A few weeks ago, I confessed that I have never given blood. My needle-phobia has not gone over so well in the past. To make it worse, after a week of plotting with my friend, Hannah, our hematocrit levels were just too low. The needed 12.5 was just out of my reach and way out of Hannah’s.
We were sent home, Red Cross blood donation shirts in tow, with the ultimatum to raise our iron level… or no donation.
After a few rounds of vitamins and several meals of fish and chicken, we returned with our hopes high and fingers crossed.
PRICK goes the first finger. Result: 12.2. I tried a second time and got a 12.5. I can give blood! Then I got the text message from Hannah: “Both of mine were below 10.6. I can’t give blood again.”
I walked to the back room to conquer my fear… alone. Actually, she followed me in there, but I was alone on the “Give Life” part.
So I got taped down and hooked up. Then I prepared myself.
“Don’t look at the needle,” Hannah said.
I covered my eyes, looked away and thought about my happy place. Actually, Hannah distracted me. I won’t lie. The needle hurt a little, but it was worth every ounce. It took about an hour. Hannah and I chatted. I even looked at the blood a couple of times… without throwing up or passing out. And that’s all that matters.
As I found out, the standard donation of blood is about one pint – approximately one-tenth of a person’s total volume. Scary as it may sound, blood refills itself after about 24 hours. Another fact, blood donations plummet dramatically in the summer.
So, thank you Marlee Matlin for reminding me how important it is to donate blood. I’ll definitely go again. If I can make it, I think you can too.
Click here for a few tips for a good donation experience. Good luck!