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.