I got it in my head that I was going to finally do my first blood donation in honor of someone that might have cancer and finds out next week. When a close friend heard us, he got us scheduled right away for a drive today. Ahh shit.
I was scared and against this for a while, even though I only had a week of warning. So I started prepping right away. I started drinking more water. I researched iron-rich foods like it was my motherfucking JOB. I decided to take a few days off from being vegetarian and learn to cook a steak. I ate half a pound of raisins in a day. Which mostly made me fart a lot. I ate a shitload of almonds and drank buckets of water. I ate so much red meat in the last 48 hours. See, the problem is, this ended up being period week (hello, internet). I've never been diagnosed as anemic during that time, but I wasn't about to take the chance. So I started an "Iron Woman" campaign to get my hemoglobin rockin'.
The appointment was at 1:45 today. I worked all morning until 1, and then Paul took me out so he could support me through my first donation. I did feel much safer having him there. I brought a million things to distract me, as if there was some way in hell I could knit a scarf during this. So we got out to the movie theater it was being held at, and oh shit, it was on.
My time came, and I was pumped. I got to answer all these weird questions about my history with drugs, people that use drugs, time spent as a prostitute, if I’ve ever had diseases I’ve never heard of (obeiosis? The fuck is that?), or if I’ve ever slept with someone from Africa. I passed, surprisingly. Then came the finger prick. Which was totally the worst part. Couldn’t look. So now I wait and see if my iron-loading was successful.
2 full points over the cutoff. I fucking win.
Of course, then it sets in, I’m really doing this.
The nice, fairly attractive young guy who did my preliminary stuff gets me set up for my donation. I was turned away when he was drawing the dot on my arm, because I’m an idiot and thought that was the needle. I was also a little concerned by the massive swath of skin he disinfected, wondering how much of a target he needed (I know, gotta make sure nothing can get in). So he warned me not to look while he put the needle in, and before I knew it, it was in!
I did so great. I played checkers on my phone the whole time. Then he said I was already halfway there, and of course, that’s when I started getting lightheaded. But he just put my feet up a little and I came right back. I was NOT going to pass out. And before long, I was done! I think maybe 7 minutes, max. Paul was taking pics of me and sending them to me the whole time. I was listening to all the nurses tease each other. I had to sit for a little while, and then I was approved to go sit in the cookie and juice section. I was feeling a little hot and blurry, so I just held the cold can until I felt better, and then I was great, scarfed down two cans of juice and some Oreos, and played Bejeweled on my phone to kill time. I felt great! Not tired, not dizzy, great!
I took myself out to a huge late lunch to celebrate, as the best way to up one's fluids is with a milkshake full of chocolate cake and cherries. I'm so proud of myself. I'm going to do it as soon as I can again.
For anyone interested, I’ve linked pics of the experience. Fair warning, I do look dead in one pic because I have no makeup on, it was the end of the donation, and I was still coming back from the lightheadedness. But I wanted to get a pic of the bag of blood, because I’m a grim bitch, so Paul snuck it for me. Thought anyone who’s thinking about their first donation might be interested in seeing some of the process.