Friday, March 11, 2011

i'm a giver, literally

(warning: this is quite the story. and you know how long my stories are...)

So last Wednesday, United Blood Services had a blood donation bus at my work. A week prior, an email was sent out to the entire office asking for those interested in donating to reply. As usual, I did not hesitate for a second and did NOT reply. I hate needles. Every time I have to get a shot (which I try to avoid by any means) or blood work (which is a little harder to avoid) at my doctor's office, I fake cry like a 5 year old and hold my arms crossed while begging the nurse to stop. Once it's over, I always say "that wasn't so bad" and act as if nothing happened. Yeah, I'm pretty sure my 3 year old nephew is better at the doctor's than I am.

On Tuesday, my coworker Jeremy asked if I was donating blood. I said NO and explained my hate for needles. Somehow Jeremy convinced me that it would not be that bad of an experience, it would be a great service to those in need, and even promised to buy me Jamba Juice if I passed out. Not gonna lie, I was really convinced by the Jamba Juice potential. So I warily replied to the dreaded email. There was an open spot in the 10:30 am time slot that Jeremy was signed up for, so it seemed like it would all work out. Seemed is the key word in that sentence.

I had a solid breakfast and drank plenty of water on Wednesday. I was ready to donate blood! Except I was secretly hoping they would turn me away and I wouldn't be able to give blood. My nose had been stuffy for a week, and sick people can't donate. Or maybe my iron level wouldn't be high enough. I could only hope.

Jeremy and I got into the freezing van (the cold makes it more difficult to pass out, and way more uncomfortable), and a nurse took me into a small room for the screening process. She asked me a bunch of questions about my health history, which I passed. Then she tested my iron level (by pricking my finger for a drop of blood, turns out I'm a bleeder), which I passed. Then she took my blood pressure, which was almost perfect... and I passed. Time to donate blood!

I climbed into the chair and began prepping for my blood donation. The nurse looked at my arms and chose the best vein (I have really good veins for giving blood). Then she began scrubbing my arm with alcohol to disinfect the area. That's when the freak out session began... I started crying REAL tears and kept saying "I don't want to do this" and held my arms. The nurse asked if I really wanted to stop, and I told her to not listen to me and continue with the process. My other coworker Christine comforted me and told me it really wasn't that bad and she was the same way her first time.

That needle was HUGE! And it hurt REALLY BAD! After the needle was fully in my arm (the nurse asked if she should stop two-thirds of the way into stabbing me when I started yelling in pain, which I said no to), the nurse tried to take two vials of blood for testing. Yes, tried. She accidentally didn't fill up the second vial properly. Their only option was to draw blood from my other arm. I was not a fan of that idea, but if I didn't say yes then my donation would be thrown away. Thankfully, the nurse agreed to fill the vial after I was done filling the bag, and reassured me that the needle would be smaller.

Then, there was a the major problem. I couldn't fill the bag! After about 7 minutes of agony and constantly moving my legs and hands to keep my blood pumping, my vein clotted and blood stopped flowing to the bag. The nurse tried twisting the needle (which sounds painful, but surprisingly was not) to get the blood flowing into the bag, but that didn't work. So they had to stop. And I started crying AGAIN. But, they gave me a juice and fruit snacks (no Jamba Juice though)!

Do I regret trying to donate blood? No.
Will I ever try to donate blood again? HECK no.
Do I think Jeremy still owes me a Jamba Juice? Absolutely!

By the way, it's been a week and my arm is still bruised and there is still a mark where the needle entered my arm. Not cool.

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