Yes, you heard me correctly. Mel, mother of four, virgin. Um, virgin blood donator that is. I am a little embarrassed to admit that I’ve never donated blood before. I’m really good at finding excuses. Procrastinators are the very best at making the things they don’t want to do look completely impossible to schedule in. In college there were blood drives all the time. I was usually busy with classes, band
geeks, labs, studio time, being drunk, you name it. My other excuse was that I didn’t know my blood type. As it turns out, you don’t need to know anyway. Once out of college, married and soon knocked up I obviously couldn’t donate. After the baby I was breastfeeding, certainly I shouldn’t donate then (ha!). It has gone on for years and now here I am….well, 29 30 31 uh… over thirty and still a blood donation virgin. The time has come.
I received a call on my answering machine from the local old ladies guild (I forgot which one, and I’m sure some day I’ll be a member) soliciting donations via appointment. I couldn’t think of a good excuse. This past week I removed a dead mouse from our house, cut my daughter’s hair, put both kids into softball/baseball leagues, repaired the van door. Certainly I can donate blood. I didn’t make an appointment.
On the way home from softball, AM noticed the big Blood Services van parked at the school. My time was up. After lunch I took AM with me. They took me without an appointment (my lucky day!). My last “out” was the hemoglobin test, which is sometimes low. Except today. At this point I was starting to get nervous. Not about the actual donation, more that I’d get screened OUT and have to go home with my 8-year-old daughter and an “I Tried” sticker. The time has come.
While I was pre-screened, AM had already eaten 2-3 cookies and a glass of juice. The poor grandma at the table was suckered by AM’s precocious cuteness into handing over the goods (more on that soon). AM had powdered sugar on her nose. As we waited for the big draw, she read the pamphlet. She was a bit concerned about the potential “dizziness or fainting” so I told her I’d just land on her to cushion my fall. That didn’t help. She laughed nervously and kept an eye on me.
We were called over to the lounge chair stations. In the past I’d seen these set up with dividers and privacy screens. Not here. It looked like one big dialysis orgy. Blood tubing everywhere. People various shades of white squeezing poofy hearts and stars. I guess if this bothered you you wouldn’t be here in the first place. I climbed into the lounge chair and let the games begin. When the ginormous needle was whipped out, I looked away. If anything was going to make me pass out is was a needle in my own arm. AM was allowed to pull up a chair and watch. I got the shaft on squeezy toys and ended up with a length of PVC pipe. We chatted as the bag beside the chair rocked slowly and filled. The alarm went off and I was done.
AM kept eyeing me as they bandaged up my arm and let me head over to the cookies and juice. She was so sure I was going to keel over at any moment. The nice old lady tried to give AM a boy’s “Future Blood Donor” sticker until we convinced her that the short-haired kid wearing the black hoodie and camouflage pants was actually my daughter. Grandma then apologized several times before we left (and gave her several more cookies). As we left, AM said, “Mom, you were brave!”. Good example set.
So there it was. My first time. Not nearly as bad as I thought. Not bad at all really. I think I’ll have to do this more often. If I can get my procrastinating butt over there to do it, so can you!