Donating blood is one of the most important things you can do as a member of the human community. It is the gift of life to a stranger and what could be more wonderful than that? My husband has done it and because it was one of my fifty 2016 challenges, yesterday I fronted up to the vampire van and signed up to hand over my pound of flesh….or a 400ml sack of blood as the case may be.
I wasn’t nervous. Needles don’t phase me. Given the choice between a Tim Tam and a needle, I would always go the biscuit but I’m not one of those people with hypodermic phobia and the sight of blood fascinates me rather than the opposite. I am a fan of Tarantino films. I wanted to be a vampire as a child and also briefly considered being a surgeon so blood and I…we go way back…we are tight…we have no problems with one another.
So after checking my general health, ticking all the boxes to say that I hadn’t had a threesome with a mad cow in Timbuktu any time recently or shot up green caterpillar juice with junkie Oompa Loompas in Loompaland in the last three months, I was good to go.
The whole thing was like plugging into headphones. Lie back, insert mosquito-thin needle into arm, squeeze squishy ball and make small talk with the other people being drained. We chatted about the weather (cold), the mushy brains associated with pregnancy (smushy peas) and general chit-chat. Time went on (minutes). I was cool and chilled out and relaxed thinking this is a piece of cake while thinking about the actual piece of cake I would get as a reward for my altruism.
And then…the nurse-woman-vampire looked at me weirdly and asked if I was alright. A bit dizzy I said. And then……a lot dizzy, a lot cold and a lot passing out.
My blood pressure dropped to something silly and they whipped out the needle and put me in the shock position, lying back with my legs in the air. Feeling somewhat foolish, I waited for the nausea and light-headedness to pass. It took a while.
This happens sometimes apparently.
I hope to be able to try again in a few months. I hope they sapped enough out of me to save the lives of a couple of small people (as I didn’t fill the whole bag).
Giving blood is a worthwhile thing to do. Do it. Just be aware that even if you are fine with it…sometimes…your body isn’t.
I have fifty challenges for this year. I’ve done the silent meditation retreat and now the blood donation (kind of ) and next I’ll be volunteering in a soup kitchen. I may not be totally brilliant yet at being a generous community-member or enlightened person….but at least I’m trying, eh?