Sunday, November 7, 2010
I really hate giving blood. It is such a stressful experience because the sight of blood makes me faint. I panic knowing that blood is going to be drawn from inside me, and that people have to poke needles inside me to test my blood and draw 1 pint and 3 vials of it out of me. *shudders*
Anyways, Wednesday was the second time I have ever donated blood. The medical professionals and volunteers are generally pretty nice, and there are free shirts and snacks for people who donate. It's just the horror stories (nurse poking needle into arm 10 times before finding the vein) and my fear of blood that scare me poopless. To minimize discomfort, I chugged as much water as I could before going in and that's when the journey began.
First they verify your information and send you off to do a mini questionaire about your health. Then a nurse reviews that information, and pricks your finger to get a blood sample in order to test if you are in good shape to donate blood. All they do is test to see if you have enough iron in your blood. They drop the sample into this solution, and the blood is supposed to sink all the way down if you're A-ok to donate. Mine sank towards the bottom, and just floated around about 0.5cm away from the bottom. To double check my qualification, the nurse took another sample of blood to put in a centrifuge, which spins the sample around for 3 minutes in order to separate the plasma in the blood and percentage of red blood cells within the blood, aka hematicrites. The minimum to donate blood is 38. My number ended up being 50, which really confused the nurse, so she consulted another nurse and decided the best way to proceed was to take another sample and put it through the centrifuge again. She knew I was very uncomfortable with the finger pricking and squeezing my finger to get the blood flowing out, so she let me decide whether I wanted to do it or not, and if I did she would fetch me another shirt. I REALLY didn't want to do it, but I knew it was for a good cause so I agreed. By that time, the prick on my first finger had already clogged, so she had to prick another finger to get a sample. The way they prick your finger hurts like hell. The pain sent a sort of shock in my hand and went all the way down to my wrist, where it stayed for a long time. In any case, the 3rd testing resulted in a 38, which really worried me because that was the MINIMUM, something I don't like to settle for. I really didn't want to feel dizzy during my next class. Upon approval, I waited in line for an open donation station. The nurse there....was not so pleasant. She did everything correctly but she didn't give a rat's ass that I didn't like the sight of blood. The needle that went into my arm was connected to a pouch through a tube, which she left on my arm. I could feel the warm blood flowing out of my arm and into the pouch. It was really hard to grasp mentally. And dang was I glad when it was over. I could feel the needle inside me for the longest time, and it was a relief when it came out and she bandaged me up. My arm felt numb for the rest of the day, and I shuffled over to the refreshment station to rest and get some fluids and snacks in my body. Donating blood apparently kills 600+ calories, but I'm sure I gained them all back when I munched on the goodies.
I kept the bandage on for maybe 6 hours, and was a bit sad when my nail polish got peeled off. As for the finger pricks, they still feel a bruising and sharp pain when there is too much pressure applied to them (even though it's Sunday, 4 days later). Still, I'm really proud that I was able to go through the process without bursting in tears. Speaking of which, I never did mention why I donated did I? Even though I really had to force myself to go through with it, I know it was worth it. I figured that it is very possible for myself or a loved one to need a blood transfusion one day, and so I would work up some good karma towards that. Even if it's not necessary, knowing that my clean, disease-free blood would save a life. It's a great thought to ponder over while eating doughnuts at the refreshment station. BloodSource comes to my school once a quarter, and if I'm not suffering complications, I'll be sure to do it again when I have the chance.
Tell me: would you consider giving blood? If you have done it before, what was your experience like?