#4

Well, it’s official! I did it! I got the job! You are now looking at the newest CN to join the ranks in the surgical unit heading for the new hospital at the end of next month. If the ear-to-ear smile doesn’t give it away, then I’m not sure what would.

I couldn’t be more thrilled.

Admittedly it took me a lot to even apply for the position (read 2017: The Fear), but the whole process has made me realise just how important it is, and has always been, to never stop pursuing your goals  – even when they may prove difficult.

Truthfully, I have my father and my Mr. to entirely thank for pushing me to the brink of frustration. I had never doubted myself more than in the weeks leading up to the application deadline, and could not have fathomed the possibility that I would be successful.

Since finding out the inverted of that, I haven’t stopped thinking about just how lucky I was to have the two greatest men in my life believe in me strongly enough to [lovingly] peer-pressure me into clicking the ‘submit’ button. If it had not been for them, I may have  thrown away this opportunity altogether.

I’ve come to recognise that while we can be strong on our own, true strength is found in numbers. Only in the sense that in your weakness someone else will be there to loan the strength you need. It’s not that you couldn’t fight your battle alone, it’s that there’s comfort in knowing you don’t have to. To have someone else believe you can is sometimes the only ammunition we need.

I am more than humbled to be given such an amazing opportunity at the age of 23, and am knowingly entering a new chapter of my life with more gratefulness than I thought was possible.

Finally, I get to wear my shiny new CN shoes…and keep them. I am ready.

#4 – Make Clinical Nurse at work: Check!

d x

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2017: The Fear

A few days ago, at the dawn of a new year, I was flicking through the tv channels and stumbled upon a movie I hadn’t seen in a very long time. In the early 2000s, a Cinderella Story was nothing short of a rite of passage for any of us girls growing up at the time. But granted that this was not a era of Disney-watching memories for everyone, let me fill you in a little on the plot…

It was a classic teen heart-throb movie staring the all-too charming Chad Michael Murray and doe-eyed Hilary Duff, that made pink converse sneakers and a extravagant white dresses somewhat of a thing. The storyline imitated the fairytale of Cinderella as it’s title may have blatantly eluded to, and unravelled a new-age technological romance between the orphaned nerdy girl in high school and the handsome quarterback.

It was a feel-good movie that made every girl spend the next 5 years hoping Chad Michael Murray might just fall in love with them someday, myself included. One Tree Hill only exacerbated the fantasy.
But rewatching the movie a few days ago, something really sunk in. It was a quote that underpinned the entire movie, and gave motive to each of its characters. Something I would have never taken in as a child, but now watching it some 13 years later, it’s weighted differently.

Never let the fear of striking out, stop you from playing the game…

Whether it was by chance or not, this was something that I really needed to hear. And when I realised it’s relevancy to my life this year, I couldn’t help but to think that perhaps this was life showing me what 2017 needs to be about – having a little more faith in myself.

Not getting a CN position last year really shook my self-esteem. In a way, I viewed it as a failure. It was the first time I had worked really hard for something, and not had it handed to me in return. I wasn’t used to the feeling. 

I started doubting my ability and caring what others thought of me more than I ever should have allowed myself to. Even though I knew logically not to, I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmingly lost. 

At the end of November they announced that three more positions for CN’s would be advertised and many people asked me if I would re-apply.

The initial answer ‘no way‘ fell from my lips straight away. A large part of me felt that if they had wanted me, they would have given me the job last time, so why would I bother applying again? It was hard to shake the misconception that they obviously didn’t think I could do it.

I battled with the concept that if were to apply, the chances are that they would turn me down again. The original job wasn’t given to me because I’m a relatively new nurse with less than three years experience. And I just couldn’t see how three months onwards, it would be any different.

I was frustrated with my Mr. and my family who encouraged me repeatedly to re-apply. “What have you got to lose?” they would say. Everything felt like my answer. I didn’t want to ‘fail’ again, I didn’t want people to know that I ‘failed’ twice. I didn’t want to go through the rejection again, I didn’t want to deal with the embarressment. In my head, I could only imagine my boss looking at my application and thinking ‘Why on earth would she apply again?‘.

They didn’t want me the first time, it was hard to come back from that.

