It was the saliva that got me. Thick. Clingy. The urine and faeces, while not pleasant, I could handle. But one of the patients in the ward I looked after on Tuesdays at a Wellington geriatric hospital had a severe case of alcohol poisoning and would constantly dribble when you were helping her.
I don't remember having to deal with blood. I'm okay dealing with my own blood but I'm sure if I was in an operating theatre I'd be the first person to hit the floor.
Monday was World Blood Donor Day and I decided to try giving my first donation since 2012. I'm a little hazy on why I had to stop but I think my iron levels were too low and I was recovering from an unexplained blood clot in my leg.
First step was making an appointment. The woman I spoke to was super helpful and encouraging but so badly designed was the call centre she was working in, it was like talking to someone in a pub. In other words, a struggle. I laugh when she asks me if I weigh more than 50kg. And when she asks if I've been overseas in the past 12 months.
Because of my history, the call taker got a nurse to ring me back so I could talk through my concerns. The nurse said she didn't hear anything that would stop me donating, but more questions would be asked on the day.
That day was June 14. NZ Blood's Palmerston North donor centre is at the hospital and there are dedicated carparks for donors, plus your parking is validated. I'm impressed by the bike racks right outside the door and the bright welcome receptionist Kate gave me.
There are more questions, pamphlets to read and a form to fill in. I don't like that I can hear other donors giving their full name, date of birth and address. Presumably they can hear mine too.
I admire the donor board, especially John Jeffrey who has given 400 donations. At four, I have some way to go.
Then it's into a private room for a nurse to go through your form with you and more questions. I'm grateful I can whip out my phone and check when I last went to the doctor and when I had a colposcopy.
She's got a tough job making sure the blood we donate is safe but also not putting off suitable donors. I get a tad cross when she asks me if there was a reason for the colposcopy. Believe me, one doesn't have gynaecological procedures for fun or because one is bored.
The pinprick to test my iron levels is virtually pain-free, much more tolerable than I remember.
My iron is fine, my health is fine and off I go to the donor room. The donor technician Vicki is lovely and reassuring. The needle hurt a bit going in but there's so much to do during the 10 or so minutes my blood was collected, I soon forgot about the needle. You have to squeeze a soft ball and periodically tighten your thighs, feet, buttocks and arms to help the blood flow.
Then I got to visit the nicely furnished donor lounge. It has a wide selection of reading material and drinks. I'm offered chocolate or creme biscuits, or cheese and crackers. Despite my sweet tooth I choose the latter. As it's a special day, I get a mini cupcake as well.
I manage to entertain the wife of a donor as I struggle to get back into my poncho and end up with it stuck on my head.
The whole experience took an hour. I leave with a handy shopping bag, a fluorescent pink bandage on my arm and a smile on my face.
Less than 3 per cent of people in New Zealand are blood donors. I'm one.