Virtuous Vampires

With how much of modern medicine is needle-related, no one in the free world should be afraid of needles, yet we all know people whose paranoia affects their decisions. I’m blessed to not have such a fear, but last night I did a good job of psyching myself out.

Half an hour after my scheduled appointment I was finally called up; by this time I had had plenty of time for reflection, cross examination, and devil’s advocacy. After all, it had been a year since I had last been “stuck.” I recalled several experiences of coming out black and blue (junkie-esque) from bloodwork, the time the nurse had to make a couple of attempts to find my vein, and the time that my veins closed up and the nurse had to continue the procedure with a butterfly syringe.

But I was determined, last night, to follow through. Mild discomfort for me was nothing when compared with the greater good, and I had brought a book to help occupy my mind. (I wasn’t going to back down no matter what — how often do I get twenty minutes to read a non-board book?)

I was raised to believe that donating blood was a socially responsible thing to do, and I decided at a young age that when I could, I would. But when I was finally old enough the blood drive never came to town when I was in town, or I had been sick, or I was on medication … Last year, while still nursing my infant, was my first opportunity and I jumped at the chance.

It was a well-timed blood drive last year: riding on the cuff of infant open heart surgery, a still-born, and a 16-month old with juvenile diabetes, we felt that donating blood to the blood bank was the only way we could reach out to our friends whose lives had been so uprooted last winter. We had been so blessed and we wanted to share the gift of life and hope to others.

I climbed into my reclining chair and got all hooked up and I looked over to see the same man beside me as had been there last year, calmly reading his book. I told him that it was because of him that I had a book, and he told me his favourite blood donation joke: whenever I get depressed I just look at my donor card and it tells me B Positive!

In my experience, the nurses who collect blood for the Red Cross do a much better job than those who collect blood to test for any number of medicinal things. This is great news because I have to go grocery shopping today, and none likes to see a junkie with a baby!

My Dad always said he donated blood for the free cookies. I don’t even think I believed that when I was eight.

6 thoughts on “Virtuous Vampires

  1. I’ve had all those experiences you describe with getting bloodwork done. The nurses doing the jabbing like to tell you you have deep veins, or small veins, or whatever, but it often just depends on their competence, as you say.

    Oh, and good for you for giving blood!

  2. I’ve had many a bad experience with someone taking my blood too. The worst was when I was in the hospital when my son was born. I walked out with bruises all over my arms. At my follow up appointment a week later the nurse in my dr’s office commented on the bruises. She felt so bad for me and was almost mad that someone would do that to me.

    I’ve donated blood many times since I was in high school. There were a few times when they turned me away, I was a little anemic, but I’ve always gone back. I have to say that I’m feeling a little guilty. I haven’t donated blood (willingly) since before I was pregnant with my daughter. I should go soon. Thanks for reminding me.

  3. It has been a while since I have donated any blood. But, good for you! Jacob had to have a couple of transfusions and we are so very grateful for the donors out there. 🙂

  4. I’ve never been one who was accepted to donate blood. But I am on lists everywhere in case my fairly rare blood type is needed–I’m on so many drugs, and usually aneimic, I’ve been told to wait ’til I’m called.

    I have deep veins that roll, and also have to get bloodwork done frequently.

    Helpful hints:
    TELL the nurse that you are hard to do, but to please just “punch” it in so it will go in the first time. SUGGEST that they use an alcholhol rub on the vein if they don’t already do so. SUGGEST the use of a butterfly needle if you usually have problems. DRINK twice as much water the day before–irt helps to enlarge your veins.

    And keep spreading the word. I’ve always wished I coud donate blood, it is such a needed commodity, especially as it can only be banked for so long. Good for you:D

  5. The gym was having a blood drive a few days ago. We’ve given blood several times before. Well, “we” meaning Nathan. I always get turned down for different reasons. I was excited to donate along side Nathan for the first time. So they got Nathan hooked up and then before getting me hooked up found out that I had a transfusion 9 months ago and they said that I can’t give blood for another 3 months!!!! So, once again, I was turned away!! But I still got a cookie out of it 😉

    Maybe next time!!

  6. you are awesome! seriously.

    i am gung ho about blood donation. it’s such a minimal act that can bring so much good.

    i’m an O positive myself, and you know… it real easy to get on the marrow donar registry when you give blood if you think you’d be up for that.

    and don’t forget plasma. burn victims especially need plasma doners. (and, in my opinion, it’s even easier than giving blood because you get your blood back- they only take the plasma. it’s an amazing process.)

    if you’re on platelet binding meds though, you can’t donate plasma. so that’s kind of hit and miss with me. 😦

    YAYAYAYAYAYAY! i’m just so glad you donate. good stuff.

    ok. i sound like a freak. but… i don’t know… it’s such an easy step, and so much good comes from it… it’s hard not to get excited. i’m a dork.

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