Then I heard it, the quote from the teenage heart-throb movie, and I suddenly realised I was letting fear dictate not only a terrible predicament of self-doubt, but dictate that I wasn’t worthy to keep chasing my goals.

I was letting the fear stop me from pursuing something I have been working really hard for, for the past year. This is another chance to put myself out there for something great, and I was prepared to let it slip by just to avoid the rejection.

But the more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve come to realise that rejection is a part of life. I haven’t had a lot of it in mine so far, and I’m so grateful for that, but it’s something that I’m just going to have to learn how to take it in my stride.

Because I’m not always going to have the things I want handed to me. I think that there is going to be plenty more moments where someone says no, and I need to learn to be okay with that.

Three months down the track and I’ve finally realised that didn’t fail when I didn’t get the CN position last time. There were simply more experienced nurses than me. It doesn’t make me a bad nurse, or not capable of being a a CN. It’s taken me a long time to truely recognise that, or at the very least believe it.

So I applied again. And then I cried out of pure emotional exhaustion. I pushed through the fear, and that alone has been frightening. I feel vulnerable, and it’s a strange feeling coming from the usually confident, head-strong girl that I am.

There is a rather large chance that I still won’t get the position, but I don’t really think that’s the point anymore. This year for me, is about not letting the fear hinder and having a little more faith in myself. 

It may have taken Cinderella to teach me this, but I don’t plan on letting anyone bruise my self-worth ever again.

Be brave, be strong and be fearless in pursuit of what sets your heart on fire.

This is 2017. Do something you’ve always been a little too fearful to conquer before. 

Happy new year.

d x

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Christmas Hostess

Well it’s official, there’s only four days left until Christmas brightly jingles itself onto our doorsteps. And I’m totally freaking out.

This year, I’m hosting for the first time given that I now have a house big enough to do so. And I have been so excited to don the Christmas apron and test out my roasting-things-in-the-oven abilities. Because in theory, it should be fairly easy right? Buy the food, hang the fairy lights, drink and be merry?

Oh no. As it would turn out, hosting Christmas is a far bigger task than I ever expected. Cue outburst along the lines of… how on earth does Mum do this every year?!

Consider me well and truly overwhelmed.

I have a to-do list that would rival the height and weight of the Taj Mahal. It includes making garlands, and downloading instructions on how to season chicken amongst other ridiculous tasks that really were only ever meant to be ‘Mum-doing’ things. It seems like every time I think that I have perhaps thought of it all, you bet your rudolf red nose that I’ll find something else to add to the ever-growing, never ending list.

Between making toothpick reindeers for decorations (seriously did not make it easy for myself…remind me to delete Pinterest account once I’m done here), I have been asking myself at least 20 times a day this week, why I ever thought hosting Christmas was a good idea. Mum had a good thing going for the last 23 years, and I’m now entirely sure we should have let her go for her 24th.

Realising six days out that I simply did not have enough dining plates was scary, remembering five days out that I just might need placemats to go under said dining plates made me really question my future-housewife potential.

And the food! Don’t even get me started. With the amount of money I’ve spent on food for one day in December, it’s looking like porridge may well be what I survive on come 2017. It’s made me suddenly feel very grateful for the many Christmas’s before where people have fed me without charge…because I will admit I’ve contemplated portioning salted peanuts to  two per person.

However with all that being said, I am choosing to cut myself a little slack. It is my very first time hosting Christmas, and while I’m entirely sure it will not find itself even remotely close to being in the same proximity to my Mother’s Christmas Extravaganzas – I’m sure that it will be one to remember because it was my own.

After all, I don’t think that it really matters how much food there is, or whether we eat off proper plates or paper ones. It really won’t matter if it doesn’t turn out as planned or if the peanuts all get eaten.

Because I think what really counts is being with the ones you love to celebrate Christmas (and the all-too-time-consuming toothpick reindeers, of course).

It’s about cherishing each other and watching the fairy lights sparkle knowing that you have been so lucky to be sharing such a special day with the people who make your entire world light up. It’s listening to Michael Buble belt out famous Christmas carols and laughing at Grandad who had a little to much brandy with his Christmas cake and decided to sing-along into the end of a bonbon cracker. It’s about reading aloud awful Christmas jokes, and shouting the punch lines in perfect harmony because this isn’t the first time you’ve been asked what a reindeer without eyes is called. It’s about having the pavlova, rocky-road and the fruitcake because losing weight is next weeks problem. It’s finding time to smile and be thankful for the messy kitchen, the stained tablecloth and the trail of Christmas wrapping paper that now embellishes your house, because they are the telltale signs of a Christmas well-enjoyed.

