30 DAYS OF ALTRUISM: Day Twenty Two

Activities: Giving Blood


Integrity: Bloody scared!!!


Thoughts: Holy shit, I hate needles. Em drove my quivering, pale, reluctant body up to the blood bank in Airport West. I sat, dry mouthed and hunched in the waiting area, filling out an ocean of paperwork to confirm that I was Karin, I didn’t have jaundice and I hadn’t done any man-on-man sex in the last 6 months. A stout lady shuffled me into a tiny office where she attacked my finger with a jagged metal nail and eagerly squished blood out of the wound over and over again, then wiped a bit into a blood machine. Apparently this was a haemo-goblin* test but it felt more like a scene from Dracula. The scene where he conducts a haemo-goblin test.


I sat secretly wishing that I had hepatitis or an iron deficiency so that I would be excused from the needle but still get lots of thanks for trying. Annoyingly, I was stamped as perfectly healthy and my goblins were cackling at a good volume. The nail-wielding haemo woman didn’t seem to notice that I was sunken and wan with fear, or rather she chose to ignore my crying and bustled me stiffly out onto the blooding floor. I crept reluctantly between rows of people reclining in sterilised chairs with huge plastic tubes pumping their vital essences away. Haemo woman prodded me into an empty chair and marched off, leaving me with my sweat and shaking limbs.


Presently a nurse appeared and began briskly removing equipment from plastic wrappings. She was about to shove the needle straight in when I made a quiet choking sound and for the first time in the whole visit, someone noticed I wasn’t feeling ok. I told the nurse that I was antsy around needles. She asked, “did you ever have a blood test?” I said, “Yes, and I had to lie down afterwards.” She said, “Ahhh…” and gave me a long talk about exactly how blood donation works, how I could stop at any time and how even if I didn’t manage to give blood I was still very brave for coming in. She even let Em in to hold my hand. Eventually, after much fretting and fussing I agreed to let her tear my body open and feast on the bloods within.


The jab was scary. She put a band on my arm to pop out my veins, bodybuilder-style, and got me to squeeze a ball in my hand to get the blood flowing. The needle went in sharp and quick and I squeezed both Em and the ball very hard. After a few seconds though, the pain receded and I could only feel the needle if it got bumped and moved under my skin. I was still freaking out a fair bit and Em helped calm me down with encouraging words. She later revealed that she thought I was a dickhead and it was all empty sentiment to end the scene quicker. That makes her simultaneously a good and bad sister.


Here’s a photo of me getting jabbed. The nurse shrouded the needle so I wouldn’t freak out.



After what felt like an hour the nurse un-stuck me and patched up my wound with tape. She made me stay in the chair for another 10 minutes in case I died or something, and she brought some juice to replace the blood. When I was finally allowed to leave the blooding floor, I stood up to find gigantic, dribbling sweat puddles on my chair. I’d been so nervous that I sweated more on that chair than any equipment during Gym Month. We were shuttled into the recovery room where I had a cuppa soup, some milk and a chuppa chup. I was freaked out but otherwise fine, which only made everyone excited for me to come back. The nurses said they’d hassle me to do it every three months. I don’t know if I could cope with that kind of pressure, but at least I’d get a better dinned from them than I would at home.


I think the scariness was really all in my head, but that’s the same with any fear. The nurse said she’d rather give blood than sing on a stage. I guess we all have our mosters to battle and I faced mine to save curly headed children with Leukemia. Of course, my stupid blood is AB+ which means only 3% of curly headed children have it. I really hope there’s at least one with Leukemia so I didn’t go through all that for nothing! Hm, that’s not very altruistic…


Here’s a photo of me and my milk. Oh, I was so glad to be alive.


(* I know what haemoglobin is. I’m just being an idiot.)