Saturday, August 15, 2009

Adventure Day 26 – Part 1: Blood Suckers

Today was a pretty big day for me. I was going to get to do two things I haven’t done for a while and I was very excited. Ok so I was really only excited about one of them.

Today was the first time in three months that I was able to donate plasma. I only began donating my plasma maybe four or five months ago and just got into a great weekly routine (you can donate every 6 days) when I had to get my vaccinations updated for work. After I did that I couldn’t donate for 3 months and I was sooooo disappointed.

Someone who hates needles may think I’m a little crazy for being so sad over not being able to get jabbed with a giant one and then have my blood sapped out of me, but I have good reason. I mentioned in a post way on back how my aunt passed away from leukemia, well she required a lot of blood products and such for treatments and ever since I have wanted to donate my blood. However, as you know by now I am not the type of person to just run out and try something without a little help from a friend (although I am getting so much better at this). I was essentially a sissy and wouldn’t go to a clinic until someone else invited me or would go too. Let’s just say it’s not always easy to find someone without a million and one excuses to NOT go get the blood sucked out of them. I don’t blame them at all.

Anyways, one day a girl in my program at school was heading out after an exam to donate blood at the college, she invited me along. I thought ‘Sure, why not? I’ve been waiting for this chance for years!’ I was nervous and a little excited, not knowing what to expect. Once I had made my first donation I soon got a letter in the mail telling me that I had AB- blood and that only 0.5 % of the population had it and they wanted more of me. It wasn’t long before I got a second letter practically begging me to be a part of the plasma donation program. It was pretty simple, you signed up had a medical from one of their docs, filled out a little extra paper work and could give every week – the only catch was that it took a bit longer.

So I tried it out once and got such a warm, receptive welcome at the clinic (over my rare blood type) that I couldn’t help but go back – these people really got excited over AB- wow! I also learned that because with plasma donation you receive your platelets and red blood cells back during your donation (it all goes through a special machine to separate it) that I felt waaaaay better afterwards compared to whole blood donation. All that to say: I have been very fulfilled in doing this whenever I can. It really has helped something inside of me heal from the grief I felt over losing my aunt. It feels like I can give something back from the life that has been lost. I don’t know, it’s a very small thing but a very meaningful one to me. I am amazed at how doing something so tangible can touch a part of me that so isn’t. I love it.

While at the clinic I had brought my books to study for an interview I was having an hour later (for a contract position where I work). I thought I might as well be useful with my time (since I knew I’d be there for at least an hour and a half). My appointment was at 8:20 am, needless to say I was a bit sleepy, and in their big comfy chairs it would be so easy to fall asleep. That is unless you have a giant loud mouthed middle aged man beside you, which I did. He was totally within my reach to take my one of my books and slug him, and I so wanted to, just to shut him up for five minutes. Like couldn’t he see I was in deep thought here? Didn’t he realize I was trying to prepare for a big interview? Obviously not, because his voice seemed to get louder and more obnoxious by the second. I tried to sit there and just close my eyes and tune him out, but then I couldn’t study or go over my notes. I was getting annoyed.

Then I noticed him pinching his arm. Oooooooo he was done!! Yippee!!! I thought ‘Good I can’t take much more of you!’ It wasn’t long and Yappy was gone (of course not without a vibrant good-bye, or good riddance from me). A few minutes later another middle aged gentleman came strolling in. ‘Ah’ I thought ‘Surely this guy will now give me the peace I need to collect myself.’ Then he started. Louder and louder it got. What is with middle aged men and their stupid deer, traffic, road kill stories? I think I was attracting them today.

I obviously made it through and have lived to tell about it. My donation went well and I was off to my interview.

I am not unlike many others (at least I don’t think), in my distain for interviews. Who’s idea was it to come up with the crazy idea to put you in a small room with two other people who ask you questions upon questions for an hour and think you are going to actually give all the right answers? It doesn’t seem remotely practical but that is the way the world works and that is what I had to face. Luckily for me, Smiles was one of the interviewers and she (in no stark contrast to her name) was smiley and cheerful throughout. The other interviewer was my boss. She was alright but her expressions always left me wondering if I was totally off base, or completely on track – you’ve gotta hate that.

