I almost did it today. I almost gave blood for the first time in my entire life. I am slightly impressed with myself for even walking in the room. The sight and smell of blood is enough to send my eyes rolling towards the back of my head. But I walked down there, down to the Giving Room alongside Ryan to potentially offer up a pint of my blood.
I knew that I really didn’t have to because by the end of my work day yesterday I had used my influencing and negotiating skills to convince enough people to sign up. Man, you should’ve seen me in action getting names on the list and delegating others to recruit donors. All I can say is that if someday I have to lead the free world and bring together parties, I will have some mad skills in the persuasion department – provided needles and blood are my motivating factors. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you are trying to avoid a certain outcome, such as lying prone on a stretchy chair for 5-7 minutes trying not to think about what you are really doing.
The afternoon did not go without a few comical moments all because of my ever appearing “lightheadedness” that occurs when I get in the same room as a needle. Like I said, I walked down with Ryan even though I knew we had reached our blood quota. ‘What if I can give blood? What if I can do it and not completely pass out repeatedly?’ I kept questioning myself. ‘Surely I have to at least TRY.’
My stomach started flip flopping before we even reached the door. Ryan was chuckling and mock threatened, “You know, I’m not going to give blood unless you give blood, Ang. So you better do it because everyone needs my blood.”
“You can’t make me, you Type O egomaniacal jerk.”
The second I walked in the room and saw two people lying in the chairs already doing their blood giving duty, I knew I was going to be in a pickle. Nothing about their expressions or what they were doing was negative by any means. In fact, they looked perfectly content! Dang them! But just seeing how still they were and the fact that I would need to lie there, squeezing a little ball, uuuuggghh. My knees started to get weak.
“Hi guys!” The perky phlebotomist says, snapping on a new latex glove and walking over to us. “Are you ready to donate? (I shook my head no, Ryan laughed) Great! Well, just sign in and read one of the red books and we’ll get you started.”
“Should I sign your name in?” Ryan asks with feigned innocence, pen in hand.
“Um, noooo…not yet.”
“She’s a little nervous,” he informs the room.
“A little? That’s like saying Paris is kind of in France!” I hissed at him.
“You don’t need to be worried,” says another Red Cross worker, “we have excellent phlebotomists and it really isn’t bad at all. We’re the best there is to draw your blood!”
You know, I hear the words coming out of your mouth, Needle Boy, but I ain’t buying it. You could be the most brilliant person on earth with a needle and that isn’t going to make me jump at the chance to shove my arm out for you to poke and prod. (Truthfully, everyone I talked to who donated did say that the two girls drawing blood were excellent)
“Yeeeaaaah, see, I’m just not a big fan of needles – or blood – so I’m just trying to relax my mind and let go of my own issues. I’m sure you are wonderful, really, but you still have a needle in your hand and blood still comes out of my body. If you can somehow withdraw through some freaky osmosis method, I’m totally on board. But for right now, let me just sit here and read the book…and I’ll let you know…if…I plan to…”
They smiled, nodded, and went onto their merry blood-sucking rituals while I opened up the red book and started to read.
Thank you for being willing to donate! Blood saves…
Things you you may experience after donating blood: lightheaded feeling, upset stomach, bruising, rapid fainting spells…
What you will be asked to do: have a needle stuck in your arm for several minutes while not moving…
That was it. I was done. I could hardly read anymore. The room started to spin, my knees were rubber and yet aching at the same time, and the familiar whooshing sound you get when you are about to faint began to penetrate my ears. I leaned forward and started to rub my kneecaps repeatedly, repeating internally, “Just calm down, it’s not a big deal. Just relax, just calm down.”
“Are you feeling okay?” The unoccupied girl phlebotomist comes over and puts her hand on my shoulder. “You are looking really pale.”
“I, uh, I…I think I need to lie down for just a few minutes.” I just about toppled out of the chair onto the ground which was so very lovely and embarrassing. For heavens sake, I didn’t even donate blood and I was already fainting!
The Red Cross folks were very kind and one girl sat next to me on the floor, brought me juice, and told me that I did a good job (yeah, of lying on the ground). I just tried to see it as a little baby step – baby step into the room, next time will be baby step of signing my name, then baby step of getting my finger pricked, then baby step of sitting in the chair, until finally baby step of getting to actually donate blood. Yes. That’s what I’m aiming for. Baby steps to blood!
I did get juice and cookies. So it wasn’t a total loss. 🙂