Donating blood is like giving life to a stranger, it’s selfless. You give a bit of you to someone else, so that they can make it. It allows for a perceived connection, as if somehow we are all simply united and similar in the basic aspect of blood. I have never donated blood for anyone else other than myself. I would if I could, but I’ve had a few tattoos done, and I’ve been in Africa a few times, which means I can’t for at least another year or so.
The first time I donated blood for myself, was when I was thirteen. My surgery was scheduled a month a way, and in that month I had to donate two times, 1 liter of blood each time. I had no problem during my first visit to the blood bank, it was smooth, pretty much in and out.
The second time wasn’t as easy. I sat down on the chair with my arm facing up squeezing a ball as the nurse searched for my vein. She of course couldn’t find my vein as easily as I would have hoped, which lead to me feeling like a piece of wood with a wood pecker, pecking away at my arm, and oh how unfortunate it was. It was that persistent digging that left a giant bruise, as well as a sore arm.
Eventually she did find my vein, and I managed to donate the second liter. Once I was done, I was given orange juice and a cookie and was told to stay seated for at least 5 more minutes. I sat there eating and drinking and when my time was up, I stood up slowly and then slowly fell down again. All I remember was a herd of people heading my way, and then darkness.
I don’t know how long I was out; probably just a few seconds, but finalizing the blood donation marked the last step before surgery. I was done, at that point I only had a few more weeks to go, and I would finally have my surgery done.