Saturday, July 3, 2010

A Worthwhile Prick

I have a rather overwhelming fear of needles. It’s an anticipation thing, and a pain thing, and ultimately an ick thing. I got so worked up when I last went to get a tetanus shot the doctor had to hand me a toy she normally gave 6 year olds and ask me to press the buttons to distract me. I know I’m not made for life or death situations, for high-powered decisions, or very possibly for the experience of giving birth, because if I was I think I would have gotten over the needle thing by now.

When I was at high school a friend once asked me whether I donated blood and I laughed at the absurd concept. Even writing that feels rather selfish, and I can’t help but judge teenaged me a tiny bit.

My father has recently become intimate with the joy of blood transfusions. He doesn’t sit in a hospital for hours getting a foreign substance pumped into his veins for the fun of it – he does it so he can lead a normal life and continue to be the awesome, quietly intellectual, utterly generous dad that I know and love.

I’m that special brand of stupid that required a physical example to snap me out of my selfish streak. The fact that my dad’s health and quality of life has been assured by the assistance of random, anonymous strangers who owed him absolutely nothing had me staring into space for an hour (sorry new employers, that was on your dime).

I decided to suck it up, get over the ick and sign on to donate blood. I was so chuffed with myself I rang my father straight after booking and told him I was doing it. He said he thought that was a nice idea, especially as he’d recently had to stop after giving his own blood for years.

Everyone at the blood bank was so chilled out about what they were doing. I may have thrown them a little when I sprinted through the front door and nearly knocked someone over as I scrambled to the bathroom. In my nervousness in the lead-up that morning I had taken their advice to stay hydrated a little too seriously, so much so that as the woman slid the needle into my skin she muttered under her breath “Wow, you really are hydrated”. It should also be noted that my blood spatter/CSI/vampire/Twilight gags all fell flat on the day.

And then, after 10 minutes of staring pointedly at anything but my arm, it was done. People that say “It doesn’t hurt” are benevolent liars – it does, but not enough to justify not doing it.

As I exited the staff even whipped me up a chocolate milkshake, and I couldn’t help but wonder if in the blood-milkshake exchange, I had got the better end of the deal. And there’s the fact that I also got my father, so with the dad-milkshake double, it hardly feels like I gave them anything in return at all.

Painefull Out


  1. sent over here by mrs. woog... and I must say this is some brilliant writing... will be following to see what else you come up with.

  2. It took my sister an entire day to convince me to go and donate, I have the "fear" too... So we walked around town with her slowly leading me toward the clinic without me knowing, and then she finally bribed me with something that MUST have been otherworldly... and we walked in. The lady there said that the clinic is only staffed Wed and Thurs and we were there on Monday. Of course.

    I had forgotten about that though... perhaps I could get up the guts for another visit...

  3. Beautifully written post. And it does hurt, doesn't it? I used to give blood until they stopped inviting me back. I'm notoriously hard to draw. It usually takes an experienced bloodletter and several pokes before they can hit one of my deep-set roly poly veins. I hope your father does well.

  4. what? They give you milkshakes? *Rolls up sleeve and runs out of door*

    Giving blood is something I used to do when i lived in the UK...and something I haven't looked into since living out in Lapland. I really should. A good reminder, thanks.

  5. Hi Jess, It is nice to see some of my good bloggy friends reading your post.
    Love your sister
    Mrs Woog

  6. Great job! You'll have made your Pops proud beyond belief. I am also tragically needle-phobe but fortunately prone to anemia so the blood bank rejects me. Sad that.

    I'm going to follow your blog even though I'm a mummed up old Xer who has no business associating with fresh young Yers.

  7. Got to love it when big sisters lend you their street cred!

    Thanks to the marvelous Mrs Woog for the blog love (and, most importantly, the pizza on Saturday night) and to everyone else for dropping in.

    Heather... it was liking walking into the promised land - milkshakes, and chocolates, and chips, oh my.