapler.
“Well I don’t think your skin is suitable for staples but we need that tube to stay there so here goes nothing!” he said as he opened the stapler.
My heart raced despite the obvious humor in his voice.
“No. I’m just messing with you kid, relax,” he said. I sighed with relief.
After about fifteen minutes, I was unhooked and they asked me how I felt. My insides were spinning, sweat dripped off my forehead and I felt like death. Is this what soldiers felt like when losing blood?
Immediately I had cold cloths being put on me and someone attending my every need. It took twenty minutes before I was able to feel even close to normal.
Finally the nurses allowed me to stand and sit in the waiting area to fine dine on cookies and orange juice.
Looking back, this sounds like a silly story. All I did was give blood and whine about it. I like to look at it as a sacrifice and as a community event to help those around us. I believe that God gave me those little tidbits of humor from my nurse to remind me why I was there and that with Him, my fears were conquerable.