This week’s challenge hit close to home given the tragedy at the Boston Marathon. I had decided last Thursday which one I was going to do and current events confirmed my decision. I was so moved after hearing stories about how many of the runners crossed the finished line and kept running straight to area hospitals to donate and help out.
“Donate Blood!” from Sarah Warren.
Sarah and I had the chance to meet one another at Interlochen Arts Camp the summer after 7th grade. We spent a month becoming friends, rocking sweet uniforms consisting of knee high socks, button downs, god awful shorts and Birkentocks, and perfecting our various artistic talents. Sarah is a dancer and a fabulous one at that! We have only seen each other once since then, after numerous failed attempts while my sister lived in Dallas. Thanks to the magic of Facebook and lots of letters/emails in our younger days, we have managed to keep in touch. Sarah, I’m deathly afraid of needles so this was a great challenge for me!
First of all, Hoxworth makes donating blood INCREDIBLY easy! You can book an appointment online, call ahead or just walk in. They also have mobile units that travel around the area. I selected the Anderson location for my donation. I walked in, noticeably uncomfortable and terrified for what was about to happen. The facility was quite pleasant and the staff was extremely attentive and friendly. I was immediately greeted with a smile and a thank you for deciding to donate. After taking down my information and putting me in the system, I was taken to a cubicle where they pricked my finger to test my blood to see if I was an “acceptable donor.” The first needle – a very tiny one – is the one that hurt the most.
After approving my status she had to place my barcode on like 35 different tubes and bags that my blood would go into, reassuring me the entire time that I was freaking out for no reason. They walked me over to what looked like a dentist chair and immediately began the needle poking process.
My nurse, Sarah, walked me through the whole process step by step and asked me many questions to keep me occupied so I wouldn’t look at the needle. Not entirely effective, but helpful nonetheless.
She asked me why I was giving blood and I explained my blog, the challenge cards, etc. She brought me a blanket and shortly thereafter, the entire staff was surrounding my chair waiting to hear all about my adventures for the next year. It was exciting seeing how interested they all were in my project.
They can only keep the needle in you for 15 minutes so if they don’t get a full pint of your blood in that time frame, it doesn’t work. I couldn’t watch, but wanted to see what it looked like so I took a video of the needle-poking process. No worries, I decided to spare you all and not include it. Plus, I sound like a HUGE baby. Before I knew it, I was done!! Mine only took about 9 minutes because I apparently have excellent veins. I didn’t even feel her take the needle out! They gave me some popcorn, a Sierra Mist, a sticker and sent me on my way!
I don’t know why I have waited so long to do this. It was unnerving at first, but I will definitely go back. They do a cholesterol screening and some other tests for you since they have your blood already, so that’s nice.
Some things to note before giving blood:
– Drink plenty of water.
– Have a decent meal so you don’t pass out.
-Don’t be scared! It’s really easy!! If I can do it, anyone can.
Did you know that only 5% of eligible donors currently give blood? Since it cannot be manufactured, we are their only source for it! If we don’t give blood, they don’t have blood and people die. Essentially. They told me that my blood will go to an area hospital and that one single pint can potentially save three lives. Y’all, I saved lives today! All in all, I feel like I made a difference and am very pleased with the whole experience. If you’re interested in donating, visit www.hoxworth.org.