14. donate blood

Check check, checkity check.

I am checking off my first item on my 30 before 30 list!  It is numero 14.  Donate Blood.

Now, I have always wanted to donate blood (well, not always.  I mean, I wasn’t like a 4 year old dreaming of blood donation, but still the desire to do it has been around a while).  I have also always been pretty skittish when thinking about it.  I knew it was a good thing to do, that it would be easy and that it wouldn’t be as bad as I thought.  Buuut, I also knew that each time I really thought about it I would get shaky, my hands would become uncomfortably moist (uncomfortable for me and anyone around me sharing pens/doorknobs/gloves/etc.) and all of the blood in my arms would shunt into my torso out of sheer terror.

Pretty ridiculous, right?  I thought about it and I have been under general anesthesia five times!  Then, three of those were also multiple night hospital stays.  So I have had IVs before.  I’ve had tons of blood drawn! (Not literally, that would be horrifying if a TON of blood was taken…..and impossible…i think?)  Anyways, my point is, needle sticks aren’t new, but still, I was nervous.

I kept hearing about this large, annual blood drive the local radio stations put on with United Blood Services.  It sounded pretty awesome.  There would be food, prizes, raffles, a photobooth…. Awesome.  And especially awesome if you are a lady on a tight budget like myself.  And of course, apart from all of the recreational reasons, I would be doing something good, something that would help not just one other person, but three.

So I did it.  I was still nervous, so I asked for help.  I put the call out to some friends and had so much support!  As silly as I felt telling people how nervous I was, it was true.  When I was honest about my feelings, friends told me about their experiences, both positive and negative.  Then two others joined me the day of to participate.  One friend has already donated over ten gallons of blood!!! Holy moly!  It was so comforting being with a pro.  My other friend was a newbie like me, but much less nervous.  She stayed by me, distracting me while I pretended that I didn’t have a left arm and didn’t want to look to my left and didn’t think that anything existed on the left side of me anyways so why would I even want to look over there?!?!?!

I may have been a little dramatic….or silly.

Anyways, the happy chat was great and in 9 minutes, my pint bag was a STUFFED with my happy, healing blood and I was free to enjoy some super kickass refreshments.  I’m not talking about just juice and cookies here.  There were sandwiches from local delis, bagels and schmear from Einstein’s and the tastiest mini buttermilk bars ever!  My friends and I snacked and then took a photo in the photobooth to commemorate the occasion.

So I have to say, not only were my friends great, but the pro’s at United Blood Services were awesome.  They were all cheerful and funny.  I ran into three friends who all work there.  They encouraged me some more and we got to joke around.  The guy that inserted my needle and tube was crazy good!  Seriously.  I barely felt the needle prick my skin and in like 12 seconds I was taped and donating away!

I will absolutely donate again.  It was such a positive experience, made better by good friends and skilled phlebotomists.

My actual reaction!!!

I am thrilled to kick off this 30 before 30 experience with this!  It was just something small, but was scary for me and it feels great to take that first step.  So that’s how I’ll do it, just one step at a time.

Courtney

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