I sat on the hard chairs for what seemed hours, nervously twisting my ID and registration papers in my hands.
My best friend sat beside me, not nearly as nervous.
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She had done this before.
Then, they finally called both of us into the questioning room.
We were going to give blood through the American Red Cross.
I had tried to donate blood the year before, but I wasn't suitable for donation. This year, after what seemed like hundreds of questions, I was given the go ahead.
The nurse helped me lie down on the gurney, and started prepping my arm. I was a little scared — after all, my definition of fun does not include needles being stuck into any part of my body.
After the first prick, I was ready to donate, for which I was grateful. Immediately, blood started flowing down the tube to an unseen bag that was below the gurney.
For a long moment, I stared, totally fascinated. Finally, I just laid my head back and relaxed, still squeezing the little rubber ball to keep my blood flowing.
After she collected a pint, the nurse unhooked me from the apparatus. Then she let me lie there until she felt I was ready to go down to the "recovery area" (some gym mats on the floor).
So, why did I do it? Not to get out of class, or because my friends were all doing it. I did it because I am in good health, and I wanted to be able to share my blood with people who needed it.
Tips for first-time donors
- Must be 17 years old or older
- Must weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health
Before the donation
- Before donating, maintain a healthy iron level in your diet
- Eat a healthy meal before you donate
- Drink an extra 16 ounces of liquid before and after you donate