But I think most importantly, it’s about letting the happiness fill your heart to the brim, and feeling the warmth envelop your chest as if it might explode.

I hope that each and every one of you have a really wonderful Christmas this year, and find the happiness I know your heart deserves to feel.

Merry Christmas world.

Love, d x

#5: Japan 2016

Konichiwa (and almost sayonara) all the way from Japan! Today is the last day I’m here, and as spontaneous overseas trips go (not that I’ve been on many), this one was pretty great.

Back in April this year, I was working a late shift at the hospital when I received a message from one of my friends. The message said, “Return flights to Japan – $300. Are you in for a girls trip in November?”. Heck yes!

I barely thought twice about it before replying and simultaneously shouting out from behind the nurses station, “I’m going to Japan!”.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while now, you’ll remember that #5 on the Bucket List is to travel somewhere new every year. And a trip to Japan was exactly what I’d been looking for. I had been racking my brain trying to find somewhere to travel to in 2016 on a very tight budget (I believe the title ‘House Owner’ is entirely interchangeable with ‘Broke’). And this was it! Big, fat, CHECK!

Fast forward seven months, and here I am. And if I could wear a Kimono forever-more, I would.

Let me start by saying that if you haven’t put Japan on your travel list, you need to. This place has had me gobsmacked since the moment we landed. Decadent in tradition and more vibrant than a neon sign, Japan is awe-inspiring. It’s full of the most polite and wonderful people I think I will ever meet who made the trip one of the best I’ve ever had!

We touched down in Tokyo at about 6:30pm, so it was dark and after a long day of flying in a glorified metal cabin, we were equal parts tired to excited – plus, definitely hungry. The limousine bus took over an hour to arrive at the doorstep of our hotel, The Cerulean, in the centre of Shibuya. We checked in, and quickly shuffled up to the rooms to change out of the clothes that now seemed to stick to us after the 8 hour flight.

The view from the window was the first thing I saw. Tokyo lit up like a giant Christmas tree. It seemed to go on for miles, I tried to take it all in at once, and simply couldn’t. I was already in love. Think ‘big city lights’, but on the good protein powder. It was amazing!

With a shower, a change of clothes and being rather satisfied having taken 1,98373 pictures of the view. We turned our attention to getting food.

In the centre of Shibuya, is it’s famously busy Shibuya Crossing. You probably know it best from a scene out of Tokyo Drift. We didn’t have the fast cars to drift dangerously around the corner, splitting the near 3000 people on the crossing. But we did manage to spend a whole half hour running back and forth across the busy intersection, thoroughly embracing being a tourist.

There were so many options for food, that we barely knew where to start. But with grumbling stomachs we decided on choosing the closest we could find, and it was the best place we found the whole trip. We couldn’t read the menu in the slightest, our Japanese stretched as far as arigatou gozaimasu. So we picked at random, and hoped for the best. My garlic butter (as I later found out) Ramen, was perhaps the most oeeshi (delicious) meal I had the entire trip.

After roaming the streets of Shibuya into the early hours of the morning, being constantly amazed at how the city was still awake at 1am, when at home we tuck ourselves into bed at 8pm – we finally returned back to the hotel. After spending a great deal of time working out the remote control for the toilet (it even plays music), we snuggled up into bed ready for the trip ahead.

The next morning we woke to stare out the window at a clear sky boasting the presence of Mount Fuji in the distance beyond Tokyo City. I think that’s when we knew, this trip was going to be a good one.

We ventured to Lake Kawaguchiko, Mount Fuji, Hakone, Kyoto and back to Tokyo over the following eight days, and took the wrong train more than once. We dined traditionally, and ate more raw fish than we ever thought we could. We learnt that the microfibre cloths were in no way big enough to cover any body part in the Onsens, and that after the first time you do it, you realise that life is easier naked and in a natural hot spring. We loved sleeping on the floor, and our designated inside and outside shoes (just don’t mix these up, or in an excited rush to photograph mount fuji at sunrise, wear your inside shoes outside through the mud).

