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My Blood Drive Experience

Annika Ellis, Writer

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My appointment to donate blood on December 8 was at 8:30 a.m. During first period, I was convinced I was going to throw up. Three times. To say I felt nervous would be an understatement. However, it was something I felt really strongly about. My mom had a blood transfusion after a terrible accident when she was younger, and it saved her life. I was more than willing to deal with my own nervousness and temporary discomfort if it could help someone else.

When I got down to Pentucket’s mini gym at 8:15, I checked in with a few members of my school’s student council. They asked me a few simple questions that would have immediately disqualified me as a donor: “Do you have any cold symptoms?”, “Did you eat a good breakfast?”, “Have you gotten any shots in the last month?”

Once I got past that, they gave me a sticker with my name on it to place on a table and a lengthy packet to read from cover-to-cover. The list of possible things that could go wrong after getting blood drawn terrified me, but everyone insisted it would be fine.

Some of my older friends were there early as well. We laid around, playing Uno and drinking water to stay hydrated. One side of the room had booths with computers set up, and the middle, aside from the waiting area, had 6 cushiony tables, similar to those you sit on at a doctor’s appointment.

At 9:30, I ended up switching times with another student who needed to get back to class for a presentation, which meant more waiting for me! Yay!

When my name was finally called, I walked into one of the small booths with a nurse who was very nice. She pricked my finger, which hurt a lot less than I thought it would as a person who is very sensitive to pain. The nurse then left the booth so I could answer a series of questions on the computer, which asked about more random things that could disqualify me from donating blood.

Once I had completed that set of questions, another nurse came over to me. She asked me how I was feeling, and even though I had already talked to her about it earlier, I admitted I was very nervous. She was extremely nice, and convinced me it’d be fine before asking the other nurses that she assisted me when it came time to take my blood.

My mom later admitted to me that she was 95% sure I was going to pass out, and that she waited by her phone all day for a phone call, so I guess the outcome wasn’t the worst thing to possibly occur.

After all these hours of waiting and nervousness, I lay down on the table. The nurse checked around for veins in my left arm, before switching to my right. And then switching to my left again. And then switching to my right arm…again. At this point, I was slightly concerned. She then explained to me that she could not find a vein large enough to draw blood from without causing me extreme discomfort, so we went with the safe option.

Even though I did not get to actually donate blood, it was definitely a great experience. I talked to people I wouldn’t typically talk to, and I know many other people did too. All day, I witnessed my peers chatting, comforting, and distracting each other from the fact that a tube was sucking blood out of their bodies. And of course, the donated blood goes to saving lives, which is why I would recommend the blood drive to anyone even on the fence of donating blood. Make sure to drink water, sleep well, and eat a hearty breakfast beforehand! We can all deal with a little bit of discomfort every once in a while to help another person survive.

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My Blood Drive Experience