I conquered a long-term fear today... I donated blood.
Me and needles don't get along. It's all in the mind, I know, but it doesn't matter. I've been known to come close to passing out with a simple blood draw.
It didn't used to be that way. I used to be able to watch nurses give me injections and such. But then there was the second time I tried to give blood, 20+ years ago...
I'm overweight, my veins tend to not be overly visible, and they roll. When they tried to take blood last time, it took three attempts in one arm, two more in the other, and then the blood quit flowing after about five seconds (flesh plug in the needle). When they saw how white I was, they decided that perhaps another attempt wouldn't be a good idea.
Ever since then, blood drives, flu shots, innoculations, you name it... major stress points for me. Ironic that I have a son with type 1 diabetes that injects himself every day. Doesn't matter... I still focus on the needle. Oh, and the guilt... I'm type O negative. Universal donor.
Two weeks ago I decided that it was time to put this behind me (or at least see if I still pass out). I signed up for the blood drive and couldn't find any good reason to back out today. After answering all those highly personal questions they are required to pose to you now, I told them they had one chance to get this right. Any problems with finding veins, and it would be the last time I'd ever see the Red Cross chaise lounges again. Armed with that knowledge and challenge, they started me out completely flat so that I'd have little chance to get light-headed.
And it worked. The initial stick wasn't bad at all, and she nailed the vein on the first try. A slight adjustment about five minutes in got the blood flowing at a swift rate, and it was done before I knew it. I stood up with no ill effects, the volunteer didn't have to catch me, and I was able to enjoy my water and cookie without wearing it.
Of course, now I have no reason not to be donating every couple of months...