I went to give blood today.  I like donating blood!  It’s one of the few things I do that can have actual global significance.  I don’t like the process especially, but I do like the feeling of accomplishment at the end, the free cookies and juice, and all the sympathy I can trump up for myself.  It’s a wonder I didn’t post a picture of my bandaged-up arm to Facebook.  

This time ’round, the experience was a bit more unpleasant than usual.  I haven’t donated in I think almost two years which made most of the process fresh horror for me.  I ate a decent breakfast about an hour before the appointment, drank lots of water yesterday and today, had no caffeine, and still had the nervous shakes as I waited.  
 
I detest the prick needle that is spring-loaded to jab my finger to test my hemoglobin, so I nervous-chatter my way through that.  I passed the test just fine and I don’t have any sketchy life practices that could be problematic.  Getting to the giving bed/table thing was no problem.  I got a blanket because the room was cold.  Yay blankets!  My phlebotomist, while I’m sure a nice person, laughed when I requested a hand to hold when he jabbed me.  I’ll tell you:  the edge of the table provides no reassuring squeezing.  
 
I got to pumping and all seemed well.  I focused on taking deep breaths and not trying to feel the humongous needle in my vein, which would require me to hold my breath to try to sense in my arm.  He checked on me once, all good.  He began to set up another giver, and I called him over saying it was making a weird feeling.  The line running across my wrist felt – – bumpy.  It felt like the bag was bump-bump-bumping the leg of the table and the feeling was traveling up the line to me.  I realized he would have to twist the needle away from my vein wall (the bumpy feeling)  (guess who’s nauseated re-telling this)  and turned my head away.  I then immediately snapped my head back to say, ” you need to lay me down right now.  Right now.”  He immediately did so, and two other helpers converged.  
 
One fellow removed my scarf, asking who said it was a good idea to wear a scarf while donating?  I told him, “people with cold necks.”  He didn’t laugh.  He seemed intent on making me keep my eyes open and dude, I was closing them to focus on my breathing.  Then there was a cold compress on my throat and another on my forehead, and lots of coaching to breathe deep and keep my eyes open and cough really hard.  Why?  Well apparently a big cough shoots a bunch of oxygen to the head!  So there I lay, feebly squeezing the squoosh-ball, white as a ghost, covered in a red blanket and coughing for all I was worth, one side of my body sweating and the other ice-cold.  Luckily one of the girls there was willing to hold my hand for a minute, and honestly, PHLEBOTOMIST JIM, human contact can help!  
 
The story ends with me being fine and going home after a can of orange juice and some animal crackers.  I have to say that getting the concerned side-eye from a room full of people who are good with needles can be very unsettling.  
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