Giving In Spite Of Myself

Almost 21 years ago (Dec. 14, 1998), my life changed forever. The big details mattered a lot back then. Not so much now. For this mini-saga, we are going to focus on the little details.

Like my itty~bitty, rolling veins…

I was a healthy kid. Hardly ever got sick. Rarely had my blood taken. Life was good! Until I had to start having my blood taken every day. Looking back at it now, I can say it wasn’t pleasant. As a 19-year-old, who almost died, I wasn’t quite so tactful.

I once had a nurse who took blood from the top of my hand. Not a good practice. Let’s just say I never saw her again.

I get it.

I was skiiiiinny.

I spent over two months in the hospital. I lost more than 25% of my body weight. Before the accident, I didn’t have much to spare.

Taking my blood was hard. And, it hurt. By the time I didn’t have to get my blood taken regularly, I had grown scar tissue where they stabbed me daily with needles.

I dreaded having my blood taken. I still do.

But, then I saw a post on Facebook. Blood needed. Less than 2 miles away.

I thought of my grandpa.

I don’t even know how many lives he saved over the years. He donated blood. A LOT of blood. My grandpa Elwood gave so much blood, they gave him t-shirts to show the world.

I saw the Vitalant post and I made a decision. I was going to do what he did. My blood is free. All it costs me is a bit of time. To possibly save 3 people’s lives? I can afford the time.

So, I took a deep breath. And, another. The dread is real. Then, I called. I made an appointment. When I was done, I smiled up at Grandpa, knowing he was smiling down at me.

The next day, I was on my way to the clinic. Less than a twenty minute walk and it was a beautiful day. As I walked, I thought of how they would do it. I really had no idea. Of course, my overactive mind came up with ridiculous scenarios.

Okay, brain. Think of something else!

Look at the pretty trees! Listen to the birds sing…

Nope.

Blood.

How much are they going to take? Do I dare watch it? Will there be something wrong with my blood?

I may have gotten myself a little worked up before I got there. Silly me. Everything was fantastic!

There are a series of questions to look over. Then, I met with Tara for a finger prick (worst part of the whole experience!) and answered the questions. They have to make sure my blood is safe.

Next, I sat in a fancy medical chair. It took Tara a minute to pick which arm would be best. My veins are not the most cooperative! Then, it was time.

Deep breath. And, another. No dread.

I opted not to watch. She got it on the first attempt. That’s a big deal for me. There were many mornings, the nurses would try and couldn’t. Thank goodness for the three prick rule! I think the phlebotomists got tired of making special trips just to take my blood.

Anyway…

It didn’t take long and it was all done! Easy peasy! Bonus: Tara gave me a bag of potato chips and a water. I was a little light headed at the end, so I waited in the fancy medical chair for a few minutes while I munched on chips.

When I was steady, I moved to the waiting area to finish my chips and water. The staff does ask you to wait 15 minutes before leaving. Just to make sure everything is okay.

I made sure to schedule an appointment for when I’m able to donate again.

Know what’s really cool?

I received a text, maybe 2 weeks later. It was to notify me. My blood was being used! Wow! What an amazing feeling! I took an hour out of my day and it helped save someone’s life!

I haven’t mentioned it yet, but after the accident, I received a significant blood transfusion. It feels so wonderful to be paying back. I have no intention of stopping.

Why not pay it forward in an amazing, life saving way?

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