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Two Sides to Every Coin

My last (and first) blood donation went so smoothly, I never would have imagined the utterĀ Fail I got today. I’m reluctant to even talk about it, because I don’t want to discourage anyone from donating if you are able to do so.

One fun thing about donating is I feel like I get a free ‘mini-physical.’ As a new vegetarian, it’s good to know my hemoglobin counts are still in a good range. Also, I was thrilled to see my resting heart rate is now 65! Pretty low considering 2 months ago it was 80 and that I was still a little nervous when they recorded it. Glad to know my body is appreciating my work outs! My blood pressure is also down 10 points in both systolic and diastolic.

But, they had trouble getting my vein to cooperate. And I stupidly looked as she was moving the needle around under my skin to try to get to a good area. I usually have no issue with needles/blood, but this time I got really queasy, and just decided I needed to try again in a couple weeks. I was just not in the mental state to do it after going through that pain and grossness. I should have not looked and also eaten a bigger lunch. While I love liquid meals, should have had more than soup just today. As the nurse said ‘Girl, you can eat like a bird every other day, but you need to go to town on blood donating days.’

This makes me feel like quoting The Notebook….”If you’re a bird, I’m a bird” ; )

So, since my arm hurt, I decided I needed to go to wine tasting dowtown. Yay Friday. This morning, the arm is pretty bruised and I have a gross blood blister where the needle was fishing around. I definitely don’t feel as happy as I did after my last donation – it was a lot to go through without even getting to help someone. I just hope after I have a couple weeks to forget I’ll still be motivated to give again. I mean, someone has to do it, and luckily I’m in pretty good health and am not afraid of needles (on a normal day…), so I’m a pretty good candidate.

At least I still got a cookie!

Peace,

Karen

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First Time Blood Donor, Holla?!

Greeting Earthlings, today I’m going to tell you a little story about my first time donating blood. It all went down Friday afternoon….

I survived! And got an outfit-matching bandage

So, it’s been a goal of mine to donate since I was a senior in high school and a lot of my friends donated at a high school blood drive. Pretty much since then I’ve been making excuses about why I can’t donate – usually involving low blood pressure and low hemoglobin. They were things that were definitely true at one time in my life, and I clung to their possibility as a reason not to face my fears.

So, contrary to the norm, I love needles. Maybe love is too strong of a word, but I have no beef with them at all. I consider needle prick pain to be amusing. I like to watch them give it and stare with scientific curiosity. What I was really scared in terms of donating blood was how I’d feel after. I was afraid I’d pass out or feel kind of out of it and not be able to do normal activities for a couple days.

Over the last few months I’ve made several appointments to donate and just didn’t show up because I was kind of afraid. I thought Friday was going to be the same story until this song came up on Pandora right as the clock struck 2:

I'll Make a Man Out of You, from Mulan. AH!

Then I began to feel guilty. Guilty for potentially wasting the time of the people who worked there, ashamed of myself for letting fear dictate my life. I realized that it was silly to fear the outcome of something that I hadn’t even experienced. I should face the fear, try it once, and if it is awful I never have to do it again. It was time to man up. And …. I figured after going mostly vegetarian I’d fail the hemoglobin test anyway < — yep, I’m crafty.

But….I didn’t. My hemoglobin was surprisingly high for being a veggie-lovah (14.9?! the min is 12.5). So, it definitely wasn’t the cause of last week’s funk. Yay spinach, right?!

And so I had to face the chair. The funniest part of the whole ordeal was when 2 nurses were strapping up both my arms to see what vein was better – totally reminded me of a draining scene from True blood or something.

After the initial ‘haha, ow you’re stabbing my arm’, I couldn’t really tell I was giving blood at all. I just sat there pumping my feet like they said, rolling a ball in my hand to get the blood flowing, gulping down water, and chatting and laughing with the nurses. I never felt faint or lightheaded at all – fears totally unwarranted. It was scary when I saw other people’s bags of blood or my own….because it looks like a hell of a lot of blood….so I really just tried not to look and felt fine.

Later in the day I felt a little amusingly lightheaded and a tad spacier than usual like I had a glass of wine or something. But nothing to write home about, and I’m definitely glad I did it! I hope whoever is on the receiving end enjoys my super awesome blood – fortified with awesome (not from concentrate!).

At the end of the day I felt a mini high from the joy and pride of conquering a fear. The fact that it helped someone else is extra awesome on the top of the awesome cake (can you tell I like that word?). I definitely encourage you all to think rationally about some of the things you want to do and are scared of – often times the fear is unwarranted. And, it’s silly to be afraid of things you think may happen without at least trying it out once (unless we’re talking about jumping out of a plane without a parachute or something, be sort of rational….).

Next post will be my weekend eats/workouts/new goals I’m working towards. Peace Out.