Giving Blood

I sat in the chair, staring at my arm sceptically.

“Make a fist for me,” the nurse instructed as she prodded my elbow pit with her finger. “I am just going to take a look at the veins in your other arm now,” she informed me. Furrowing her brow, she continued to poke at various locations on my arms before muttering to herself, “I guess I will go with a side vein.” Words of confidence.

Donating blood is a paradox when it comes to stuff I like. On one hand, I strongly dislike needles and losing blood. On the other hand, when else can I hop up (after laying supine for 15 minutes or fewer of watching TV, reading, talking or listening to music) and say that I just helped save a life? Well, I suppose I could say that any time, but when else is it actually true?

Another positive that comes along with donating blood is the cookies and juice. After a donation, it is strongly encouraged that donors have a juice box and consume a couple of cookies. Never one to pass up apple juice (apple juice and puppies are my kryptonite), I like to use this break to happily sip my juice and peruse the Toronto Star.

As you may have guessed from the beginning of this entry, the nurse needling me probably could have done with a little more practice prior to handling the 16 gauge. During this most recent donation, my veins decided to be a little difficult, requiring some shifting of the needle in order to establish a decent flow.

“We’re so sorry. It looks like you’re going to have a bruise,” I was told by several of the blood bank staff members as they hovered around me, placing gauze over the insertion site and changing it every so often. Though, at the time, I gave the nurse who tapped me the benefit of the doubt, I was later informed by a coworker that “bruising of that nature is the result of poor technique.”

Regardless, I was proud of my bruise. “Do not worry about it at all,” I told the women at the blood bank, with a smile. “I am going to look so badass. I am going to wear short sleeves all week to work and try to garner sympathy. I am not sure that it will actually accomplish anything though because the majority of my coworkers are nurses and my bruises don’t really impress them the way I feel they should,” I explained. “The volunteers are a different story entirely,” I winked.

Additionally, I decided to photograph my evolving bruises so that I would be able to post photos to the Internet and further inspire oooohs and aaaahs of shock and awe at the physical evidence of my heroics.


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