#50 – I have Trypanophobia–a fear of needles. Well, I guess it’s not so much a fear of needles as it is a fear of pain and blood in motion. I’ve had this fear ever since I was a little girl and I’ve never been able to get over it. For whatever reason, blood that is splattered all over but not moving, isn’t so bad. As soon as it starts moving, it makes me sick. In fact, just typing about it right now is making me feel nauseous.
Whenever I’ve given blood in the past, my blood doesn’t want to stop. It just keeps coming and coming. Plus, it hurts. Honestly, I think I would gladly give blood every week if it weren’t so painful and nauseating.
As you may have seen, giving blood was #50 on my list. You may be wondering why this was on my list if I’ve done it before. Well, it’s like rhubarb. I have never liked it and I want to try liking it again. But also, I just felt compelled to add it.
In case you want to add it to your list of 50 Things, here’s the low down: Donating blood is a piece of cake. First, you go to the Red Cross website and register. You can select from a number of donation sites online so choosing one close by is easy (at least in Utah). If you participate in RapidPass, you can even shave off 15 minutes when you donate by filling out everything online. Once you’ve filled everything out, you can print your pass and you’re ready for your appointment.
So yesterday, when I arrived at the donation site, I discovered that my cell phone was at 2%. Ugh! I immediately began to wish I had brought one of my 50 books to read. Unfortunately, I had left them at home so I was out of luck. Grrr…
After taking me to a tiny room to check my vitals, the worker checked my temperature and I failed! I was 99.5°! I couldn’t believe it. After all that effort, I wouldn’t be able to give blood after all.
Fortunately, the worker went through some more procedures like pricking my finger and getting some more personal information before testing my temperature again. Fortunately, I passed the second time around. Phew!
From there, he took to me a room with others giving blood and had me lay down on a reclining chair while he set things up. Within a few minutes, he was ready to go and so was I. As always, I had to turn my head away while he poked me with the needle. Surprisingly, it hardly hurt at all! This was a first. I couldn’t believe it. I had totally misjudged him as a young, inexperienced phlebotomist. He was a PRO.
In less than 5 minutes after sticking my arm with the needle, I was done! 4.38 minutes flat. After my blood was bagged (at least I think that’s what they did with it–I was trying not to look at it), he asked me to apply pressure to the site (which I knew would be futile). So, I proceeded to also raise my arm in the air to get the blood to stop flowing. After a few minutes, he asked me to let go so he could apply a bandaid over the cotton ball, Unfortunately, I forgot to look away and I immediately became nauseous as I saw the blood coming out of the hole. The worker quickly bandaged my arm and I raised it again–but this time, I held it aloft for a full 5 minutes for good measure.
When I was done, the worker directed me to get some treats and hang out until I felt 100%. While I snacked on vanilla wafers, I looked at a nearby bulletin board and proceeded to read about the lives who had been saved because of a blood transfusion. Wow! Even though I hadn’t donated directly to any of these people, I couldn’t help but think they were speaking directly to me–thanking me for helping them live. What a profound moment. I was saving lives. Here is what I learned after donating:
Did you know that there is a blood shortage right now? According to the Red Cross, “Blood centers nationwide have reported declines in blood collections in recent weeks. Some have reported their lowest donor turnout in more than a year. ” So, GIVE BLOOD!
If you get the Red Cross Donor App, you can also see the results of your blood donation, including blood type, how many units donated, and if you still have COVID-19 antibodies. But the best part? You get to track your blood journey–which means you can see when your blood is used to help save someone’s life (but not the actual recipient info.).
You might agree with me that having your blood drawn is right up there with going to the dentist. However, when you go to the dentist, you don’t get anything back in return except a free toothbrush and some toothpaste. When you give blood, you get so much more in return. Here are just a few of the reasons why we should all add donate blood to our lists this year (and learn to like it):
- Giving blood stimulates the production of new red blood cells. This helps your body.
- Donating blood can improve your cardiovascular health.
- Giving blood burns 600 calories.
- You get a free mini physical during your pre-donation screening.
- One donation can save up to 3 lives.
Experts estimate that of the 38 percent of Americans eligible to donate blood only 10 percent do so in a given year. So, you may not even be able to donate. I had no idea. Not only am I one of the few who can donate, I also have a rare blood type so I should be giving blood more often.
The soonest day I can donate blood again is July 14. Guess who already has an appointment?