I donated blood yesterday. I’m terrified of needles and an enormous baby when it comes to getting stuck by sharp objects, but every so often I suck it up and try to do a good thing. I think it would be easier to ignore the requests for blood donations if I didn’t have the 2nd most useful blood type. Damn my really important blood cells!!
Anyway, I let my job know I’d be taking an extended lunch break to save lives (I know, I know… all in a day’s work, right?). I headed down to the hospital that employs me for my 2nd job and took my place on the chairs. I already feeling a little dizzy as I start reading the booklet that’s telling me it’s not too late to back out. I can still walk out and no one will think any less of me (yeah, sure they won’t. I’m sure the Red Cross is full of Judgy McJudgertons. I would totally judge people if I was working there). I try to take some deep calming breaths without making it obvious that I am freaking out before they call me back for the pre-screen, which will inevitably make me feel like I’m not living life to the fullest (No, I haven’t gotten any tattoos or piercings in the past year. No, I’ve not traveled out of the country for a total of 5 months in the past 3 years. No, I’ve not had sex with any “at risk” people in the past year… STOP JUDGING ME!!)
I passed the pre-screen! Yahoo! And I’m not anemic, unlike that loser in the booth next to me that I was totally eavesdropping on. Sucka! Guess you won’t be saving any lives today! (insert Nelson’s “HAHA” from the Simpsons here)
I’m doing ok. I’m ok. I’m gonna be just fine. I’m just gonna look over this way while Fran spends about ten minutes washing my arm with iodine. Then comes the most commonly told healthcare lie in the history of the world: “You’re just going to feel a little pinch and some stinging for just a second here”. I don’t know that these people have ever been pinched with human fingers (the most common form of pinching, yes?), but it does NOT feel like a sharp, pointy object being forced into your skin.
HOLY MOTHER OF GOD WHAT ARE YOU DOING!??! Why won’t it stop “pinching”?!? “I’m so sorry, hon,” she tells me, “Your vein rolled. I’m going to try one more time”… as she continues poking at my arm with her finger and a needle.
Now, the word roll generally has pleasant connotations for me:
Roll Out the Barrel
Roly Poly, even
What is NOT pleasant is when your veins “roll” and require what feels like a mining excavation to finally puncture and drain them.
At this point, I am covering my mouth with my free hand, while tears stream down my face. (I would like to take this moment to note that there is scientific proof that redheaded people are more sensitive to pain like this than non-redheaded people are and this is not totally the result of me just being a giant wuss). Also, I’m in a chair facing the people who are all waiting to get their blood drawn. I don’t think I’m quite selling the experience for them…
As I’m finally wrapping up, after Fran has adjusted the needle so my blood drains (excuse me, is drawn) faster, Carol comes over the finish the process off. She asks how I’m feeling, and I off-handedly reply that I am a little light-headed. MAN! Those Red Cross people don’t eff around when you say that. The words weren’t even all the way out of my mouth before two people came running over, one laid the chair back and the other lifted my feet up. Two seconds later, there’s a cold towel on my head. I always forget that it’s not as common as I think to feel like you’re passing out (it’s a long story, I’ll tell you sometime. Maybe). And now I’m stuck here, feet in the air, for the next 30 minutes, feeling like a fool while other people get their blood drawn and then hop up to immediately enjoy their free juice and cookies. At least I did better than the chick behind me who apparently is unable to fill the bag up… weird.
At the very end, Carol is trying to unhook things, which is made difficult by the fact that I am laying down now, and my arm is no longer up on the little arm-holder thingie. So, to give her some room and to avoid get blood spurted on my clothes….. (excuse me, I almost passed out again for a minute there), I shifted a little to the other side. At which point. Carol (who is not exactly petite herself) tells me my “big hips” are in her way. Excuse me? Listen, I’m pretty damn proportional, sweetheart. Maybe your damn chairs are too small, did you ever think about that?!? Naturally, I do not say any of these things, because the woman is still in the process of getting the needle out of my arm.
[tangent: this one time, I was in the emergency room being pumped full of fluids when some student doctor type comes in and asks how I’m feeling. I say I’m feeling pretty good, that is, as good as can be expected with a needle stuck in my arm. Totally straight-faced and serious, he tells me, “it’s not actually a needle, it’s a very small plastic tube”. Oh thanks doctor. It feels ever so much better now that I know it’s a plastic tube. I do believe I’d like to amend my answer to your question now. Jackass.]
I finally got my free cookies and juice, have a lovely bruise on my arm, and can probably put this off for at least another year before the guilt gets me again. That is, if my big ol’ hips can fit on the chair.