Internal Conflict: Blood Donation

7 05 2008

Donating blood is one of best things you can do.
Or so I am told.
See, look how happy these people are:
Happy Donors!

I, on the other hand, see a needle and immediately turn into this:
not me, but you get the idea

In fact, I don’t even have to see a needle to freak the hell out, I just have to anticipate it (in fact, right now, I have phantom pain in my right arm).  Yes, I am aware that I have a tattoo and a number of piercings; of which were done with needles.
I hate my yearly physical due to blood work and let’s not even talk about the tantrum I threw last year at the mention of a tetanus booster and blood work.
It wasn’t pretty.

Now, granted, that was “old” Stephanie and “new” Stephanie is a lot calmer.  However New Stephanie still gets all creeped out by needles.  In fact, I may have started hyperventilating at the sight of the sharps container at the doctors office.  Just saying.

People with degrees agree that most people with needle-phobia have such due to traumatic experiences.  I can atest to this.  My childhood was a blur of biopsies and surgeries.  Full of doctors who didn’t believe me when I said I could feel them suturing up my surgical site, doctors who insisted that the scraping I felt was just the peripheral skin being tugged, phelobotmisits who would have to poke many times to get a proper vein (called “rolling veins” for those of you who are curious), doctors who didn’t understand why a grown woman would be crying as they grind skin from her scalp (and ejected her husband from the procedure room for saying, “Wow Steph, look at the size of the needle!”), nurses who don’t understand how suture removal could have one turn grey.  Although, on that last one, I got Chips Ahoy! and some O.J.

Now the internal conflict sets in.
Blood is good.  I have lots of blood.  In fact, I have enough blood that I should stop hording it and give it to people who need it.  I’ve seen what good blood can do.  Grandma has an iron deficiency and blood transfusions bring her back to the Grandma I know and love.
But I hate needles.
Totally.
Needles scare me.  Terrify me actually.
I don’t want to show up and turn into a banshee but I know I really should try.  In fact, there’s a blood drive tomorrow for my office group and I’m trying (really really hard) to get the gumption to go.

Have you donated blood?  How horrific was it?  Anything you can say to quell my “completely irrational” fear?

(and for the tattoo, I was really upset when I got it as one of my friends had just died and the pain of the tattoo felt like nothing compared to the pain in my heart.)

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8 responses

7 05 2008
Heather

I don’t have a fear of needles unless I can’t see the needle. If the needle is hidden, I am scared. Put it somewhere I can see, and we’re cool. I don’t know why.

Giving blood isn’t that bad. At all. They say it doesn’t hurt very much and I would say it doesn’t hurt at all, but people process pain differently. The needle goes in, the blood goes down the tube and into a bag, and after you’ve given your pint (usually about 10 minutes), you’re handed some juice and cookies and on you go.

If you are extremely uncomfortable, I’m sure a volunteer would understand and stop whatever they were doing so that you could leave.

In the event that being a human Capri Sun is not for you, you could always consider a donation to the local branch of the Red Cross. While you won’t be giving blood, you’ll be giving the ability to continue with blood collection, and that’s just as good.

7 05 2008
stopbouncing

“a human capri sun”

Snark. I’ll have to try that if I decide to go through with it.

7 05 2008
Melissa

This is what I love about you:
Something terrifies and horrifies you, and yet, you’re still willing to consider doing it because it’s good for someone else.
I think that’s pretty awesome.

7 05 2008
curlywurlygurly

the one time i tried to give blood, the red cross turned me away because my blood pressure was through the roof because i was a nervous wreck.

for sanguine fun at the doctor’s office, i require a butterfly needle–for babies–because my veins collapse.

nowadays, i just give clothing donations to my red cross. it’s easier on us all.

8 05 2008
stopbouncing

I didn’t even take the out-of-control blood pressure into consideration.
Although, I have received a number of “signs” letting me know I should be okay.
1) Kali ran across me with her claws out and after a quick swear, I was okay.
2) 30 seconds into my shift, I got a paper cut across my thumb (with thick paper no less) and I’m okay.

Yes yes universe, I am eating a big breakfast.

9 05 2008
The True Story of a First Time Human Capri-Sun* « please, stop bouncing

[…] *Props to dear Heather who made me have my first laugh about blood donation by referring to it as becoming a human Capri-Sun. […]

9 05 2008
Marie

To give or not to give?
This has been quite the internal conflict for me but upon discovering my secret weapon I’ve found new strength. It is called Emla cream and it numbs the skin before immunisations. For me a lot of the phobia was mental BUT nonetheless having this little faith booster stimulated enough bravery within for me to donate blood. I don’t feel a thing now (regardless of the duration of the vein hunt).

15 10 2008
Tina

You know, Stephanie…I’m *very* needlephobic. I pretty much have the same reactions you do: the mere thought of a simple bloodraw makes my arm hurt, and the vein they’ve used for years throbs whenever I think about it. You could imagine what my reaction usually was whenever the Bloodbank would appear at my Highschool campus, it’s pretty much the same now when they show up at my College lol. Pictures of menacing looking needles aren’t really encouraging me. However, the more I think about who could possibly need my blood the more I’m drawn into giving, and as you stated not “hoarding” it. My blood type is AB-, and whenever I tell my friends I haven’t donated yet they all yell at me…

Really, I can’t say I wouldn’t yell at me either. A baby could need it, a child, a teenager, a person my age, or even a friend/family member. So, even though I am absolutely petrified about it, I’m seriously considering donating. I’m freaked out about the pain, I have a really horrible thought that it will hurt so bad. Friends (who are younger and braver than myself) have said it pinches for a sec, but otherwise it’s alright. I wish you well, and wanted to say you’re not alone when it comes to being freaked out, lol.

PS: I’m also nervous that if I gave I’d faint when I saw the needle coming toward me…not cool at all.

SB Sez: I’m glad you’re considering it. The anticipation was 100% worse then the experience. When I was done, I realized that I may be giving someone back their mother, brother, child, grandma and the pain I had was probably nothing compared to who was getting my blood. Good luck!

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