When I give blood, I always feel a little nervous. Not just about the actual donation but the self-explanatory finger prick test beforehand, which ascertains whether your iron levels are high enough to donate. Needless to say, the test is as quick as flicking a light switch, my iron levels are always rosy (pun fully intended) and before I know it I’m stuffing my face with biscuits after a successful donation.
Only yesterday it didn’t go as I had planned. Let me start from the beginning. Only the previous day, my old friend/desk partner Katy and I had agreed to meet up for lunch. I mentioned to her that I was hoping to give blood later and did she want to come and keep me company? As it turned out, she was planning to give blood once back at uni, and was now understandably in two minds about whether to stick to that plan, or go ahead and join me.
So Katy came along for the ride thinking she might try it, and I thought to myself, I’ll show her how it’s done, set the example, you know. We arrived, filled in the paperwork, drank lots of water, and then separately went to have our fingers pricked. Blood oozing on my finger, I waited with the nurse for the blood in the chemicals to sink within 15 seconds with the weight of all the iron. Like last time, it didn’t. Unlike last time, the following sample taken from my arm didn’t prove the test wrong, and showed that my iron levels were too low. What?! The nurse kept telling me not to worry. Bit late for that…In hindsight, fretting about any danger associated with the sterilising solution getting into either of the pricks on my skin was stupid. As many blood donating nurses must know, when I worry, I natter all kinds of rubbish.
Katy, meanwhile, was hooked up to a needle wondering why I was taking so long. I sat beside her and lamented my tale of woe. This was not how it was supposed to be. I was going to donate, and she – now shifting between sympathy and smugness (!!!) – had only come to keep me company! I hadn’t bargained for any role reversal. I could only point out the irony to her, to which she replied: the IRON-y. Ha, ha, ha.
After a reviving snack/consolation prize of biscuits and crisps, we left. I had entered feeling protective of my friend in her state of nervousness, but also rather pleased with all the successful donations behind me. I can’t deny I think my head will take a while to re-inflate. Not helped by a certain friend of mine saying I needed to have her back in case she felt dizzy. Because, you know, she HAD just given blood. I wish I could find a billion responses to that, but right now, I only have one: Katy, I really hope you are reading this and feeling suitably satisfied. Because this one’s for you.