Donating blood: an experience to remember

Jorge Hoolahan, Troy InVoice Reporter

The Pit is usually an area where some of the champions of Auburn High School hone their skills. But twice a year this beautifully aged section of AHS is used by the staff of the Puget Sound Blood Center to save lives. I write about my adventure that was donating blood.
As soon as I walked into the Pit, I was greeted by what seemed to be student volunteers who took a quick gander at my permission slip (if underage) and directed me where I had to go first. A tip from my experience is if signed in pencil like mine, one must have the form photocopied in the office first. Then you wait. One of three people will call you to their desk which consists of a desk, and what would look like a computer server is actually about ten or twenty bulky tablets charging on their stations. These people will tell you what you need to know and what you need to do, such as reading the educational materials. Once completed, a staff member will hand you an electronic tablet equipped with a stylus and barcode reader on which you will answer 15-20 questions, all of them confidential and extremely awkward, the questions I skipped were addressed when they called my number. When that task was completed, I turned in my tablet to a woman at a desk and got to wait another 15 to 20 minutes until they called my number (I had four).
When my number was called I was escorted to a makeshift booth that consisted of a table and large black folders for semi-privacy. Then came the most painful part of my brief experience donating blood, the finger prick. I hate needles but this device is diabolical, it acts as a glass breaker but for the skin, push until the spring is clicked and sends what felt like a small plastic needle a millimeter into my bony finger. It really did hurt worse than the actual donating. Once my iron levels were determined and it was confirmed not to be anemic, a nurse put me on a cot and gave me the option of which arm I could like to donate from and I instinctively chose the left, my bad arm. When I was laid down on the cot my nurse was telling me every step.
“Don’t tell me just do it,” I told her, but she did not have to speak because I felt her sterilizing my vein and then a slight sting. I thought it was not over so I refused to look until I felt something linear on my arm that was pretty warm so I looked over and it was my own blood, the tube from the protruding vein was taped to my arm to prevent disturbance of the needle. I was asked to lift my leg and squeeze a ball to help blood flow. I was chatting with a fellow donor who was next to me and about ten minutes after she was done someone told me to stop squeezing the ball. When I looked at the bag of blood I was shocked to find out it was plump and full looking like it was ready to explode. I had to slowly get off the cot so I would not pass out and then I got to sit at a table full of delicious snacks and drinks but I was in a rush, though, I didn’t want to miss geometry. So I left, dizzy and frantic. My advice to someone donating blood is to make sure to go to lunch or you will be very fatigued.