We learnt that it is far easier to take a Taxi rather than the Bus – which required much more attention trying to decipher Japanese announcements as to whether your stop was next, or already gone. We ventured to the top of volcanos, and rung traditional love bells to the famous Mount Fuji. We developed a rather unprecedented love for a corner shop named Lawson, which seemed to supply most of our hotel dinners in the form of Pork Buns and Pocky.

We tried all sorts of food and alcohol solely based on the ‘prettiness’ of the label as we definitely couldn’t understand what it said – and surprisingly, enjoyed everything we tried (even the cream cheese in prawn crackers packet, go figure). We took many timelaspes whilst aboard the Bullet Train, and made a mental note to inform the public transport back home of the technical advances in Japan that included phone chargers on every bus, train and taxi.

We hired bikes and visited temples (all 100 of them). We dressed up as Geisha Girls, and strolled around Kyoto in thongs without a heel under the toe – it’s a miracle we all survived. We posed for many tourist photos, for the tourists that thought we were actual Japanese Geisha Girls, and tried desperately not to burst out in laughter mid-photo at the ridiculousness of it all. We dined 637metres high at the Skytree in Tokyo, and found a Photo Booth to commemorate the occasion. We shopped, for twelve hours straight – even we were impressed with our stamina on that one. We found a Bunny Cafe, which sounded so much more fun that it was, but thats a whole other story. We contemplated dressing up as the Mario Brothers and racing around Tokyo on go-carts, but decided our travel insurance probably wouldn’t cover the inevitable injury we would all sustain.

We made more memories than we could count, and filled our cameras with the captured proof. It was certainly a trip to remember.

And as I sit here at Terminal 3 of Narita Airport about to board for the long journey home, I can’t help but notice that Japan has etched itself quite neatly into the confines of my heart. I may have only been eight days, but this place has wrapped it’s hands tightly around me and left a rather large hold.

I can’t wait to come back.

#5 – Travel somewhere new every year: 2016 – Check!

And don’t forget to check out the travel log for tips and places to stay in Japan!

d x

Change of plans

I’m a planner. I always have been. In fact when I look back, I had my entire life planned out by the age of thirteen, in more detail than was really ever necessary.

I suppose it had a little bit to do with ‘finding myself’ at the time. As any thirteen-year-old does, I was trying to establish my identity. Trying to figure out what made me, me and what on earth I was trying to accomplish in this lifetime.

I remember comprising a documents folder on the family computer entitled ‘My Life’, and filled it with pictures of the things I thought would make my adult life complete. It was a photo-list of goals for that miraculous day I no longer had to to school, and got to be a real person.

I look back now, and I have nothing of what I put in that little photo folder. But that’s mostly because the things I thought I wanted at thirteen have somewhat changed (although, I do think a front garden entirely covered in purple orchids, and mermaid blue hair would have made for an interesting life thats for sure).

The point was however, that no matter how crazy my thirteen year old whims were – I had made a life plan.

From there I became a little older and thankfully, my taste in lifestyle ambitions altered. By the time I was fifteen, I had developed a much more sensible plan that mostly focussed on work and study goals (how boring, right?).

It was about this age that I really started to hone in on the idea of being a nurse. It was something I always thought I would be good at from the time I used my friends t-shirt and her hair tie to make a sling for her broken arm in PE in grade six. The ambulance officers were so impressed at my make-shift first aid appliance that they gave me a whole jar of jellybeans and well, that sold me on the career itself.

I remember so clearly the feeling I got that day, how rewarding it had been to just help out in the rush of the moment. Everyone had made me feel like a hero. I knew I wasn’t, but there was nothing quite like it. The feeling of helping someone out when they needed it most, it was addictive.

So when I was asked in my year nine class three years later what it was that I wanted to do when I got older, I really never gave it a second thought. Nursing had always been at the forefront, and it never really budged.

I researched nursing for almost two weeks straight. I wanted to know everything about it and exactly what I needed to do to get there. I liked the idea of midwifery in particular after talking to my cousin who was one, and it set a plan into motion.

