3.08.2013

this could easily be an argument against facing your fears


a green sticker for me because I was a newbie
There was a blood drive at work yesterday, and I never once even thought about participating until yesterday morning. Is that horrible of me? Maybe. I didn't even bat an eyelash when a certain loud talker at work sent out an email saying things like "if you don't give blood, I think you're a terrible person and I will judge you. But don't worry, I'll do it behind your back" and "if you're religious, remember that sloth is a sin, so you're sinning by not giving blood." At that point I was determined to not give blood just to spite her. But in reality, it's because I was anemic in high school and I have major low blood sugar issues, so I figured any blood leaving my body would result in me dead on the floor in .7 seconds. Also, the last time I had a needle injected into me, I was hypereventalting and crying and two people had to hold me down. It's been 6 years, and I make a concerted effort every day to avoid pointy objects ever since. But then my coworkers were all doing it and begging me to at least go down and see if I could make an appointment, and I thought about how my dad was a gung-ho blood donator before he got skin cancer and how I'm kind of a selfish princess swimming in all my healthy universal donor O+ blood while people are dying. And since I had put on my big girl panties yesterday, I decided I would do it. I would face my fears. I WOULD DO THIS THANG. But only after 30 minutes of hashing out my fear of needles to anyone within earshot and calming down my case of the nervous shakes.

I eventually went downstairs for my appointment in the mega huge break room (yes, donating blood where people were eating lunch) and sat down and waited. For an hour. Right next to a case of water bottles we were encouraged to drink. And I drank. And drank. And drank. And had to pee so terribly bad, but this won't take too long, right? I'll be fine. I'll just keep drinking this delicious water to calm my nerves and keep me hydrated. I can ignore my beckoning bladder. I'll just dump out some blood and be back at my desk in no time (LOL).

About an hour later, my full bladder and I were called back. I sat in a little makeshift cube and before they could even ask to take my blood pressure, I blurted out I AM SO TERRIFIED RIGHT NOW. That's right, I pulled the pansy card. If I'm going to do this while I am so violently terrified, I need to be coddled a little. She did her thing, my finger was pricked, and surprise! No more anemia! Yay! I guess my love of spinach has paid off.

The nurse then handed me a huge pile of tubes and bags that could hold the blood of an army. I gulped. I got the nervous sweats. My full bladder bellowed. The nervous shakes came back. But I took a deep breath and walked to my death the cot and handed someone all the tubes so they can pump all the life out of my body. A man walked over to me, put a turnicate around my arm (ouch), and gave me a little squishy ball to squeeze. At that point, terror took over and I screamed OH MY GOD as he marked my vein with a purple marker. He looked at me with a puzzled look on his face and said "what? do you have purple marker phobia or something?" When you're terrified, markers and needles look very similar. Just FYI. At that point I had gained a reputation as the nervous shaky life saving newbie, and I think they took pleasure in building the anxiety and anticipation. Everyone else was allowed to sit upright in their little stretcher cots, but they told me I needed to lay down for "preventative reasons" (does anyone know why? I was too scared to ask). It's like they knew my body was protesting. Eventually they stabbed my arm, and I only sort of squealed and thrashed about (big milestone in my life, people). I remember feeling super shaky and weird those first few minutes, but then I was fine and basking in happiness that I made myself do this. Look at me! Giving blood! Saving lives! Mother Theresa the 2nd!

Ten minutes later I was done. They took the needle out, unplugged me, and ripped off all kinds of tape which made me a little bummed they hadn't taped the tubes to my eyebrows. If you're going to rip things off my skin, you might as well do it there. They could use a good waxing. But once all the tape had been ripped off my arm (the worse part of giving blood, truly), I laid there and felt great. I wasn't dizzy! I wasn't nauseous! None of those awful side effects I've heard so much about. I'm such a champ! In a few minutes I would grab my cookies and skip back to my desk.

