For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a fear of needles. A fear that makes me sweat, nauseous and puts a lump in my throat. You get the image, right? When you begin to shake at the thought of that prick driving into your body like Bowser on Rainbow Road after running through a power star.
I have always had an over imaginative mind.
I spent what felt like a third of my childhood in hospitals. As a young Stamps I had severe asthma, childhood seizures, clumsiness in my DNA and allergies. I wouldn’t say I was a problem child; however, my mum did take out the highest level of family medical insurance every year because of me. Despite having test after test, the process never got easier.
When I had a severe reaction to my “Prep injection”, which I think was a booster for some preventable disease, it entrenched a real fear and anxiety of anything pointy near or in my skin. I also remember the feeling of being used as a pin cushion (nurse’s first day apparently) and it left me slumped in a bean bag in my class room until Mum collected me from school.
The fear got so bad that when I had my knee reconstruction, I had a show down with the anaesthesiologist. I wouldn’t let him administer the anaesthetics until he knocked me out with gas first. He had the “audacity” to tell me the request wasn’t in my notes and it was too late to administer (within his rights). So here we were, a medical professional and a fully-grown adult human chucking a tantrum, having a Mexican stand-off. I won. It wasn’t my finest moment but fear does make you lose all rationale.
Eight years ago, I decided I wouldn’t let fear take control of my life any more. I threw myself in the deep end and I booked in to donate blood. I made the commitment live on radio so I couldn’t back out and I went in to the local donation centre with the support of my work mates, who held my hand as tears streamed down my face.
As an O Negative blood donor, I have a particularly unique opportunity to help people in emergency situations. It’s called “universal” blood, meaning they can be transfused to almost any patient in need. Several years on, my donations of O neg have saved lives. I am helping babies, the elderly and those who are taken to the emergency department. It has also helped me. I still don’t like needles but I can be in the same room as that little prick because I am doing something good. I’m doing something for the greater good.
If you don’t already, can I encourage you to sign up today and become a donor. Every donation can save up to three lives. You could be saving someone from Geelong or even a family member. I would do it for you, sweaty palms and all.
And yes, you will also get a cookie and a milkshake.
So, sign up today.
P.S. Big thanks to Alex and all the amazing staff at the Blood Donation Centre on Ryrie St. You make me feel comfortable and relaxed every time I donate.
Stampsy is the Music Director and Drive Announcer at K Rock in Geelong