I mapped out everything on a giant poster that required to fold outwards three times to sufficiently store the information. I knew what classes I needed to take in high school the following year, I knew what score I would need in grade twelve to be excepted into university, and I knew exactly what course I would need to take once I got there. Like I said, I’m a planner.

Well, my little five year plan worked to a T. Life seemed to find harmony with my oversized poster and before I knew it, I had graduated as a registered nurse and it was time for phase two. You see, the way it worked at my university was that I needed to complete my Bachelor in Nursing, then work for a year as a RN before I could apply to study a Masters of Midwifery.

With the securing of a Grad Position as an RN, I was ecstatic to only be 12 months away from actually achieving everything I planned. Then life decided differently.

They closed the option to study a Masters in Midwifery at my university halfway through my Grad Year. Now it was only open for people that were already qualified as a midwife. The next closest university that offered the course was at least an hour and half away, and with my shiny new graduate position, I just couldn’t see the long distance travel thing working.

And I remember that moment, because it was the first time that something didn’t go to plan for me. I remember feeling like someone had taken the wind out from my sails, not really knowing what I should do next. I wasn’t used to having to start from scratch. After all, this was my life plan and I’d been following it for the past seven years. Now I needed a new one.

When I went back to the drawing board, there was a lot of options. To study to be a doctor was the first one I fell in love with. So that’s what I set out to do, as most of you will already know. But halfway through this year, I guess I’ve had a change of heart.

I’ve been watching the surgical interns so closely at my work. Trying to see myself as one of them, and I can. But I’m not sure that I would want to once I would find myself in their shoes. If you were to ever ask any one of them whether they loved what they do, they would say no. They are worked so hard and given so little in return.

If I was to become one of them, it’s not the seven long years of study on minimal income that bothers me. It would be studying seven long years to end up in a job that pays less than what I’m earning now, examinations every single weekend to keep up with the internship, being yelled at rudely by the consultant for not having the ability to be in three places at the one time and having hardly any time to myself just to breathe.

The more I thought about it, the more I realised I preferred a quality of life. Realistically, in the next five years, my plan incorporates a family (with any luck). And I just couldn’t have that being a doctor.

So again, my plan changed and I’ve really never felt so fickle in my life!

I decided once I had finished my second degree in nursing that I wanted to be a Nurse Practitioner. Almost like a doctor, but without having to say goodbye to every other aspect of my life in order to achieve it (I think I’m allowed to be a little selfish in that regard).

However in July, when I went to apply to study, I was met with some pretty stiff prerequisites and I must admit I was a little disheartened.

  1. Must be a registered nurse for a minimum of five years – well, I’ve barely scratched the surface of my third, so I have somewhat a way to go.
  2. Must have worked in an advanced role position for a minimum of two years – well, I’ve been acting as a CN, but as you know I missed that train with the permanent position just last month.
  3. Must work in a specialised sector of the healthcare system for a minimum of one year – well, generalised surgical nursing really can’t be classified as a “Specialised” sector, hence the title “general”.

So, here I am. Facing a brick wall head-on, and trying to figure my way over it. It’s been the first time that I’ve felt like even with so many options, I’m stuck in a wading pool waiting for the waves.

I’m in the making of a new plan, but this one is taking it’s time to map out. And there’s no  elaborate poster yet. For now, a nurse practitioner is still the direction I’m going in. But the next two years aren’t looking as on track as I would have really liked them to have been.

Perhaps I’m expecting too much of myself? I mean, most people don’t become nurse practitioners until they are well into their mid-life crisis, and here I am at 23 wanting to click my fingers and have it all fall into place.

Perhaps I was a bit naive in thinking it would happen just because that was my plan. Maybe not getting the CN position was the world’s way of letting me know I need to slow down. Let myself grow, and not force it?

I guess I am slowly learning that things don’t always go to plan, and that it’s okay when they don’t. Because I think that sometimes you have to make adjustments to the plan in order to reevaluate whether you’re following a poster plan, or following your heart.

I’m not used to things not following the plan, but I know I’ll get better at it. Because sometimes, that’s just how it’s going to be. And I’ll learn from that as I go.

All you can do, is just keep moving forward. Chip away at the brick wall, find your way through it. My life plan hasn’t played out exactly like I thought it might have, but thats all part and parcel of what it means to survive in this world.

