I’m still scared. Still extremely wary of needles and blood and needles stealing my blood.
But I’ve set this thing up so it’ll be as easy as possible to follow through. And when it comes to facing 15 minutes with a needle in my arm, easy is what I need.
Courtesy of my new frenemies at Vitalant (formerly the Central Blood Bank, btw), I have an official appointment to donate ‘whole blood’ — better than half blood? — at the Coraopolis location on Monday at 12:50 p.m.
Why that location? Because it’s close to my day job at Robert Morris University, so it should be simple to make the five-minute drive over during lunchtime.
Why make an appointment, when walk-ins are welcome at certain Vitalant locations? My thought is that it’ll be more difficult to wuss out if I actually have people expecting me to be there.
It’s a fine theory. That’s all it is, though. I console myself with the knowledge that I can still run away if it’s all too much.
Fear not! I have established another failsafe: An accountability partner. And, no, that’s not just a fancy name for ‘cameraperson’ in this case.
I’m self-aware enough on the verge of 34 years old that I don’t like to let people down. I’m a pleaser, especially if said people are people I respect. It stands to reason that asking a friend to attend my bloodletting will increase the chances that I go through with it.
Fortunately, I got a volunteer almost immediately after last week’s post, without even asking. My friend Alan texted me a few days ago, asking if he could be the man next to the man wearing the tourniquet.
As Alan explained, he’s prohibited from giving blood because of a disease his grandmother had, so this would be the next best thing to donating himself. I wasn’t about to look that gift horse in the mouth. (Normally I hate clichés, but that one is so fun to imagine I make an exception.)
So … I have an appointment. I have a partner. What else do I need before watching a medical professional plunge a needle into a prominent vein?
Some knowledge of the process would be nice, actually. I’ve been avoiding the blood drive scene for a solid 20 years, so there’s no surprise that I’m almost completely ignorant to how donating blood works.
Thanks to the Vitalant website, I feel a better about the whole scene.
Fill out a questionnaire? I can do that! A small blood sample collected for testing? Uh, I’ve had blood work done a couple of times and it was … awful, but I’m still here.
Fill up a pint bag over the course of 10-15 minutes? Oh, no. I’m getting all clammy and tingly again.
Perhaps knowledge is overrated. Just ask Adam and Eve. Didn’t work out great for them. Who am I to play God and find out what my blood type is??
On the bright side, I have a busy weekend ahead of me at work — Senior Night on Neville Island for RMU men’s hockey! — so I won’t have much free time to think about what’s coming Monday afternoon (at first, I thought I should wait until a slower time at the office to take on blood donation, but now I’m realizing this is as perfect as the timing is going to get).
Here’s the best rationalization-strategy-thing I’ve come up with: Just make it another in a list of tasks to execute, not a moment I’ve been dreading for my entire adult life. As this series moves along toward more and more discomfort for our hero, I’m going to need all the psychological tricks I can summon.
Gonna need lots of tricks in my back pocket for this one…
Next week: The march to the bloody chair, chronicled first-hand.