Every few months Puget Sound Blood Center comes and sets up shop in our office building. I’ve never donated blood before, it kind of squicks me out. Which is dumb, because I’m FINE with needles at the doctor’s office. You want 3 vials? Have at ’em. I tried to donate blood once, in high school, but my sister had the flu at the time, and since I’d been around her gross germs they wouldn’t let me donate. I breathed a sigh of relief and patted myself on the back for trying.
So when the sign-up sheet showed up at work, I thought, “Why! This is my year of Saying Yes and Trying New Things! OF COURSE I shall become a hero and donate blood!”
This was about a month ago. And the thought of giving blood has been great! Moral smugness wrapped me in its warm embrace, and I hugged right back. I was gonna go in there, eat a cookie, joke with the friendly nurses. It’d be awesome, I was awesome. No biggie.
And then the morning of the blood-letting came. I woke up yesterday super nervous. I rolled over in bed to face my husband.
“You’re nervous? About what?”
“What??” (Articulation isn’t my thing in the morning.)
“Oh. You’ll be fine, I promise.”
YEAH. RIGHT. I went to the internetz. Iron and water, they said. Consume a lot of both and you’ll be fine.
“I’m still nervous.”
“You’ll be fine.”
“Will I be able to walk?” (SHUT UP I WAS NERVOUS)
“To the bus, after work.”
“Yes. You’ll be able to walk to the bus.”
Fortunately, my appointment was in the morning, so the hamster wheel in my head didn’t have too much time to spin. They’d turned a conference room into a makeshift center, complete with four cots with physician’s assistants roaming around them. I got signed in and the show got rolling. I was told I had nice veins (compliments will get you everywhere), lay down on the cot, attempted to steady my breathing and…that was that. It had begun.
And you’ll never guess — IT WAS FINE. MORE than fine. It took no time at all to fill out that little bag. And yeah, I could definitely tell something was goin’ on over there, but mostly I just distracted myself with my phone-ternet. So, you know, totally normal.
When they were done and I was all bandaged up, I stood up from the cot. This was one of the parts I’d been nervous about. I envisioned myself passing out from the sudden elevation change and crumpling like my cat confronted by a toddler. But no! I WAS FINE. Solid as a rock!
I was so happy that I pumped BOTH my fists in the air and shouted, “I didn’t pass out!”
…yeah, I know. But the volunteers and assistants laughed, so hey, no harm done.
As I was sitting with the juice-and-cookie lady (THE BEST LADY EVER), I told her it was my first time and how nervous I’d been.
“When we go to the high schools,” she said, “I always ask the kids: ‘how did it compare to your imagination?'”
Wise words, juice-and-cookie lady. Wise words. Almost everything is scarier in your head than it ends up being in real life. And even if something DOES go wrong — say I HAD passed out when I stood up — it still would have been fine. A-ok. I would have got up and carried on.
Now, remind me of this in 3 months, when I need convincing about my NEXT new thing.