My experience at Fontbonne has been full of personal “firsts”: the first time I jousted with a classmate in an inflatable ring (Springfest, 2009), the first time I ate birthday cake for the Baby Jesus (Christmas around Campus, 2008), and the first time I asked a friend to feign mental illness for a class project (Interviewing and Counseling, 2008.) Today was a different sort of first, which I’m nonetheless really glad I finally managed: my first time donating blood.
You see, the psychology club makes a point of hosting a blood drive on a fairly regular basis, and everytime I see flyers for it, I want to go. Then, inevitably, I have class while it’s happening, or I can’t convince my needle-phobic friends to come with me, or I find some other easily-justifiable excuse to skip the good-deed-doing. It doesn’t help that my sister (who is queen of the needle-phobic folks, and to whom I tend to be ridiculously similar) passes out at pretty much the mere mention of blood. Or that a friend of mine had serious medical issues following participation in a poorly-monitored blood drive in New York. Personally, I may not be terrified of needles, but the idea of landing prostrate on the gym floor post-donation has always unnerved me a bit.
But today, I finally set all that aside and marched myself over to the gym. (The “I can’t find anyone to come with me and captain the smelling salts!” excuse is — not surprisingly — especially ridiculous at Fontbonne, where you are likely to know everyone at the drive, even if you make no plans of meeting anyone there.) As it turns out, the whole process — for me at least — turned out to be relatively painless. Some waiting, some poking, a whole lot of explaining that I hadn’t left the country, been imprisoned, or suffered malaria recently — and voila! Blood donated. Many thanks, pizza slices, and gulps of juice followed, and I continued on with my day.
The best part, which I learned from the employee who signed me in, is that the donation I gave today could save up to 3 lives. (Seriously? Not bad for less than an hour of my time.) And when I add three more lives for every other person there while I was, and again for every person there before and after, I really start to get excited about the small impact we all made today. I know it won’t be small for the people it affects, and frankly, I’m doing fine without the blood. They can keep it.
Plus? The red tape on my arm totally makes me look like a rock-star. Bonus.