I've donated many times before, willingly and happily. I've never had any complications arise nor have I ever felt any ill effects (except once when I didn't eat beforehand and thus felt quite light-headed afterwards - my fault, not theirs), so when Mom told me she had signed me up to give blood (knowing I wouldn't mind) I was all for it.
We had a 1:30 appointment today and we arrived just in time. After going first to the bloodmobile (where they told us we had to "register" before we came there) , we went into the office building and waited for about 30 minutes. Mom got to go, and I sat in a room full of people I didn't know. Not a good situation for me, but fortunately I had a book to escape to.
Finally, after another 15 minutes (or more), I was called to the "bus." Wouldn't you know it? I had to wait some more. Not so long this time, only about 5 minutes. Then I had to in for their little interview they do. Not a big deal, normally. Well, today my blood didn't drop. What I mean is, when the man took a blood sample from my pricked finger (yeee-owch! I can handle the big needle with no problem, but not the little ones for some reason), he put it in a special liquid. If the blood drops to the bottom of the liquid, then there is enough iron in the blood. As I said, my blood didn't drop. It just hung out there at the top. I sat there thinking that I wouldn't be able to give blood because I didn't have enough iron!
He decided to spin the blood and based on that we would continue. Apparently, you need a 32 count of something to be safe, and after he spun my blood, I had a 43. So I was safe there. Don't aske me what the numbers mean.
So next came the questions. Before, I've always done them on my own, then the interviewer would either go over them with me or just check to make sure that I had answered them all. They've cut out the first step. Now, they just ask them. I told the guy straight off the bat that the answers to all the sex questions were "no." He said okay, but he still had to ask them. I guess he's required by law or something. Whatever. The answers were still "no."
We finished and I went out to the main area where the lady (we'll call her a nurse for lack of a better term) awaited me. After all the preliminary stuff, she began to prep my arm. She had no problem finding my vein (I have good veins) to mark it. She then went to help another person who was finishing his pint. She came back to me and when she was ready, she stuck the needle in my arm - and missed my vein. She missed! Come on, people!I have good veins. No one has ever missed my vein. I shudder to think of it even now.
Anyway, she half pulled the needle out, re-found my vein, and pushed the needle in. The sensation I felt was something I had never felt before and never want to again. It wasn't painful so much as it felt like an invasion. It rippled through my entire body and back to the entry point in less than a second, but it felt longer. I opened my mouth, but no sound came out. The nurse noticed and apologized profusely. I could tell she really felt bad, so I didn't have the heart to make a big deal about it.
The whole pint took 5 minutes. The clock was right in front of me, so that's how I know. All of that waiting and hassle for 5 minutes.
So now you ask me, why do I do this? Well, in Leviticus, it says that "the life of the flesh is in the blood." (Lev. 17:11). In John, Christ said, "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friend." (John 15:13). So it's a bit literal when you look at it this way, but I do believe it's Biblical. After all, Christ also said, "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you." (John 15:12). Christ gave His blood for us that we might live. Knowing that, how can I not donate my little pint every 56 days if it might mean saving someone's life?
(All Scripture references from the New King James Version.)
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