Thursday, November 18, 2010

red crosses look a lot like plus signs

I gave blood this week at our school drive. I like that I am able to give blood... but I hate the act of giving, especially at school. I always worry that things will go wrong while I'm out saving the world, but I can't have the vampires that close without giving it my best shot. Let me sum up...

I've always been a tricky donor. My first attempt at giving was successful... sort of. I was a senior in high school, and I just made the required 110 weight (I know, those were the days, huh?). I gave, sat up, and got escorted to the cantine. My sister and her best friend were working, and BFF looked at me and said "Do you feel alright?" I don't remember the bell ringing, or me being carried back to a table. Or my sister fainting after seeing me faint before her eyes. Good times.... but hey, I waited until they had a full pint before passing out, so mission accomplished, right?

I haven't passed out since then, but I have had a couple of unsuccessful attempts. Between low iron (I learned to ask them to spin it instead of using the drop...nowadays it's all computerized somehow, but hey, I pass every time!) and being a slow bleeder, I was batting .500 for awhile. I did finally have one tech tell me to force water all day, and that little trick has got me in under the 20 minute wire ever since.

When I was taking an online Children's Lit class 10 years ago, I brought one of my required novels along with me... and that was true inspiration! Kiddie Lit tends to be light enough you can hold it with one hand while you give, and the print is a bit larger, so you can read it while laying on the table and pumping the rolling pin thingy. I could dominate an entire book in a session. Win-win.

All these little tricks make it more likely that I'll complete the task (except for the one time in the bloodmobile that I was so claustrophobic that they couldn't get me to bleed at all), but I still hate the process. The waiting, the questions (I have not had relations with anyone I shouldn't have, thank you very much!)... and the 20 minutes on the table. I don't mind the stick as much as the queasy feeling I get while giving. Just typing this is making me feel queasy.

So why do I keep going, you ask? Because I can. Because 90 minutes of my discomfort could save someone's life. And because of that, I will try every time.


Wendy said...

Eric and I were once regular donors, but then, we went to Germany, while in service to our country, where they weren't as concerned about Mad Cow disease, and because there's a possibility that we ate tainted beef, we can't give blood. Maybe that will change soon. If it does, I'll be right there with you - the slightly anemic, slow bleeder with a good book (I remember reading Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury while "on the table" :).

Kiya said...

I'm jealous of blood donors. Believe it or not, I have never given blood, not even once. Because of my stupid heart murmur. I have an 80% regurg rate and they're afraid that if I lose that much blood in a short amount of time, my heart will get upset. My response is "My heart is already upset!" :(