What do you want, blood?

Two years ago, Tom O’Connor wrote a Time Out with T.O. column in UNMC Today in which he all but called us a bunch of weenies if we made squeamish excuses about giving blood. (He also used the word “phlebotomists” – what a show off.)

To which I say, “Guilty.”

Weenie No. 1, right here.

It’s not my fault. Things have changed. When I was younger, I used to be kind of a tough guy. (Editor’s note: We really don’t think this is true.)

Hey! Easy, Candy Crowley. No fair fact checking in real time.

Pretty sure this guy is a phlebotomist.

Anyway, lately, I’ve found myself flinching and cringing and ducking at everything. It’s embarrassing, really. But this is what happens when you reach the stage of life when you realize pain is not some badge of honor to be endured. No – pain is your body’s way of saying, “Don’t do that!”

And yet there I was at the recent American Red Cross blood drive at the UNMC Center for Healthy Living … giving. Why? Well, because my boss, Karen, thought it would make a good story. And also, it could save someone’s life. And it could make a tremendous difference for someone who really needs it. And it’s a small thing that could do so much. But mostly, that first thing.

So I went.

This was when I passed out.

And it went the way it always does. That is to say, people were friendly. (Except for the time I spent in the interrogation room, for having brought a camera to the blood drive – important tip: don’t bring a camera to the blood drive!)

Or, you know, as friendly as they can be, while sticking you with a sharp metal object and draining you of your life’s blood.

There I go again. I “joke” a lot when it’s time to give blood.

“You’re making too much of this,” said a lady across the way, on another table. And I was.

Fine, you try and take pictures with one hand, while losing blood.

Relax. Let the blood flow.

“You can stop squeezing,” the guy (the phlebotomist?) said. It’s over. The bag is full and fat and dark.

Did it hurt? Yeah. Some. It can be uncomfortable, let’s not lie.

But it’s such a small thing.

Fruit snacks. My kids have taught me this: you can do anything for fruit snacks.

And afterward, a cookie you don’t need, some sugar. Some juice, too tart. A bandage on your arm; a badge of courage you’ll be asked about all day.

Not a tough guy anymore. But weenies can be brave too.

(Editor’s note:  You can be brave, too, at the next campus blood drive, which is on Dec. 11 from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Center for Healthy Living. Register now! )

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