Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I saved three lives today, no big deal

This is where you expect me to come back and say, "Giving blood wasn't bad at all! It was easy!" And honestly, I thought I would be reporting the same thing too. But unfortunately for me, that is not what I'm about to say.

The entire experience was awful. First, you have to get a finger prick that was surprisingly painful. At first I though, oh that wasn't that bad, and then it slowly started to hurt and as Elf would say, "My finger had a heartbeat." Then I had to answer all kinds of ridiculous questions basically all asking the same thing in a different way: no I do not have HIV or AIDS and haven't had sexual conduct with anyone that has. Once I made it through the finger prick (confirming that my iron was high enough) and the crazy questions, it was time for me to give blood.

I was hoping that the nice man who did the finger prick and the paper work would be the same one drawing the blood but that wasn't the case. I got the very unhappy woman with poor social skills who was obviously learning how to draw blood with my arm and my veins. I'm not trying to be mean, honestly. We all have different skills and unfortunately, working with needles and communicating with people aren't her areas of strength.

Once she (painfully) got the needle in, she said my vein had moved and she had to do it again. Then she realized my blood wasn't coming out fast enough so basically she had to keep reinserting the needle and move it around the entire time I was giving blood, which took me at least four times as long as everyone else.

About halfway through the process (which was about 20 minutes after the first needle insertion) she decided she wanted to throw in the towel and just call it a day since I wasn't showing any promise of filling the pint sized bag with blood. I asked her what would happen if we quit and she said they would throw out the blood they've already collected. Are you kidding me? I was not about to let that happen! There was no way I was letting it be a waste of time and PAIN so we kept going. After no less than 45 minutes of painful needle torture, I was able to fill the pint sized bag with my blood and will hopefully save some lives.

On a positive note, I got to talk to one of my young actresses from the play I co-directed while I was giving blood; she was a trooper to stay with me the whole time. They also had TV's in the gym playing Elf. I didn't expect to be in there long enough to watch over half the movie, but I couldn't have asked for anything better on the TV. In six weeks, I should get a postcard telling me that my blood donation was accepted (it BETTER be accepted) and I will also find out what type of blood I have. Might be a good thing to know. I can't think of when I would need to tell someone, but just in case, it will be good to know.

And, I'm happy to report that after 45 minutes of a one-sided conversation, I think I finally got the Red Cross worker to smile and be polite. After all she put me through, I thanked her for taking the time to keep messing with the needle so that I was able to donate a full pint of blood. She wanted to throw in the towel and move on, but she didn't and I was thankful. Then she thanked me for being patient with her on her first time drawing blood (she didn't necessarily come out and say the second part directly, but we both knew).

All that being said, today will probably be the first and last time I ever give blood.

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