To give you some background I want to say that a few months ago I applied for the summer contract at my work and didn’t’ get it. I was totally counting on it and was sure I would get it – of course I didn’t have any idea how many were applying and how much more experience everyone else had - sometimes oblivion is good. I didn’t get the contract and I’m glad. I’ve learned so much since then and have loved my weird schedule and working with all different people. This time when I applied for a 30 hour contract, deemed temporary but is indefinite, I really was only doing it for the interview experience. I thought it would be awesome to get it (mostly because it would feel good to get picked), but in reality 30 hours of work on top of my 40 hours plus of school that was already happening in a week (32 of them in placement) didn’t sound all that appealing. However I applied and interviewed for it anyway, thinking that if (by a long shot) I got the job I would love the people I’d be working with (and supporting).

This interview itself seemed to whiz by and I could barely believe it when Smiles told me there was only one more question. When I was all finished the written component and left I felt amazing. I thought ‘I don’t even care if I get the job; I did the best that I could have and that feels great!’ Now during the interview I did ask when I would find out and I was told by the end of the day ‘That’s cool’, I thought ‘at least it won’t be hanging over my head’. Off I went. I was at home trying to read a book and relax two and a half hours later when I got the call. It was my boss … she sounded very peaceful and happy. ‘That’s weird, she’s had a rough week at work and I know she had tried to convince me out of applying at one point, why is she so happy?’

‘Eva? This is Big mama. I was just wondering if you’d be interested in the 30 hour contract?’ she said.
‘Uh, really? Yeah I would be.’

From there she told me that we weren’t in any rush and that the paper work could be done in the next few weeks, but that the contract was mine. Wow! I couldn’t believe it. I got the job. The 30 hour job. With the 40 hours of school. Yikes! But instead of feeling overwhelmed at the thought of it, I felt invigorated. I felt proud. I felt up for the challenge. It’s weird, when I look back even 3 months, to when I started my job. I would have NEVER believed I would apply or even get a 30 hour contract, and especially never be excited about it. I really do feel like a different person since I’ve started working there – I know that I am. As Wally and I chatted tonight on a drive it occurred to me that when I started my program I went in knowing absolutely nothing about the developmental services field and didn’t have any experience with it at all. And here I was a year and a half later getting ready to sign a nearly full time contract to work in my chosen career, in a ‘behaviour’ home no less (my last choice for work – I never thought I could do it!).

I don’t say all of these things to boast at all. I have sooooo much more to learn from so many people (some with an education and some without); I look forward to doing this. The reason I point these things out is because I took a risk, I got uncomfortable, I became vulnerable and by doing so I feel like someone took me and stretched me like play-dough, without a care for how I would feel along the way, but it all turned out for the better. I’ve noticed since Wally and I shook our lives up a couple of years ago that sometimes all it takes is one simple step out of your ‘zone’ and it will lead you to take a million more and slowly but surely you are brought to a new place, sometimes without even realizing it. How cool is that?

I wish words could express how full I feel right now. How excited I am about life. How thankful I am that God is so mysterious, yet so faithful. This truly isn’t all about getting a job, or even donating some plasma. It’s about seeing how He can grow life where there was once stagnation and death. (And how He can turn a post about two completely unrelated things into a perfectly intertwined lesson). Very cool.

I am in awe…


Zoe said...

Yay for meeting new (cute, older) neighbors! I bet you'll be great pals. =)

S. said...

I'm so excited for you that you got the contract!!! Congrats!! & I think it's awesome that you donate your plasma :)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! I'm so proud of you!


Shell Bell said...

That is great news about the are going to be a busy lady!

Red said...

Eva - I am so very glad you got that contract. Every time I think about that it makes me excited to come back.
I love that you donate plasma. I feel a little less bad for not being able to donate - something I'd committed to doing, and then went ahead and fainted in the chair. Three times in a row. The nurses said something about my being a ginger.