You know how a lot of people have a big fear? Like they are afraid of snakes or spiders or heights or something and they are rational, bold people until they encounter that thing. Then, upon that encounter, all of the rationality and boldness they usually carry with them falls off and is replaced by urgent, dumb panic.
Well, my big fear is needles. The idea of having one stuck in my arm makes me freak out. I don’t know why, but I turn into a quivering sack of nerves at the thought of needles. It’s not cool.
Last week, I was checking my Twitter feed and noticed that New Jersey Blood Services were holding a blood drive at AAA on Rte. 22. The thought occurred to me that it would be funny to take a picture of someone terrified of needles giving blood. Then I remembered I was a person who is terrified of needles.
Before I could talk myself out of it, I was at AAA filling out a donor form. The head technician, Bonaventure Durugo, agreed to take my photo. They put me on a reclining chair and left me alone long enough for me to have second thoughts. Panic started rolling over me like a thunderstorm making beachhead.
The technicians were very nice but I don’t think they realized the extent of my needle panic until I started shaking. Most of the people who donate blood don’t have problems with needles for the obvious reason that the entire process is dependent on needles.
Sensing I was a flight risk, one of the technicians assured me that the needle would be no more noticeable than a mosquito bite. Another technician, who surely must consider himself quite the cut-up, quipped “maybe a mosquito in the middle of the Amazon jungle.”
“Do you really think this is an appropriate moment for that particular observation,” I asked, in as indignant a tone as I could muster. Mister quipster didn’t respond.
The first technician asked if I still wanted to go through with it and I said yes and then the needle went into my arm. I did cheat, in the sense that I kept my eyes closed when they stuck the needle into my arm. But anyway, I did it.
The technicians said that there’s a great need for blood now. Next time the blood bank is in town, go out and donate. Assuming you’re not terrified of the entire process, it’s not that big a deal.