And then the guy who took my blood leaned my seat up so I was sitting upright. At first I was feeling normalish, then ok fine a smidge dizzy. Then whoooaaa why is everyone walking in circles? What's happening? Why.........where.....help........I don't feel good.....lay me down NOW. It felt like all the life in my body was leaking out of a hose, even thought the tubes and bags and wires were gone. I could feel it. I laid down and closed my eyes, hardly aware of anything happening when I heard shouts of "NO! KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN! YOU HAVE TO STAY CONSCIOUS! STAY AWAKE! STAY AWAKE!" And suddenly cold compresses were thrown on my neck and forehead, which was great because I had started sweating out of the blue. And then the nausea banged me on the head like a cartoon character with a frying pan. I looked up at the nearest person in a Red Cross coat and said "I think....I feel like......I think I might throw up..."and suddenly a brown paper lunch bag was thrown over my nose and mouth and someone was telling me BREATHE ok BREATHE ok DEEP BREATH ok COUGH! And magically, I felt like a human again. The nausea was gone. The room stopped spinning. And according to the person with the paper bag, my face had color in it again. I was going to live!

And it was at this point I noticed everyone in a 10 mile radius was standing around me watching. 10 minutes ago I was just the awkward new girl. But now? Now I'm the awkward new girl who is terrified of needles and who is laying on a stretcher in the break room covered in cold compresses with a paper bag over her mouth. It was an introvert's worst nightmare. Not only am I dying, but I'm going to die with PEOPLE LOOKING AT ME. I laid there for awhile and slowly recovered. And then they inched the cot up a little. And I laid there for awhile. And then I sat up a few more inches. Every time I inched up the dizziness poked at me again. And then a kind old man gave me something called a sugar wafer and a bottle of water, and suddenly the world was sparkling and I felt like I could frolic in a field of yellow daisies.

Since I was under strict instruction to not sit up all the way, I managed to grab my water bottle with some strange finagling of my limbs, and then I opened it and tried to bring it to my face and drink it, except I spilled it all over my crotchal area and on the cot. At least it helped with the clamminess I was still dealing with. But then one of the nurses looked at me and whispered "Did you....by chance....relieve yourself on the cot?" "OF COURSE I DID NOT! This is what happens when you try to drink out of a water bottle lying down! I SPILLED!" He chuckled and said "Ok, I was just checking. It's happened a few times with people who react like you after giving blood." Just kill. me. now. Hook that bag back up and take out the rest of my blood. I am dead.

About 30 minutes later I finally stood up and noticed that the water from my spill had gotten my butt and the backs of my thighs soaking wet, which was not helping my case in the least. I downed a bag of teddy grahams, practiced walking around the room, and was officially given the all clear to go back to work. My wet butt and I trudged up the stairs and to the bathroom where I could finally returned nature's call from 2 hours ago because I do those things in the bathroom and not on a cot. And then I went back to my desk where I had 20 minutes left in my day.

You should all give blood. It shouldn't take long, but you might get out of an entire afternoon of work. And you will be able to stay home from the gym guilt-free. And there are cookies. Just maybe consider doing it in a place where your coworkers can't see you. Things might get embarrassing.

But really, how cool is this? I walked in to work yesterday pouty and in an awful mood since James is in North Carolina for the weekend. I ended the day saving a life and celebrating with Chipotle and Netflix.

I might just be crazy enough to do it again.


Depends on how badly I want to get out of working out.

29 comments:

  1. Oh man. That sounds terrifying. I doubt I'll ever give blood....I always claim it's because I'm under the weight limit. Which, technically, that's a very good reason. They wouldn't let me give blood. But I'm pretty sure I need all of my blood. And I don't like needles and blood and I especially don't like doctors and nurses. Angel's done it a few times and even though he has 50 pounds on me he says he always feels sick afterwards.

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  2. Oh. My. Goodness. I have never given blood either because I am petrified of needles (getting my tattoo was an interesting experience). I get picked on all the time but I just. can't.

    I'm glad you're back in the land of the living and they let you keep some of your blood.

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  3. i used to give blood in high school all the damn time because it was such an awesome excuse to get out of class, especially since you could pick your appointment time if you signed up early enough so i would get to choose which terrible class i wanted to skip out on. and if it happened to be a gym day- haaaay no gym class for this girl!
    i havent given blood since then though, because they hate tattoos so like 6 month after my tattoo i went to give blood and they told me they didnt want my blood. and i just havent gone back since then. maybe ill give 'er another try..considering that was like 4 years ago.

    glad you survived!

