Like I said yesterday, I went to the Bloodmobile to give blood. And unlike last time, I actually made a successful donation! Last time, the lady thought I was too scared, so she sent me away.
I signed up for an 11:30 AM time slot, so I could get out of class a little early. They made me fill out a questionnaire, which had a lot of questions about HIV and other blood-related diseases that I don't have. Then, they made me read the two-page disclaimer, which looked like this:
Side effects of giving blood usually last for fifteen minutes, but you must keep your donor information on hand for the next three weeks. Common side effects include light-headedness, fainting, a sudden desire to play the tuba, and lack of blood. Drink plenty of fluids, and avoid strenous activities like sports, tap-dancing, and looking up something on Wikipedia.
The doctor leaves you alone while you read the two-page disclaimer, and of course, when I was waiting for the doctor to come back, I was having horrible visions of myself fainting in the middle of dinner, and then getting mashed potatoes all over my face. Having to avoid stairs for the rest of the day seemed like a challenge, too, seeing as I live on the third floor.
Then the doctor came back in to check my blood pressure and temperature and stuff, and he pricked my finger to get a drop of blood, so he could check my hemoglobin. I believe his exact words were, "Yep, that's hemoglobin, all right.". The finger-prick isn't all that bad, because it barely cuts into the skin; they only need one drop of blood, so it's a very light prick. I've done this for doctors three times in the past, and it's no big deal.
Well, that was the easy part. Then came the tough part: giving a pint of blood.
Mr. Doctor found the vein in my right arm, and he drew on the vein with blue marker. I've never had anyone draw on my arm before, and let me tell you: it's not the greatest confidence booster in the world when your doctor marks you up with a Sharpee. He then cleaned up my arm, which erased all of his artwork, and I was wondering why he drew on my arm in the first place when he put the needle in.
My reaction was not, "Ow!", it was more of an annoyed, "Hey, you didn't warn me first!"
The needle doesn't hurt. Instead of feeling painful, it feels more...weird, because you have this needle sticking out of your arm for ten minutes. And the good news is that you feel less than you normally would, because there's not as much blood going through your arm at the moment.
The whole time, the doctor had me squeeze a stress ball, to make sure the blood was pumping. Maybe having a stress ball helped, too.
Eventually, the doctor said I was done, and he removed all the equipment. Then he made me sit in the rest area, which had free food and stickers, which I got to impress all the kids at the local elementary school (they weren't impressed). After fifteen minutes, I left the bus, and that's basically it, except for me being more light-headed and thirsty for the rest of the day.
In conclusion, giving blood totally doesn't hurt, and you should do it, because it's a great way to help other people and save lives.