Until 1983, I could actually blame it on being too thin*; for the next 25 years, it was nothing short of selfish cowardice. In February of last year, there was a moment of redemption, but just two months after that, exclusion returned. This time it wasn't self-imposed but rather due to health concerns: bad blood.
My hemoglobin was too low and I wasn't allowed to give blood.
I was less concerned about being anemic and much more disappointed I couldn't be a super hero, saving lives, or at a minimum, helping others. Up to four people in need, every other month…24 people a year! Now that I understood how a) easy and painless it was, b) how quickly it could be done (45 minutes, paperwork-start to needle-removal finish), and c) as a universal donor I NEEDED to donate blood, it was disheartening not to be able to.
Following Blood Assurance's initial rejection, a more substantive health scare ensued and I wasn't able to give blood again (if you have time, go back and skim those posts…I can laugh about it now).
Until this morning :). My blood is behavin' again. Good blood, goooood blood!
About the time I publish this post, my teen daughter will be donating for the first time. She just barely meets the weight requirement and she's scared to death. I couldn't be more proud of her for facing her fear and sincerely considering others more highly than she regards her own discomfort. She made this decision almost 30 years before I did…w o w.
Anyways…call me peculiar, but I have FUN going through this process! Maybe I was simply thrilled because I finally could donate again, but it wasn't just me–other students, teachers and parents waiting to donate seemed just as eager! Kudos to the Blood Assurance staff, their professionalism is noteworthy.
Please call your local provider now and schedule time to give blood. You'll be so glad you did. Not only will you get to be a super hero for the day, less than an hour of your time will be used to help up to four other people…and might just save a life! Consider these facts about donating blood (and if you aren't disqualified from giving, how can you say no after reading??):
- of all eligible donors, only 5% actually donate
- you stand a 95% chance of needing blood by age 72
- someone needs blood every three seconds in the United States
- donated whole blood must be used within 35 days; red blood cells must be used within 42 days
- around 40,000 units of blood are used every day in the U.S.
- A sickle cell patient can use more than 4 units of blood a week
To help alleviate your fears, here are a few pictures from my morning ~
It's almost like a spa vacation. They give you cookies and juice or a soda to drink, then make you lie back in
a comfortable chair and take a load off. They're concerned about your fitness, though, so they give you a little ball to squeeze for exercise.
The blood nurses don't mind much what you look like. They'll take you with sunglasses sitting cock-eyed on top of your obviously unbrushed hair and they're grateful if you brushed your teeth before you come.
(note to my children: IF YOU LET ME LEAVE THE HOUSE LOOKING LIKE THIS AGAIN, YOU SHALL SLEEP IN THE GARAGE WITH THE CAT!)
Just look at me (but not too closely!)–I'm all smiles. That is most certainly due to the fact a) I'm holding an insulated cup of Dunkin' Donuts coffee, b) I hadn't yet seen the rolls? extra chins?? that mysteriously photoshopped themselves into the picture, c) IT DOESN'T HURT A BIT TO GIVE BLOOD!
Afterwards, they even let you choose a pretty color of medical tape to hold a wad of cotton in place so you don't bloody your clothes or bleed to death. Thoughtful with a side of whimsy, yes? I chose purple to match the outline of the letters on my sweatshirt (Go Tigers!).
Sooo, please…unless you have a medical condition prohibiting your participation (and that was me since last April…not guilting those who can't, just those who can 😉 ), make plans to donate as soon as possible.
Someone's life depends on it.
*Dear God, can you please help me get back to within 10 pounds of that? Thank you and amen.