Bring on the spiders, keep the needles

I donate blood Dec. 5 during the annual Holiday Blood Drive Challenge at the Grand Forks County Building. Submitted photo.

The shiny metal object came barreling toward my skin, and I couldn’t bear to watch it sink into my flesh.

I felt the prick, acknowledged the blood flowing out of my being and waited for the world to end.

Surprise. It didn’t end.

I’m sure donating blood isn’t as dramatic of an experience for everyone, but when you have an aversion to needles like myself, things such as vaccinations and blood donation become ordeals.

In my world, you can bring on the snakes, spiders and clowns, but don’t you dare come near me with a syringe.

One of my earliest childhood memories (read: traumas) is receiving my booster shots for kindergarten. It started out like 1,000 visits to the Barnes County Health Department, but those poor nurses had no idea that 5-year-old me was about to rain on their day.

When presented with the needle, I started crying like most kids probably do. When the needled touched flesh, Hurricane Brandi was unleashed and a quick jerk of my arm rendered the needle bent and useless.

Round Two had my mom and a second nurse holding me down while the first administered the shot.

That storm passed and, in the time since, the needle and I have grown to tolerate each other much like an old married couple.

I don’t yell at him when he turns the TV up too loud, and he keeps his mouth shut when the pot roast is dry.

This year, I felt compelled to face the needle and decided donating blood would be a good step. If I’m going to conquer a fear, I might as well make the world a better place during the process, right?

Before last month, I hadn’t donated blood for seven years — since my senior year of high school.

At that time, it took me at least 20 minutes to fill the little bag. Then, it was off to work at my factory job. But, the juice and cookies didn’t keep my face from nearly having a date with the concrete floor.

This time around, things went a lot smoother.

My blood bank technician (and I should probably add saint) Julie Partlow kept me breathing and from running out of the room with the tiny bag dangling from my arm and type A negative squirting everywhere.

Instead, I filled the bag in just under six minutes and didn’t even faint once.

The experience ended with the wrapping of my arm in lime green tiger-print bandage — a fierce print for a fiercer wuss.

My next donation is set for later this month. Here’s to hoping this unusual streak of courage lasts until then, and that Hurricane Brandi doesn’t make a second appearance.

For those of who might be next to me while donating: You may want to bring an umbrella just in case.