Necessary Needles

When I look back I can see, everything in my life has prepared me for this point, from baby steps to this giant leap.

For example, I have always been terrified of needles. Shots, particularly. Any sharp hollow pointy thing that can invade my body. I would dissolve into a big, weepy, terrified mess. I was afraid it would hurt, or the needle would break off in my arm, or they would inject the wrong thing. It bordered on phobic even into adulthood.

This year, when I was trying to come up with creative ways to earn extra money for my trip to Ukraine, I heard an ad on the radio for donating plasma. I decided to check it out, went through all the steps, got all the information. And I didn’t think twice about it at first. Then it was sort of like having a conversation with God. It went something like:

“Sarah, how bad do you really want this?”


“Enough to face needles?”


I did keep a picture of Anzhelika on my phone, so that with the touch of a button, I could remind myself who I was doing this for. Every time I felt the faintest twinge of fear, I would look at her picture.

During the preliminary exam, the staff checked my veins. Then they basically told me, “Oh, thanks for trying, but your veins are crap. Go home.”

Blink, blink.

“I can go?”

“Yes, thanks for trying! Have a nice day!”

I grabbed my stuff and bolted. I was almost disappointed, but somewhat relieved at not having a huge needle shoved up my arm, my blood separated from its plasma, and put back in me.

I got in my car, sat for a minute, and thought, “Well, maybe, the point was that I was willing to do it, if that was what it took to get to Ukraine.” For me that’s pretty extreme.

And since then needles have not scared me at all.