I made my appointment at the beginning of the week. 2:15, Thursday, May 5th at Columbus Bank. There was no turning back now. I had given blood before about six years ago while I was in college. The student center held a drive. I am not normally nervous or squeamish about needles, but I remember that day. I remember sitting through the health questions, my heart starting to race. It was time to sit back in the big blue chair, stay calm and start the donation. The needle went in and I couldn’t help but watch my blood pump into the huge bag below. I walked out with a pink bandage on my arm feeling like I did something great. I had.
Six years later I was a lot calmer than my initial donation. I stepped into Central Jersey Blood Center’s mobile station. I sat down with a laptop and filled out some health questions. I was taken into a small room and sat with a nurse. I signed a form and had my finger pricked, my temperature and my blood pressure taken. I was to meet with Doreen for the donation. Doreen completely lightened up the situation. I could tell she’s a tough broad. A no bull type of Italian woman. She was hilarious.
I only started to get nervous when Doreen was trying to find my veins. I remember always having a problem with deep veins and doctors and nurses taking forever to find them. We went from the left arm, to the right arm, back to the left arm and finally Doreen found a vein. She told me, “I’m going to try this one, but I can’t promise you anything.” The thought of being turned away was sad enough. The thought of being pricked with a needle and then turned away was worse! But my blood started pumping, I sat back and relaxed and talked with Doreen and everyone else in the mobile station.
Before I knew it Doreen was telling me I was done. I joked and asked her if she could do the other arm because I didn’t want to go back to work. She told me “Not with your invisible veins!” I got bandaged in purple, was handed a cup of apple juice and took a chocolate cookie bar back to work with me.
While most people will be out celebrating Cinco de Mayo with a pint of alcohol, I celebrated with a pint of blood. Despite the soreness in my arm and being slightly exhausted, I am feeling good. I have an official donor’s card and can donate again in 58 days. I have given back to my community and hopefully my blood will help save someone’s life.