First Times

There are first times for everything. Some are worth telling, others you wish never to undergo again.

The fear of big needles...

The fear of big needles...

Last weekend, before hitting Bottoms-up (which turned out to be just a drinking joint, albeit one packed with students), I decided the time had come to know my status. A roommate who is part of the student’s counselling team informed us of a moonlight (both literally and figuratively) VCT. They were going to test people all night long in mobile VCTs strategically placed near the hostels and the mess. Gathering psyche to go was the easy part. Together with two friends, we went in for counselling.

This is when you think, get over it dude, I know all there is to know about HIV/AIDS, prevention, and living positively. Just test us already. But of course, you let him do the counselling. Then the question of what will you do if you turn –ve (maintain the status) or +ve( live positively?). When we discussed among ourselves before the counselling, someone said they will go and have all the sex they can if they turn positive since she has been chilling since birth. She will of course, use protection. This will be her revenge for all the abstinence she has been practicing. I, on the other hand, was not even contemplating a +ve result. I wanted to confirm my –ve status.

The counselling over, the VCTer explained the kit to us, took some blood and then filled the questionnaire while we went in one by one to check our results. The waiting for the results can be the longest 15 minutes of anyone’s life. There are so many what ifs running through one’s mind. Let’s just say I finally knew my status and am proclaiming it through a wristband that glows in the dark. I am wearing it everywhere, except in the shower.

For the first time in my life, I also donated blood. When the blood collectors came in high school, I was still below 16. They didn’t come in the last year of high school. When they came in first year, I was turned down for lack of enough blood.

In my second year, they also came and figuring my blood levels had finally risen, I took my chances. Again I was turned down. I felt so crushed. How was I supposed to know my blood type, and drink free soda, if I don’t donate blood? And what kind of foods are full of iron? I had to do something.

Seems whatever I did paid off because when they came last week, I weighed myself (maintained my weight too….and if it’s the same scale then I lost 2Kg since last time), joined the queue in the hot afternoon sun (lucky cutest-boy-in-campus was there, he kept me going in ways he can never know), finally joined the queue in the shade and shouted a yes! when they said I had enough blood (iron) to do the donation. I got my own collecting bag with needle and all, filled their forms and awaited my turn.

The needle is huge, no need to lie but I don’t fear needles. I watched as he inserted it into a random vein and as the tube quickly filled with dark red blood. I flexed my hand (they give you some squishy thingy to be pressing) and soon the scale was beeping, showing my 400 ml bag was full. They withdrew the needle, covered the ka-wound with some cotton and tape, and I was good to go.

I didn’t feel dizzy, though a bit drained could be a better word. Now I will know my blood group, I did drink a soda and biscuits and will be picking up my t-shirt to show the world am a hero for donating some blood. I will probably donate again, but I think after a year.

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4 Responses

  1. that’s a bold step.

    really looking forward to the day my n*ts will grow hard enough to crack the courage…:)

    I also know someone who fears needles…

  2. Big step there…we were reading to the part where you display your results

    Patience…but don’t you think that if they were positive, I would have written a sob story?

  3. If i go to VCT, it’ll be my first time.

    You need to know…so just gather the courage. Or call me, I’ll take you. But it doesn’t start and end at testing, it’s a matter of knowing your status and then adopting responsible behaviour to maintain it.

  4. You get a soda? The bastards just took viles and viles of blood from me…LOL! Putting them in a bag after labelling and when I asked why all that blood, they were like one vile is for Sickle cell testing, one for HIV one forHep C one for sijui nini. And they didn’t even give me a damn soda.

    And a t-shirt to boot… and they only took the one tube, I think they’ll take samples from the blood. I sure hope mine will not be rejected for one reason or other…all that blood gone to waste.

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