In college I was able to go give blood a few times. It always was a fun and memorable experience. A group of us girls would pile into a car and journey down to the gym or town hall where they were hosting a blood drive. Of course there were all the annoying but familiar questions they ask you each time you give blood. Have you had a tattoo in the last 12 months? Have you traveled to x or y country?
We always had a blast, giggling and cracking jokes throughout the whole process. I’m sure the nurses rolled their eyes to see us come through the doors. Those crazy college students again! They exacted their revenge though, and I at least always seemed to get woozy afterward. Laying down and an OJ always seemed to help everything but my ego.
A little later and older…
Although it’s been a number of years since I’ve been in Canada, I still keep my Canadian Blood Donor card in my wallet. When I arrived back home, I tried to resume this strange tradition, but all the local centers and even the mobile units didn’t have late enough hours for me to go after work. So when I saw the poster at work advertising a Sunday mobile drive at the Youth Chapel at Church, I signed up right away.
Unfortunately this was my first time donating with Blood Source (and in the United States for that matter), which meant I had to fill out all that paperwork again. I felt a little nostalgic today as I walked through the doors. I was continuing the tradition but my blood buddies weren’t there giggling with me. They are scattered across the globe, in Canada, Egypt, and Australia. Maybe our future college reunion could include a sentimental blood drive?
This time too was different for another reason. As a sometimes mature adult I read up on donating FAQ’s and what to do to make it easier. They advised to drink plenty of water in the days preceding donation. Embracing their advice wholeheartedly, yesterday I managed to drink my weight in water and become very familiar with several bathrooms in Bidwell Park. They also advised to drink 16 oz. of water about 30 minutes before you donate. Which meant that I visited the bathroom twice while I was waiting for a free chair to open up at the clinic.
All this hydration really did pay off though. I let the phlebotomist know that I normally get woozy and she had me taking it slow after I was done. (I also think not looking at the needle helped!) I didn’t have any trouble throughout the whole process and other than feeling a little tired the rest of the day, it was a piece of cake. Or rather Gatorade and Chips Ahoy! cookies.