Once I arrived at Newcastle's Blood Donor Centre, I was asked to drink a pint of water and to read some paperwork with important information about the procedure. I was asked it if was my first time, and advised to eat some crisps beforehand, so I wouldn't lose too many salts during the process. I chose the salt and vinegar ones, since the other option was cheese and onion. Then, it was a matter of waiting for the nurses to call your name.
I began to feel anxious about the outcome of this experience the moment I sat on that chair. Would they find my veins? Would they have to prick my skin more than once? Was I going to pass out?
I was so impressed with the caring staff, who were trying to make me feel as comfortable as possible. However, once the nurse put the tourniquet around my arm and tried to find a vein, as soon as she shook her head I started shivering, involuntary! I literally could not stop. I apologised and explained that the reason I was nervous was due to the stress of finding the veins. As soon as that needle was in, I'd be fine.
We tried the right arm, and the nurse shook her head. We decided to try the left one, to which she simply said 'if you ever come back, don't even bother with your left arm!'
At this point, I wasn't even sure if it was going to happen. I thought I'd just be sent home with a pat on my head and some oh, well...we tried shoulder movements.
But this nurse was DETERMINED TO GET THAT VEIN! We tried again on the right arm and there it was.... it had worked! With a tiny, little flow at first, but I was given a stress ball and asked to squeeze it continually, which increased the flow to the desired percentages. Then, it was finally time to put my head back and relax. I talked with the nurses about all sorts of things, including whether or not this Spice Girls reunion tour was a good idea. I also listened to smooth radio, and the next thing I know, the time is up!
I couldn't believe it! It felt like 3 or 4 minutes, but I was told in the beginning that it would take between 10 and 15 minutes, depending on how things went. Next thing I know, I checked the time and I'd been there for 12 minutes. How? I don't know!
The nurses congratulated me on my bravery, while I thought to myself 'sure, why not? I could save a life with this. Why wouldn't I be doing it?'
Before I stood up, the nurses moved my chair back into a 'seated' position, and I was kindly asked if I'd prefer orange or apple juice. The nurses kindly prepared my drink, and I was offered a choice of snacks: biscuits, crisps and chocolate. I had another tiny packet of crisps, sea salted this time.
A few minutes went by, and I felt great to walk out of there. I was't dizzy, I wasn't feeling disoriented...I felt proud of myself! I was ready to walk out of there, and this feeling of gratitude just filled me in.
I thanked all the nurses, in particular the poor lady who had the challenge of my complicated veins assigned to her. She said goodbye with a humorous 'let me know in advance the next time you come, so I can book the day off!', and I couldn't help but laugh and think...'Nah....I won't make it that easy for you'.