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  4. OH MY GOSH I SERIOUSLY LOVE YOU

    "Not only am I dying, but I'm going to die with PEOPLE LOOKING AT ME."
    You are me. I am you.

    I am so proud of you for your lifesaving activities!!!! :)

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  5. They have blood drives where I work all the time and I am so grateful that the spots are always taken because I am terrified too! Thanks for justifying what I thought was a ridiculous fear, haha. At least now your coworkers know who you are!

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  6. "I AM SO TERRIFIED RIGHT NOW!" I can hear this/picture it, and I love it. I know you were freaking out in that moment, but it is cracking me up now.

    AND THE FACT THAT THEY THOUGHT YOU PEED YOUR PANTS ALMOST MADE ME PEE MINE.

    "I was NOT dry today 3-7-13"

    I'm so proud of you for doing this! I've never given blood before, so way to one up me. Actually, I don't even know what my blood type is, so that's probably an issue.

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    Replies
    1. CACKLING AT THIS

      "I WAS NOT DRY TODAY"

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    2. Perfection, Alyssa. Absolute Perfection!!!

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  7. I had to have blood drawn a couple of weeks ago and passed out. I blame the clinic. If someone comes in and says "I have been known to pass out when needles are concerned," why wouldn't you have your best person draw their blood?

    Oh, when I was 14, I passed out in Algebra class because my teacher was talking about having blood drawn in graphic detail.

    Nothing embarrasses me anymore.

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  8. I donated blood in high school. similar situation where I was asking the techs over and over, "isthisgonnhurt? isthisgonnahurt?" the finger prick? nailed it. And someone told me that was the worst part, so I was all, I got this. And then they stuck me and I had to go to my happy place for a minute, but then yeah, I was fine. When it was over, I got my cookies and juice and I walked out to my car and suddenly, the nausea hit. and the light headedness. I had to lay down IN THE PARKING LOT. while my friends directed traffic around me.
    I felt that way the rest of the afternoon. AND I had to get my food handler's permit that day? The picture is the worst thing you ever did see.

    and then a year later I got really really sick, so I had to be put on an IV and my mom passed out when they stuck me, got a concussion and lost hearing in her right ear for about three years.

    Needles and I have never been the same.

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  9. Thank you for reminding me why I have never and will never give blood! HAHAH. This whole post my heart was beating fast and I was like "ohmygosh" because I am afraid of that stuff happening to me!!! lol

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  10. They don't take my blood anymore. Not only have I had that same experience, but half of the time the phlebotomy techs crash out my vein halfway through the donation. I have these puny little suckers to draw from, and apparently, they are not blood donating veins.

    Passing out at the blood drive is the most embarrassing thing ever, and I've only done it in front of my sorority sisters. I can't imagine doing it in front of judgey new co-workers. Ick.

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  11. I cannot donate blood. I get the weird woozies every single time. I once passed out cold on the concrete after having blood drawn. My mom yelled at me to get up. It's was lovely.

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  12. You did so well to give blood, I'm sorry it ended up being such an ordeal for you.
    I'm one of those strange people who doesn't mind giving blood and will watch the needle go in and then spend the next ten minutes watching the blood work it's way around the tube. I haven't given blood for a while though as the last time I went I wasn't able to donate due to anaemia and then I had my tattoo, I should probably go again soon, although I pretty sure I'm still anaemic, I should probably do something to fix that!

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  13. You are my hero! Not just the giving blood thing, either. The whole ordeal. And you even showed up for work today. Like a boss.

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  14. I really should try to donate blood. I've gotten turned away twice for weighing too little. (Clearly, it was a LONG time ago.) I'm great with doing blood work at the doctor's office or a lab, but I'm worried I'll pass out at a donation appointment!

    Note to self: Do not open water bottles while lying down.

