I know what you are thinking – here she comes looking for accolades and appreciation for doing something so basic. I want to begin by saying this post isn’t to boast or highlight the fact that I donated blood but to share the weird, scary and nice things that revolved around the whole experience. I have donated blood only once before in 2017 and the reasons for not donating more often are first, that seeing blood makes me very woozy and second, I am extremely lazy (I really wish I wasn’t). I’ve been on multiple hospital runs over the last few months since my grandfather has been undergoing cancer radiation therapy. Every time I’d see the donate blood option, I’d promise I’d come back on my own and donate blood. So when yesterday, a college senior posted about a relative needing blood in the same hospital – I saw it as a sign to go help out.
To be fairly honest, I didn’t sleep well the night before – just cause the donation comes with SO many ifs and buts. You need to be healthy enough meaning your hemoglobin levels need to be normal, your blood pressure needs to be normal and you shouldn’t be suffering from anything that can be passed on through blood infusion. The entire night (and even presently) the ONLY thought on my kind has been – what if I am DYING. I know I’m irrationally overthinking it but I have this weird phobia of knowing that I’m unwell… I’d rather just drop dead than know and suffer and make others suffer. I’ve asked for the hospital to share the reports of the tests done on my blood with me and I’m waiting all nervous to be told that I’m dying. I teared up SO many times while giving blood just because I am terrified that I’m going to find out that I’m dying. Again, death doesn’t scare me – suffering and going through treatment terrifies me. (YES, I AM A VERY WEIRD ADULT!!!!)
I was one of the first few people at the blood bank. With me was also this group of middle-aged men who had come together. The form filling had some questions that were unconventional and could be uncomfortable for people not so sex-positive. One such question was- “if you had been sexually assaulted?” The group of men read the question out aloud, start snickering and start saying “I wish I was yaaa. Someone do it to me please.” I was mortified. I was the only woman there and I just wanted to go up to them and YELL. I can’t believe that in this age, people still make light of sexual assault especially men getting assaulted. As someone who has gone through some stuff, I was appalled.
The guy on the donation bed next to me started talking to me. We both realized while talking that we’d come to donate blood for total strangers that we didn’t know anything about. It made me feel so good to know that kindness was still alive. Even around the waiting area, I heard people coming in to donate blood for people they didn’t really know and it restored my faith in humanity.
Overall the two hours I spent in the hospital were two painful, anxiety-filled hours. I’m still freaking out that I’m going to find out I’m dying (arghhh, my brain). But if you don’t donate blood and are a healthy adult – do try doing it. It isn’t a huge task and every healthy adult can donate blood once in 3-4 months. Once you donate, you also get a donation card that you or someone in need can present to get blood in an unfortunate situation. Another good initiative to sign up for is organ donation. If you do sign up, please make sure to also keep your family members in the loop because the final decision to do it or not comes down to them.
Are you a blood donor? How has your experience been? If you aren’t, would you consider donating?
PS: My amazing friend Lebogang wrote a beautiful blog review about my blog. I was so moved by her kind words. It would mean the world if you’d go check it out here.