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April 8, 2013

GIving Blood

So, today was the first time I have ever donated blood.  I've never given blood before because honestly it scares me half to death.  Every time I've thought about it before my stomach would knot up and I would start to feel sick.  But the past several opportunities I've felt more and more convicted to donate blood.  After all, if it can help someone who really needs it, what is a little pain and discomfort on my part?  But each time the thought of the needle froze me in my tracks and caused me to run in the other direction.  But not today.  We had the Spring Blood Drive at the seminary.  Marie is unable to donate because she is pregnant, so I forgot that it was even today.  As I walked across the campus this morning though I saw the truck and I felt the immediate pang of conviction mixed and seasoned with a desire to give.

I resolved myself on the way to class that I was going to finally do it, and I was going to surprise Marie at work with my donation shirt. (She has been trying to get me to donate blood for years)  So classes were over and the moment of truth had arrived.  I walked over to the cafeteria, sat down at an open station and began filling out my first questionnaire.  My heart was confused as it was unsure whether it should beat rapidly or not.  I finished the form and sat down in line.  There was a little voice inside me saying, "It's not too late!  Bail now!  Go, go, GO!"  But my determination became stronger and I planted myself in that seat until I was at the front and I heard the assistant call out, "Next."  I walked over to him and he started looking over my form.  My heart was still unsure what it should be doing.  He took my blood pressure which I thought was going to blow off my arm.  Finally, it was time for them to puncture my finger.  This was it!  THUD!  Ouch, that hurt, but at least it was fast.  He gathered my blood and put it in the liquid.  It sank, I was good to go.

He pulled out a clean pouch with five tubes and handed them over to me.  I took them gently still unsure if I was able to go through with it.  I walked over to where the ladies were stationed, ready like vampires to take my blood.  One was just finishing up with someone, so soon as I laid down she was on me to find my vain, clean the spot, and stick me.  I told her it was my first time and that I was nervous and a little scared.  She reassured me that I have big veins so it would be pretty quick and painless.  She readied herself and I looked away.  A sharp inhale.  "That didn't hurt, did it?"  "I sure felt it." I responded, but really wanting to say, "Yes" though I know it could have been much worse than it was.  I HATE the feeling of needles in me.  I was relieved after about 30 seconds I couldn't feel the needle so much in my arm.

I don't know what it is about me, blood doesn't bother me, and seeing someone else give blood or get shots doesn't bother me, but just that thought of the needle piercing my skin and whatever else just freaks me out.  After the needle was in and I couldn't feel it anymore I was pretty relaxed, in fact I was a little too relaxed.  The nurses thought I was going to pass out or puke a couple of times because I gave them enough cause for concern and I started doing things like staring at my blood flowing out on my body or laying my head back with my eyes closed and giving a big sigh.  The sigh was from relief though after a not terrifying and painful experience and I felt relaxed and the staring was just because I was curious.  I filled up the bag pretty fast and it was over before I knew it.  I had given blood!  I was proud of myself; I felt like I had just conquered a giant.  Thank you, Lord, for the strength and the courage to get through the experience.  And now I know that it's not as bad as I've been imagining it all these years.  Now, I'm not saying I am going to give blood every time I am able, but I definitely will be giving occasionally now.  :)

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