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  15. "It was an introvert's worst nightmare. Not only am I dying, but I'm going to die with PEOPLE LOOKING AT ME." this. best ever. i am cracking up!

    i'm glad you're okay! i never give blood at work, and we have blood drives allll the time. i was basing my non-blood giving reasoning on getting a flu shot once in college where i sprayed blood when they stuck me "we got a bleeder!"...so yeah.

    but then we did a life insurance thing recently where the nurse came to our house and we both gave blood. tim almost passed out (he always has to eat right away in the morning. i could take or leave breakfast)...i MIGHT have rubbed it in his face a little (after getting him juice). "you almost passed out! look at me, i'm perfectly fine! what a champ!" (i'm a jerk wife)

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  16. You are much braver than me! I have never given blood. In high school I didn't meet the weight minimum, but that certainly isn't the case now! Haha...I guess I am just afraid of passing out afterwards. My professor yesterday said she'd give us extra credit for donating blood, and I actually considered it. But then I remembered I'm pregnant and not allowed. So maybe after the baby's born I will have to do it. You have given me courage!

    Also, I need Chipotle now :-)

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  17. I haven't been able to give blood in years because of tattoos and pregnancy... but I want to again! I always pass out ;)

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  18. HAHA...I can't believe they asked if you peed your pants!!! That's awful. You are so brave. I totally want to give blood now!

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  19. Fun fact - I'm already deathly afraid of needles. This didn't help AT ALL!!!! :-)

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  20. O_O I'm sorry, I could never give blood. I'm terrified of needles and I pass out and get dizzy just thinking about it. I couldn't even read your whole story.

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  21. You ain't cool unless you pee your pants!

    Oh dear lord baby jesus. RELIEVE YOURSELF? Who says that?!?

    Look at you saving the world and risking your life in the process!

    (ps - I don't give blood either. Too many blood tests in my life to willingly do it and also I use the tattoo excuse well after the normal amount of time you should wait. I'm a bad person)

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  22. The person who goes "No I looove needles, any activity involving a needle and I'm your girl" is the weirdo, not you (us). But you poor thing, that took you way out of your comfort zone!

    You can tell a person's out of their comfort zone when they seem to have no middle gears (KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN MISS STAY CONSCIOUS to sparkles and frolicking in daisies, anyone?) You were really brave to go that far outside of your comfort zone - bonus brownie points.

    Also? Dying while strangers stare at you is the worst possible of all possible nightmare scenarios. Stay strong, sister -- have another sugar wafer. <3

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  23. I'm glad you did it! I will be the gung-ho commenter to tell you that what you did is awesome... even if it is kind of terrifying. After my grandmother got cancer, my family started donating a lot more. Even though my mom either passes out or throws up every single time, she still does it. And I can't even look at a needle, let alone watch it enter my skin (ugh!), but we rally. :) It really is amazing and important. And getting out of work or school definitely helps.

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  24. I'm not scared of needles, but I only donated blood once...because I rocked it until I walked down the hall to go back to work, and the hall suddenly went black. I basically had the same experience as you did after that. Yuck!

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  25. I donated blood a lot when I was in high school. I'm not afraid of needles at all, but sometimes I did feel sickly afterward. You really are lucky you didn't pee your pants, though. Once when I was in the bloodmobile, hooked up to my tubes with the tourniquet on my arm, a guy on the cot next to me passed out and peed his pants. It was awful. 1. His pee ran all the way down the middle aisle of the bus, 2. I was stuck on the smelly bloodmobile and 3. That dang tourniquet cut off the circulation in my arm for a really long time while they took care of him. I almost passed out myself from all the blood rushing back into my arm when they took it off. I've never donated blood again since that experience.

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  26. This is amazing. The first time I donated was my senior year in high school at our high schools annual blood drive. I totally passed out in the arms of my "escort" who was walking me from the donation area to the cookie table. I had a crush on him. My passing out was not helpful. I have since given a few more times. And no trauma since. Good for you!

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  27. Good for you for donating!! You are saving lives!!

    I'm not allowed to give blood, but my husband does. Every 90 days. (That's how long you are told to wait between donations)

    The preventative measures were because you probably looked even more nervous than you were, so they were worried you might faint. If you're laying down the fainting won't actually make you fall of the bed.

    Way to go, lady!!

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