Put on Your Big Girl Panties and Give Blood

Confession: I am terrified of needles, or more so, the knowledge of impending pain. And that’s why I will painstakingly admit to confession #2, that even though ‘giving blood’ was on my bucket list, I really had no intention of ever completing this goal.

This is when I realized that, even though I claim to always be up for a challenge, sometimes even I need a little assistance to give me the security and strength. Enter…my mom…my blood-sucking courage.

She had given blood many times before and convinced me that the feeling of saving lives would far outweigh the fear of that damn needle piercing my poor, unscathed arm. Though she said this, I was well aware that she was really just after the free catered meal that followed my blood being evacuated from my veins.
Annette White giving blood

We were greeted at the community center by a cordial Blood Bank of the Redwoods volunteer and the tiniest bottle of water that I had ever seen.

After the minimal paperwork, which confirmed that I wasn’t a needle-sharing prostitute (phew…my husband will be happy), I was shuffled over to the nurse who was to “test” my blood for the appropriate levels of iron.

Truth be told, I was hoping that I had not eaten enough leafy greens that day and would be denied for giving blood that day. Even the thought of my finger being pricked sent my heart racing, how the heck did I ever jump out of a plane? Iron Level?…Good…damn.
giving blood needle

I have to give kudos to the volunteers who were so accommodating to my annoying requests; to place my chair adjoining my moms, to use the smallest needle possible while giving blood (they said they did, but may have been fibbing) and to take as many photos possible to document this once in a lifetime (literally) experience.

I covered my eyes as they punctured my mom first, swearing that I was not going to look. But, by now I should know myself better.

I quickly glanced over at the ‘car wreck’ that I couldn’t avoid. Damn. Damn. Damn. Why did I look? The drinking-straw-size needle (I swear) that was sticking out of her dainty arm made me want to poop my pants. The nurse swore that my needle was smaller, but her devilish eyes said differently.
Annette White giving blood

Turns out the anticipation was far worse than the pain, isn’t that the case most of the time? With my needle in, I was told to relax for the next 7-8 minutes until my one pint of blood (enough to save 3 lives) was withdrawn.

That left me with only one last concern, fainting right after the procedure.
Annette White holding blood sample

catered meal after giving bloodDon’t ask where these anxieties come from, I really don’t know. I arose from my lounge chair slowly, fully expecting to feel hazy, but there was nothing. Really, nothing. We headed over to the hodge podge of grub, suited for a children’s birthday party, and I quickly reached for the Chips Ahoy feeling that I deserved to indulge in this sugary, high calorie treat. I just got done giving blood for Gods sake! Todays blood-giving special also featured pesto penne, chicken parmesan and Caesar salad. Hello! Why didn’t they advertise this as a special deal on Groupon?

proof sticker after giving bloodUpon exit, we were warned to take it easy for the next 24 hours and drink lots of water. Believe me, I milked every minute of the “I just gave blood” cow, just short of lying on the couch watching soap operas and eating a pint of gelato (in honor of the amount of blood I just gave).

A week later, I am so proud to have not let fear hold me back and grateful to my mother who pushed me through. With that said, the thought of giving blood again stills makes me want to crap.

Is giving blood on your bucket list?


Being Grateful: 100 Things to Be Thankful For Today

2018-12-20T21:36:12+00:00March 2nd, 2011|Categories: LIFESTYLE|Tags: |


  1. Miranda March 2, 2011 at 9:04 am - Reply

    Congrats on overcoming your fears! I have to look away when they do the poking as well. And now that I've seen your laying on the couch watching soap operas and eating Ben and Jerry's, I'm so doing that going forward.

  2. CeCe March 3, 2011 at 1:14 am - Reply

    For me the hardest part of the blood donation process were the fingersticks to check for my iron.  Those hurt more for me for some reason. 

    I draw a lot of blood at work, give a lot of blood transfusions, work with a lot of needles, but whenever I have to get poked I cannot look!  I am often asked, "But you're a nurse!  Don't you deal with needles all day!"  I say, "Yeah I deal with needles but they aren't going into me!" 

    They used a 20 gauge needle for you, when I donate blood they usually use a 16 gauge or 18 gauge (the lower the number, the bigger the needle…confusing huh?!?!).  When I donated my stem cells they had to put in two honkin' 14 gauge needles.  We don't even carry that on my unit!  But good for you for donating…..I used to do it regularly before my stem cell donation, then they made me stop. 

  3. Elle March 3, 2011 at 5:38 pm - Reply

    Good for you!  Unfortunately, due to my medical condition I am unable to donate blood.  A part of me wishes that I could, but a huge part of me also knows that I'm a big wuss.

  4. 101 Things Before I Die March 3, 2011 at 9:26 pm - Reply

    I agree with CeCe-the finger stick hurts the most!  And even though I don't really have a fear of needles, I never really look when they stick me.  It's just strange to think that that bag is MY blood.

  5. Bucket List Journey » Bucket List of 8 Ways to Give July 18, 2011 at 10:03 pm - Reply

    […] Give Blood Even though donating one pint of blood can save up to three lives, only 3 out of every 100 Americans […]

  6. Bucket List Journey » 10 Favorite Bucket List Experiences October 24, 2011 at 7:03 am - Reply

    […] Give Blood The possibility of saving three lives was reason enough to set aside my needle-phobia and give […]

  7. 543 Bucket List Ideas. No More Excuses. December 29, 2012 at 4:27 pm - Reply

    […] Give Blood […]

  8. Kerry July 8, 2014 at 1:52 pm - Reply

    I probably get off easy for two reasons: Number 1. I have the “medical exemption” excuse and Number 2. When I have given blood for my own need I am visually impaired and unable to see the needle going in (many people’s biggest fear about the whole experience). I have been told, when getting my first needles as a child, that they were going to use a “Butterfly” needle and this was supposed to make me feel better…the more dainty of the needle choices. Thank you to all who give blood to save lives. People like my brother and myself owe you big time.

  9. Irene February 26, 2015 at 1:42 pm - Reply

    The finger stick definitely hurts worse. Still no biggie, compared to how my blood helps others 🙂

  10. Kevin S August 22, 2016 at 12:44 pm - Reply

    Currently, I can’t donate blood, due to active duty military service in Europe. At one time, cattle with https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bovine_spongiform_encephalopathy aka mad cow disease were destroyed and then fed to other animals. This was commonly done in the UK. The assumption is that the DoD purchased European beef and service members ate ‘tainted’ meat.

    • Annette White August 22, 2016 at 4:23 pm - Reply

      Wow! That’s interesting and thank you for your service 🙂

Leave A Comment