The first time I tried to donate blood, I was 18 and a senior in high school. The blood drive was on campus and it took over our Spanish classroom. I got a silly I tried sticker. My iron wasn’t high enough and I didn’t make the weight cut off. I may have weighed about 95 pounds at the time.
I have a fear of needles. I didn’t try to donate again until I was much older. My dad was in the hospital and things were not looking good. I knew he was going through a lot and I felt like if he could tolerate the pain, I could too.
My fantastic employer has regularly scheduled blood drives so I went to one. I made it further this time. At least I was in the chair. They put the tourniquet on my arm and before they can even stick me, I started to panic and hyperventilate and passed out. I remember waking up with ice on my neck, the chair tilted upwards with my feet in the air.
My coworker, a regular donor, told me “I wish I would have known. I would have gone with you. If they know you’re nervous, they’ll help you. If you’re scared about pain, ask for Pinky. Pinky has never hurt me.”
I’m a lone wolf. I’m introverted. So I did go back but I went by myself. I asked for Pinky the next time. She was very kind. She got me all set up. I got even further.
With needle in my arm, maybe 10 minutes in, the panic sets in … I’m clammy and shaking, oh my god oh my god oh my god. They stop the donation; they tell me very kindly that even though they didn’t get the full pint, they can use what they did get for testing even though it can’t be donated. They made me feel it was not a complete waste.
Pinky also explained to me they don’t use a typical needle. The needle is covered by a flexible little tiny tube thingy. I may be saying that wrong but I think that’s what it is. The needle to stick but then the tube is a shock absorber. Or they said that to me because of my compulsive fear of needles, either way it worked for the next time.
Finally, I’m at work … it’s a regular blood drive day. I had no plans to participate because I’m a big fat chicken. I’m afraid since I’ve tried before and I failed.
I was in the cafeteria getting a drink at the end of the day. My dear friend KG happened to be in the cafeteria too. She was rushing down to donate blood. It was already 4:30. She says “I hope they’re still there. They’re supposed to be there until five. I got so busy at work, I just now got away. You want to donate with me?”
And the rest is history. We sat side-by-side in chairs as we talked and half way watched Benjamin Button. I didn’t panic. I didn’t pass out. The donation was rather uneventful. I scored my first free t-shirt and snack. 😀
And one more time at work … The mothership location … affectionately known as HOB1. I gave again. All by myself this time because again I am an introverted lone wolf. I don’t remember the movie that time. I had music on instead. I scored my second free t-shirt and snack. 😀
A few years go by. Then last week we got an email, and there were flyers in the building, and it came up in my Facebook feed, about a desperate need and upcoming event. We had a goal to have nine people from the Riverwalk office donate. And I signed up. Peer pressure from my coworker but also it had been a while and I felt my gift was due. I made sure to eat a hearty breakfast. I stayed hydrated. I brought my blanket and my music. All prepared for the big give. Which is really oh so small and easy.
As I waited, I checked my phone and I see a meeting alert. Crap! I realize that I didn’t check my calendar when I signed up to give. First I called double R and said I wouldn’t be there. Then I sent an email to AR and said meet without me. Then I panicked and dialed in to the meeting on my freaking phone.
By this time I was sitting there tube in my arm looking across Convent Street at the Bank of America parking garage. I’m turning over the little stress ball or whatever the hell it is because I don’t like the squeezing every five seconds. My OCD really shows. I’d rather just turn the ball around and around.
Talk about your workplace flexibility! 😉I’m participating in the meeting … I’m not distracted … It was a good 30 minutes. We accomplished what we needed to accomplish. And before you know it, she tells me you’re done ✅. I got my Nutter butter cookies and my t-shirt and I’m back upstairs.
For the rest of the day, I am feeling grateful and blessed beyond measure. I realize I need to do this more often. Just because. It certainly has nothing to do with snacks and a t-shirt. I think I mentioned before I’m a carrot and stick kind of gal. So yeah why? I protest too much. I do it for the snacks and the T-shirt. 😂