Plan 2.0 is in the making, and it starts with a move to the brand new hospital next year. But at the end of the day, if life takes me elsewhere, I know I’ll be okay. I land on my feet.

d x

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Fifteen Year Predictions

Today I was lying out in the sun with Igloo (who has settled in as if he always lived here!). And I was watching him sit next to me in all his cute-ness, silently wishing that he could somehow just never grow up. 

He may still not know how to use them most effectively, but his little legs are getting bigger each day. A part of me wishes he would slow down with the growing thing, because I’m just not done with him being the smallest bundle of fur!

Then I catch him digging a hole, and I know it’ll be okay when he’s big enough that I won’t have to worry about him being an escape artist under the fence…

But I got to thinking about how long he’s going to be in my life. And I was a little sad when I realised that if I’m lucky, we are looking at maybe 15 years. Which for me, is simply not long enough. 

This put me onto another train of thought, as I tried to picture where I would be in 15 years. 

You see, comparatively – it seems like such a short amount of time when I think about Igloo, but when I think about me, 15 years couldn’t be further away!

I simply don’t understand how in my mind, one could seem longer than the other. It’s the same amount of time devoted to two different lives. 

I know Igloo will spend the next 15 years most likely eating grass, getting sand stuck in his ears at the beach and being loved beyond measure.

But what will I be doing? What does my life look like in 15 years? I’m very curious to know. 

I guess only time will tell, and that’s a little frustrating for little impatient me. I mean, a lot could really change in 15 years and I’ll only know when I get there. 

But time is precious, and as curious as I am, I would never wish to rush time. 

So for now, I think I’ll channel my inner “One Tree Hill” tin box in a brick wall, and settle for writing a list of predictions for the year 2031 (which sounds like another lifetime away). 

In 2031, I predict that:

• I will be married, and happily married at that!
• I will have a child, or maybe even two, to keep my hands full and my heart even more so.
• I will have made CN at work, and loved every moment of it.
• I will have finished my Nurse Practitioner degree, maybe i’ll even be lucky enough to be working as one in emergency, or in a clinic!
• I will own a soccer mum car, and happily fill it with orange slices every Saturday morning for the big game.
• Igloo will be by my side, grey hairs and all. Still as adorable as ever.
• I will have a house with enough room for my shoe collection!
• I will have ticked at least 15 more things off my Bucket List.
• I will have travelled more, and seen some of the most beautiful parts of this world.
• And I will take time each week, no matter how busy its been, to sit down by the beach with my Mr., watch the sun set, and cherish every moment.

I think it will be so special to look back at this post in 15 years and simply see how far I’ve come. Life is everchanging, and we really don’t know what’s in store for us. But we can hope for the best version of our lives. 

I am guaranteed to have some of my worst and some of my best days in the next 15 years, and while I may not end up where I thought I would, I’ll know that it was somehow exactly where I am supposed to be. 

Here’s to 2031. And in the ultimate prediction, I’m sure I won’t believe it when you’re here. 

d x 

#59

Today, I did something good. I rolled up my sleeve and ticked #59 off the bucket list. I donated my blood.

Having been a nurse for the last two and a half years, I’ve come to realise the true importance of blood donations. I mean, you see it constantly advertised on the the tv commercials about how the world needs more blood donors to keep up with the demand. So I always knew it was important, but being the one to first-hand witness the life-saving ability of a blood transfusion really put it all into perspective as to just how much.

A part of my job is to be apart of a portfolio within my unit. This means we all have specific roles and aspects of nursing and patient care that we devote our knowledge and effects towards. Mine is Blood Safety. Every month we have a portfolio meeting and we talk about any updates to blood transfusion policies in the hospital setting, and the dramatic increase in demand for blood products world wide. The numbers alone are astounding.

Unfortunately, we need blood more than what we have. And by more, I mean a lot. There just aren’t enough donors, and we’re using more than we are collecting. So when my multi-traumas come in, and need multiple units of blood, it’s really impacting the system.

My portfolio encourages people to donate, attempting to rally the troops and find some sort of way to make a small difference (even if just locally). But having never donated blood myself, I’ve been a bit of a fraud. So it found itself as an item on my bucket list to donate blood.

