Friday, June 30, 2006

Give Until It...

... Doesn't really hurt at all?

I went in today to my local Red Cross chapter to give blood. I do this, now, about every eight to ten weeks or so. I've been donating like this off and on for about 5 years. The last time I gave, back in May, I even received my 2 gallon pin. I was pretty proud of that, until I chatted with the guy sitting next to me who had given over 20 gallons since he was 19 years old!

Now the reason I bring this up is not to toot my own horn, but rather to let those of you who've never given before know that it really isn't that bad. Oh, sure, I'd rather be eating ice cream, but in the big scheme of building up some good karma (and keeping my girlish figure!) this is probably a lot better in the long run. The process goes like this:

You show up (preferably with an appointment). You read an information packet which tells you about what to expect and informs you of a number of possible factors which might disqualify you from donating. Then you visit with a nurse for a while. She gets basic information from you to verify that you are eligible to donate and takes your temperature and blood pressure.

Then comes the first terrifying part: She pricks your finger.

OK, someone splash some water on that guy in the third row. Obviously, he's a bit squeamish. Seriously, though, this hurts less than when I cut myself shaving (and I am a big baby). They do this to test the iron content of your blood.

Then you head off to the donation room. Our local chapter recently moved to a new location complete with comfy recliners. They sit you down in one of these, swab your arm a couple of times, just to make sure everything is clean, and then say "You'll feel a little pinch". Between five and ten minutes later, you are done. They put a bandage on your arm and tell you to drink lots of liquids and no heavy lifting (I keep trying to convince my wife that this means I should just sit around and watch TV for the rest of the evening), and out the door you go.

Oh, did I mention that you get all the cookies and juice that you can eat? My favorite part!

Listen. The nurse who was working on me today told me that they recently ran out of type O blood in the southeast Michigan region. Ran out?! What kind of craziness is that? What do they tell the poor schlub on the operating table who's down a quart? "Gee, could you hold on while we call around to find some more?" I know a lot of people can't give blood for one reason or another, but a lot of us can and don't. I was in that group for a large part of my life because I was terrified of what would happen. I hope my story helps you get past that faster than I did.

The Red Cross is a great organization and I hope you'll take an hour or so to go and visit. Maybe you'll even make a donation. They always seem to need it. Maybe the next time I'm there, we'll even strike up a conversation over some of those tasty cookies!

When was the last time you gave blood?

1 comment:

Debby said...

1990, I think when I banked my own blood for surgery that I was having. It was not the wonderful experience you had. It took about 45 minutes for my blood to trickle out. Surgery was a breeze, and I didn't need it, so I hope some other deserving person was helped.