Now, I didn't have the best experience donating blood, but I don't want this to put anyone off. All my problems were caused by the fact that my veins are the size of a pencil lead, and even then I wouldn't always have this hard a time.
On Monday my husband and I donated blood. I explained upthread about how we have a mobile clinic in this city, well, it showed up on Monday! We were driving down the street and I saw the clinic's sign and I said, "It's the blood donor clinic! Turn around, I want to give blood." My husband did turn around and in we went.
He had never donated blood before and I told him he didn't have to, but I wanted to do it. However, without saying anything my husband lined up to donate too. Everything went smoothly for him and he filled his bag quickly. Lucky fellow has nice big veins. I'm glad it went well for him because he donated on the spur of the moment. I had been thinking about this ever since Dottyg started the thread, but I'm just so proud of my husband who did it on the fly.
I have tiny veins, but there is one that is just big enough to draw from. The nurse stuck the good vein and it hurt so much that I teared up. I told her this and she did some subtle adjustment, and the pain went almost completely away. Now I was quite on edge.
My arm still hurt a bit and the bag was filling very slowly. The nurse gently moved the needle again as it had become stuck against the side of my vein, blocking the blood flow. She held the needle so this wouldn't happen, however, since the blood had been moving so slowly it had clotted in the tube, stopping the flow altogether.
I kept getting more and more worried, because I once had a bad experience donating and I was starting to worry that it would happen again. I shared this with the nurse and she was sympathetic about it. There actually wasn't anything to be afraid of this time, but fear isn't always rational. I feel like my mental toughness was eroded by how damned much the needle hurt. I just didn't expect that, as the last time I gave blood it didn't hurt at all.
After two minutes of the bag not filling, the nurse said we would stop. I didn't want to give up but it wasn't working. I filled the bag about 1/4 which is not enough for a transfusion, but the platelets are still useful. I did fill the part that they use to test the blood, so my blood could still be used.
The nurse prepared to take out the needle. "Does it hurt coming out too?" I asked, bracing myself. "No," she said, and gently slid it out. It hurt as much as it did going in and I burst into tears. My husband, who had been drinking juice nearby, came over to comfort me. I was terrified that my vein would leak and my muscle would swell up, which happened to me once (but with a different, smaller vein). After a bit of rest (they don't spring you loose immediately) they helped me up and I went to drink some juice, eat cookies, and calm down.
I was really disappointed that I hadn't filled the bag, but my husband said that if it weren't for me, he wouldn't have donated. He filled the bag, enough for three transfusions. (And I could give one person platelets.)
All in all, a success.
Now I have an etiquette question. At some point after being stuck, I complained of the pain. Now, this is not the worst pain I've ever experienced, not even close really, but I have a low tolerance to certain types of pain. The nurse said, in response to my complaint, "You've never had children, have you."
"No," I said, "No I have not."
Now, at the time I was a little preoccupied, but now that I think about it this really pisses me off. No, I haven't had children. Does that mean every other type of pain is insignificant? Of course not. I resent that she implied this though, because even though it was a momentary pain instead of lasting 12 hours, it was quite different from giving birth anyway. There was no adrenelaine and no epidurals or any painkillers. I'm not saying giving birth is easy, but you just can't compare the two. The most important part is mentally, these two types of pain are completely different.
I didn't really expect the pain, and I didn't prepare myself for it, but basically, I'm still pissed off that she implied that I'm a wuss.