After 31 years, I finally got over my heebie-jeebies and made an appointment to give blood. I remember going with mom as a young child. It would almost always be evening time, and there would be other kids hanging around and we'd run in and out and around the building while our parents were donating. Then we'd all have cookies. I remember my sister not feeling well, suddenly, one night, and all the blood ladies ran over and cooed and put her on a bed and gave her juice. Such a magical place!
Hubby's 12 year old cousin had an in-service day from school, so she came over to play with the boys. But I sent them to daycare and took her with me instead. The nurse at the front desk said that my daughter could come with me into the room. Oops!
The second nurse had to do a finger prick, to make sure I had enough iron in my blood to donate. As she was squeezing my finger to make it bleed up into the dropper, I suddenly started spraying blood all over the place. It was just like when my milk would let down while nursing the boys and I'd fire-hose any nearby objects. Weird enough when it's milk, but blood? And onto someones desk, shirt and paperwork? So not cool. To her credit, she didn't freak out. Or ask me to take my mutant blood home. On top of this little incident, the drop of blood she tested for weight didn't sink in the liquid - which possibly meant not enough iron. So she had to - carefully - squeeze more out to put in a different machine. While she cleaned up and reprinted some papers, the machine spat out a good result - 13 point something for an iron level, which was strong enough for them to stick me up for more.
She gave me a sticker to wear that proclaimed my virgin status and told me to put it somewhere extra visible so the other nurses could monitor me. Then, around the corner I was sent to fill out more paperwork in a privacy booth, then another nurse came to collect me and took me to a new little room to answer personal questions, review my paperwork and to check my blood pressure and temperature. And it was time for the show! My cousin nervously agreed to come into the actual collection room, but she read her book the whole time and didn't look around much. I don't blame her.
My nurse cleaned my arm and put in the needle. Another nurse - a newbie, who was on her second day of training, came over to shunt off some blood for testing purposes. Then I was left alone until the collection bag filled. Took 7 minutes for 610g of blood. They had me rest for 5 minutes, then we went back out front where the volunteers had hot soup, cookies, coffee and juice waiting for us. Delish!
I made another appointment for 65 days from now. I'm giving the gift of life, lookit me! It wasn't so bad after all - why it took me so long, I really couldn't tell you. The worst part of the whole thing (other than the initial Carrie-esque hosing of the nurse) was thinking about the blood come out of me as they left me on the bed. I kept imagining it running out of me and missing the collection bag and pooling on the floor. Eeeew. Deep breathing - try it, it works wonders!
We'll see how it goes in July.