Yesterday my work was holding a blood drive just like most fancy corporate offices do. I didn’t think much of it because honestly the whole idea of donating blood is freaky. Think about it. You go into a room to voluntarily get stabbed and then watch your blood get drained out of your body. Sounds like the beginning of a scary movie to me.
“Attention SkyWest employees! There is only 40 minutes left for the blood drive!” The cute front desk lady announces making the experience sound so pleasant.
At this point a couple of my coworkers, who apparently donate all the time, got up to go donate. Meanwhile I am sitting at my desk trying to act busy and avoiding the ongoing conversations about why my other coworkers will never donate. I couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like though. “Is it really that bad? It is for a good cause. I don’t think I have bad blood…”
One of my coworkers got up to go donate so I asked them how bad it was? Of course they said it was super easy and doesn’t hurt. The idea was starting to seem more like an adventure than a horror movie at this point but I was still perfectly content working instead of draining my blood.
“Attention SkyWest employees! There is only 20 minutes left for the blood drive so if you would like to donate please make your way down in the next few minutes.”
Fine!! I’ll donate my blood. It is on my bucket list to save a life after all. Even though it’s not guaranteed my blood will save a life there is a good chance. And even though I imagined saving a life to be a much more epic story this still fit the requirements (right?) and is a bit less dramatic.
In the conference room it is of course freezing and there are nurses walking around with bags of blood and handing out snacks. Totally normal day. I sign in and sit at this little waiting area where I have to read a brochure about what to expect. I knew that I might feel dizzy or nauseous but I had no idea I had to have a fancy diet after or that my arm could go numb and fall off! Okay it wouldn’t fall off but it can go numb and be tingly.
So I fill out my little questionnaire and one of the nurses pricks my finger to make sure I have “good blood” before I can go fully donate. He told me that if I could survive the finger prick I would be totally fine when it came to my arm so I made sure to be tough! Thankfully it barely hurt so I was like “Heck yeah! This is going to be a breeze and I was freaking out over nothing.”
Poor naïve me.
They finally take me to the tables and start sanitizing my arm and all that good stuff. My nurse took some time deciding which arm to drain from because apparently I have tiny veins. He finally decided on the right one but had to pull out a sharpie to draw where my vein was. Now the fun part begins.
“Alright now is the time to look away if you are going to freak out.” I look away and he stabs me and it wasn’t that bad!!
“Hey! That wasn’t too bad! Unless you missed.”
He then proceeded to poke me three more times before finally getting a good stab. Thankfully after the second one my arm was pretty much numb from my anxiety so I barely felt it. The rest of the time I just say there squeezing this stress ball they give you. It’s supposed to help the blood flow but I’m pretty sure it is really for people like me who needed something to do while their arm was being juiced. Apparently I had awesome blood flow (probably from my super fast heartbeat) and my bag filled up really quickly.
“Okay now I want you to sit here for a little bit because you’re pretty small and we don’t want you to leave really weak.” Great.
Now they are starting to take down their equipment and eventually it is just me and one other person in the room and they still won’t let me leave and I feel totally fine other than the fact that my arm hurt so bad I couldn’t extend it fully. Eventually the other guy in the room finished donating and they let me leave when he left.
I was gone for almost an hour, my arm felt like it was broken, and I was already forming a bruise but I got free snacks, met some cool people, got away from work, and saved a life! Well hopefully anyways.
Despite all the anxiety and bleeding and pain it really wasn’t that bad. I’m really glad that I went and honestly it went a lot better than I ever expected!