They say for every donation, your blood saves three lives. And they’re not wrong. Your blood matters more than you realise. I’ve only come to know this by being a nurse, and the countless times I’ve run down to pathology to get a bag of blood to save someone’s life. Your blood really is worth bottling, if you’ve never been exposed to Mad Cow Disease that is!

So, in the attempt to make a difference, I booked in to donate my own liquid gold.

In the days leading up to the donation, the staff from the blood donation clinic rung me almost daily to make sure I didn’t have any questions about my first time donation. In fact, they had contacted me so much that for a moment there I was a little concerned at what I had agreed to give. I had agreed to donate just my blood right? Not a kidney? I was becoming so suspicious, I started double reading through the emails!

When I arrived to the clinic, the girls at the receptionist desk gave me a form to fill out. Despite it’s lengthy composition of five pages worth of questions, I managed to tick and flick all the right answers and made it through the interview to the blood donor circle in less than 10 minutes.

I never realised how in depth the screening was for blood donation, but I guess that makes a lot of sense considering how careful you have to be with blood. Apparently, my blood really was liquid gold. I was good to go!

They asked me whether I had had enough water enough times to make me question whether the two litres was, in fact, enough. So when they offered me another bottle of water, I thought I better. And later regretted my decision.

The lady called my name and I followed her through to the chair. She gave me a soft red blanket to keep my cosy and a sparkly red sticker proudly displaying a happy-faced blood drop who seemed to be congratulating me on my first donation. So far, so good.

Before long, another lady arrived at my side to warn me that she was about to cannulate my arm and if this was going to make me squeamish that I should look away now. Me, thinking to myself , “Hell no, I’m a nurse, this is what I do, go for it”. Also me, thinking to myself two seconds later, “Hell no. That thing is the size of my actual vein, probably not as okay with this as I thought”.

Despite the metal rod hanging out of my arm and a regrettably full bladder, I managed to avoid any queasiness and focussed on spinning the red squeezy brick around in the palm of my hand. This was a harder task than it initially seemed as my blood flow stubbornly slowed to the speed of a Sunday afternoon driver, and I was quite quickly losing any sort of blood flow to my left hand. If I were to describe the scene, it looked a lot like me staring intently at my left hand as if trying to telepathically make it move like I know my brain was instructing it too, slightly panicking as the pins and needles sensation was replaced with an overall iciness.

The girls would smile at me and say, “Just keep turning the red brick around in your hand”. And I would smile back politely, despite the very real and irrational fear that my hand might just drop off altogether.

It took twenty minutes instead of the usual ten to squeeze enough blood out of me to fill four bags, but that was thanks to my snail-like blood delivery system. And in the grand scheme of things, it actually felt over and done with more quickly than I thought, leaving me with a “Is that all it is?” feeling. I also managed to leave with all limbs and organs – so that was a bonus in itself.

When I walked out of the donation room, I was met by a little old lady who told me to help myself to the wall of food that stood behind her. From cookies to chips, meat pies and chocolate – the choice was mine. Replenish, is what she said with a giggle in response to my widening eyes. So much delicious free food, I didn’t even know where to start. I could get used to this blood donating thing, that was for sure.

Fed and watered, I finally was ready to leave feeling rather impressed at myself for not having passed out in the whole process. I waved goodbye to the little old lady who much like a grandmother insisted I have something else, and walked out into the sunshine feeling pleased to have done what I could to help someone else.

 

The most wonderful part is that I have never felt so appreciated in my whole life. The girls there make you feel like you have done something really spectacular, for doing something I originally thought was pretty average. Not one person neglected to congratulate me, or thank me for donating my blood at any stage of the day. They honestly made me feel like a superhero, and I became embarrassed because I really didn’t think I deserved it!

So heres the part where I encourage you to donate too if you can. It takes less than 10 minutes (if your veins are more cooperative than mine, that is), and you can acquire the honour of calling yourself a super hero for the rest of the day – because that’s what you are. In ten minutes you can save the lives of three people alone, and in my books, that it definitely something worth doing.

And if the ‘saving someones life’ plug hasn’t got you convinced, then at least do it for the giant chocolate chip cookie.

#59 – Donate Blood: Check!

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