Blood Donors: Our Nature vs. Your Nurture

Giving blood is the ultimate self-sacrifice. Donors give of themselves to us for us to feel better. Or is it? Is giving blood such a huge sacrifice? Stay with me here.

Many sanguines are troubled by a notion of hurting the donor. The fact that a donor has to be stuck, cut, or somehow ‘harmed’. I feel that the innate nature of sanguivores is the cause of that. We have urges. We want to bite. We hunger for that blood. We twoof. We then feel horrible for doing so. Some feel ashamed, guilty. Some, over time, have accepted that this is simply who they are. Some stay stuck in this negative feedback loop of self-loathing. But donors don’t often feel the same way about giving their blood. The two perspectives can be in juxtaposition.

The Sanguine Perspective

When I was trying to create more resources for donors, I once asked a well-known donor what their biggest complaint was. They told me it was their sang being flaky. They’d need to feed, but they would refuse it. The help they needed was obvious, but they felt guilty and kept cancelling potential meet-ups.

Sangs, as I mentioned above, often struggle with feelings of guilt. Years ago, I too felt the same way. I wrestled with my urges to take blood. I felt terrible that SOMEONE had to be stuck with a needle or cut for me to be healthy. I felt like a parasite. A leech. The feral impulses sangs have isn’t pretty. We wrestle with this ‘hunger’. It is possible to control it through mindfulness meditation, but it always lurks under the surface. Like a starved wolf, if you lock it in a cage, it will thrash against the bars and make your life miserable. On the other hand, if you accept it, it makes life much easier.

That lingering wolf causes us to sometimes see things in a certain way. We don’t want people to get hurt. We don’t want someone to suffer for us. But do donors really suffer? Aren’t we taking away their decision making if we make the decision FOR them that they shouldn’t suffer because of us? Being a donor is a choice, and it’s down to that individual to make the choice. We must respect their autonomy. In truth, donating isn’t difficult to do. It is a very generous and kind act, one that we couldn’t do without; but it isn’t arduous, torturous or horrific. Sanguines have no need to feel guilt. We are all adults, and have the capacity to act as decent, respectable human beings. We can treat someone with kindness. We can be thankful for their gift, appreciative and respectful of their time and generosity. We CANNOT help our need. We will be disabled and debilitated if we do not take blood. Those are the stakes.

The Donor Perspective

To disclose, I have donated blood to a sanguivore. I have been on the opposite side of the coin. It can be so challenging to see someone you care for suffer, knowing you can help them, but they won’t accept it because they feel bad for it. The stress and anxiety from watching a loved one suffer is so much worse than a little stick in the arm. Being stuck with a butterfly needle isn’t painful. Often, it can’t even be felt if the stick is done right. Donors lose very little by donating, but the reward can be wonderful. It can be such a reward to see your loved one experience relief.

Above all, it is an act of nurture. It is providing sustenance, giving to someone you want to be okay. It makes a donor feel like they’ve made a difference. My donor has always said that they donate to me because they know what happens if they don’t. It makes them feel valued and appreciated. Every friend who has offered to donate to me has done so because they care and want me to be healthy. Donation is an act of care. Donors should not have to chase down their sanguivore, or be subjected to having to sit helpless as their sang degrades into a husk and not being allowed to help. This is most torturous of all.

Conclusion

Donors are wonderful, generous people. They may come in the form of a friend, loved one, or someone you meet online. In the majority of my experiences, donors are those friends who want to help. They give a gift to us. They should be respected. They are not food. They are people. Yet, our innate nature can sometimes make us feel like we do not deserve that gift. Donating should not be painful or dangerous. It isn’t causing a huge discomfort to someone. We want to devour, to consume. We still have that choice. As donors can choose to donate, we can choose how we treat our donors and to be a decent human being. We can choose to respect their safety, and know how to stick them safely, practicing due diligence with care and after-care. If we act like a decent person, why do we feel guilty? We can’t help being this way.

Don’t make your donor suffer by watching you suffer. Accept their nurture. Our nature is not juxtaposed to nurture, we simply have to accept and love ourselves for who and what we are. Respect your donors, practice due diligence. Take a phlebotomy class. Sterilize. Use safety gloves. Appreciate their time and don’t flake out on them. Above all, accept your need and accept the generous gift being offered to you. You deserve an optimal life by being the healthiest that you can be.

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