Wednesday, August 20, 2014

This is What Kicking Pants Looks Like

You know how a couple of years ago, everybody picked a theme for their year? Like "This is the Year of Joy!" or "This is the Year of Pretzels!" And you know how I said that my birthday/the beginning of the school year is my New Year's? Yeah? (If not, can you just pretend that you know what I'm talking about? That would be great. Thanks.)

Well, this is my Year of Fear (lessness). I realized it when I was looking over my 36 Things. This year I have a lot going on that's primarily about taking back my dark night of the soul. And someone asked me the other day, why I've chosen to go from as little physical activity to weight training of all things.

My answer was that it was a metaphor. I've been strong, really strong for the past few years. I've survived a whole lot and thrived through most of it. I'm standing taller now than I have for years and years. In short, I am a pretty kickass lady. Except that it's all metaphorical. I'm metaphorically strong and physically pitiful. I'm going to change that. (If it kills me, which, you know, right after a day at the gym, it kinda feels like it might.)

So, let me tell you about why I've never given blood:

It's freakin' scary.

No, really. I once passed out when I was having blood taken for testing. My arm felt like it was on fire and the fire spread to my head and I thought I was going to throw up, but luckily(?) I passed out instead. When I woke up, I had a very annoyed phlebotomist, a cold compress and the world's tiniest apple juice cup.

I don't like needles. I don't like the way it looks when they pierce your skin. I don't like the way the skin depresses and then seems to suck itself up around the needle.

I don't like tourniquets. They make my hand hurt. Yes, my hand. For a long time.

I don't like the smell of rubbing alcohol.

And I mean, really, that's just for a couple of little vials with some kind of sludge in their bottoms. I couldn't even imagine the horror of someone sucking out an entire bag of blood. Plus, I've watched enough vampire movies and shows about nice guy vampires to not be able to picture those things in any context other than being ripped open by someone's teeth.

So, today, facing my fear like a big girl, I walked into a bloodmobile. (I can't believe my spell check knows what that is, but has a problem with kickass.) Anyway, I walked in and sat down and started answering questions. My hands were shaking so badly that I dropped everything they gave me. Literally. My thermometer hit the floor.

By the time we got to the mini-physical, my legs were shaking too. When it looked for a moment like my surgery in April might disqualify me, I nearly burst into tears. I was afraid that it I walked out, that would be it and I'd never get up the nerve to give again. I was relieved that I might leave without a hole in my arm. Mostly, I was just too scared to answer questions.

It all turned out fine, though and I went to lay on the couch-y thing. The worst part was the waiting. Next time, I'm taking a book. Is that rude?
Look at that bandage. It's a blue badge of courage.

I got a brownie out of it, though. And a tee shirt. And, of course, the knowledge that someone, somewhere might need that blood and I might just keep them from bleeding out. (Or starving to death, I'm not discounting vampires.) Mostly, though, I got the knowledge that I could take this terrifying thing and stare it in the eye and with a wavery voice and shaking knees, and say, "Come at me."


Suze said...

I can't give blood. It's a waste of a needle (the whole passing out thing is very, very true for me).
A couple of months ago I got a call from the bone marrow registry because I put myself on file as a college student many years ago and it looked like they found a match who needed my marrow. I would do it in a heartbeat (esp since my SIL is a Hodgkins survivor) but I was kind of scared at the prospect of the medical procedure. They ended up not calling me back, either because they found a better match or the patient went with a different treatment option, at least I can only presume as much. It was kind of a defining moment, though.

Jessi said...

Now that is brave. I'm just gonna take this one step at a time.

Anonymous said...

Very Proud of you. I know that is a big step but just remember it does get easier. Once you get to the gallon club you'll be an oldish pro. Remember with weight training proper form over heavier weights. I know that you will do it right, you just have that kind of mind.