Tuesday, September 4, 2007
I have been phobic of needles all my life. I say “phobic” instead of “scared” because the fear has been acute and irrational. My heart races if i see a needle on TV. Tears run when i have to have blood taken. When i was younger (and i'm talking 13 here, not 3) i would become hysterical at the doctor's and had to be physically restrained. It was horrifying for me because i always wanted to cooperate, i always meant to be good, i always told myself that everything would be okay and then i would literally run from the nurses liked a caged animal. I hate to feel like i am not in control of my own actions. For that reason i decided aversion therapy was the only way to go with this stupid needle thing. I no longer turn away or hide my eyes if there is a needle on TV. But there isn't much else you can do without becoming a heroin addict and how could i possibly afford that on my salary? So i decided to give blood. I have always been not-so-secretly ashamed that i couldn't donate blood – i have healthy, plentiful, O Positive blood (most common type in the US and nearly Universal Donor (which is O Negative, BTW)) and good veins. The American Red Cross is always one tragedy away from running out of blood. My stupid fear was the only thing holding me back. So i made New Year's Resolution 5 - “Give blood, you wuss.” I had an appointment Thursday, but my iron was too low (perhaps i should have taken into account what else was going on with my girlie body last week ) so i went back today on a whim, without an appointment. It was really amazingly easy and i wasn't even that scared. I think that i was soooo freaked out last week when i went that i kinda used up all of the fear. True to my doctor's word, i have great veins and fast blood; i filled my bag in just over 5 minutes (it is normally 4-10 minutes). I did have a moment of faintness after the whole thing was done, but the Red Cross folks had my feet up, ice on my head and a Coke to my lips in about 10 seconds (like they've done this before) and i was good to go in 2 minutes. I can honestly say that i will definitely make donating blood a habit; you are allowed to do it every 2 months. If you are interested in finding a blood drive or your local donation center, go here. You too can have a free T-shirt and cookies. The funniest part of the entire experience was the present my phlebotomist, Joe, gave me – i thought he was marking my veins before he started, but actually he was drawing a smiley face where the puncture wound would be the nose.