Here’s a weird fact about me: apparently I have some of the world’s smallest veins. Let’s just say that needles and I do not get a long.
Case in point…
It was 1 am when my water broke–I was in labor with my first baby. We rushed to the hospital (after making an important stop at Steak n’ Shake for me) and got set up in our room. 10 hours later, we were parents, finally looking at the little one who had taken over my belly for the past nine months.
The entire birth went without a hitch. Well, almost.
We only had one minor hiccup: getting my IV started. The nurse couldn’t do it. She called another nurse…no luck. They kept poking around my arm for over 30 minutes, moving the needle all around under my skin…just thinking about it makes me squirm.
The medical team actually never did get my IV going…my step-dad finally stepped in and asked if he could try. This is one of the benefits of having paramedic in your family.
But today, I was ready to face my fear of needles in the name of kindness–today I donated blood.
I realize this act of kindness is very simple for most people, but let’s just say it was quite the challenge for me.
I warned the nurse about my awesome history with needles, but he was confident that he’d be able to draw the blood without permanently traumatizing me.
The needle’s now in my arm…here we go.
“Oh, honey–are you OK?” One of the other nurses looks over and must have seen my terror on my face.
He’s still poking around in my arm.
I try to be upbeat…“I’m fine–besides, the worst part is over. Right?”
No response. Maybe he didn’t hear me?
“Right?” I asked again.
And again, all I heard was crickets. Panic is building now.
“Is there something wrong?”
He finally responded…“Your vein’s rolling around a bit, but I’ve almost got it.”
The words have me instantly nauseated. I look away and close my eyes–yes, I’m a giant baby.
He finally gets everything set up and I start counting down in my mind. This should only take a few minutes, right?
After about 10 minutes, apparently my blood slowed. More poking, more moving the needle around. Oh good God…please, please let this end.
My blood “slowed” four more times before I was done.
It took about 40 minutes for me to give one pint of blood. As we learned from the first date with my husband, the human body holds 10 pints of blood, but just one pint can help up to three people. That one pint could help save a life. It’s pretty amazing when you think about it–and it makes it well worth the souvenir bruise that is now on my left arm.
By the time I was finished, I felt like I was ready for a different kind of pint!
But I got something even better.
I walked over to the table and grabbed a cookie and a soda. The workers handed me a t-shirt and gave me a sticker that said, “I did it for the cookie.”
Actually I donated blood today because it’s a really simple way to help someone else.
But I’m not going to lie, the cookie did help.