So I’m a blood donor now. I did it once (well, twice, but in college I was basically donating because I had a five hour break or something and boredom will make people do crazy things like blood letting and stuff – also, free cookies!) and I’ve become a Blood Donor, capitalized. Meaning I intend to do it again. I’ve booked my next appointment already and I have every 8 weeks or so marked out on my calendar for the next year. I was going to get my ears pierced for the 7th and 8th time, but you have to wait 6 months after any piercings, so I’m not doing that anymore. I’d rather donate. It’s probably for the best, anyway. I’m not a 15 year old high school student rebelling against my parents. Do I really need more ear holes? Maybe, but it’s not nearly as important as saving a life.
A 16-gauge needle can be an awfully scary sight to someone not so used to needles, but, as the tagline reads, blood is In Me To Give, so I could suck it up. I pushed two giant babies out of my hoo-ha, I could handle one weenie little 16-gauge needle in my arm for what the internet promised would be a measley 5 to 7 minutes. It’s the least I could do. When I donated two weeks ago, it did not take 5 to 7 minutes. Apparently I have lazy blood because it took 17 minutes. It was not in a hurry to leave my body. But whatever. That’s fine. It didn’t hurt at all; in fact, the tiny prick to test my blood while I was being screened hurt way worse by far. It was an odd feeling, but I definitely wouldn’t describe it as painful. I wasn’t weak or dizzy when they were finished, although a young man across from me was a delightful shade of avocado green and was being fanned by a team of worried-looking nurses. Maybe he needed a cookie.
Do you know what the World’s Sickest And Most Depraved Diet is? The Blood Donor diet. Not that I’d ever recommend it as a means to quick weight loss or anything, but a pint of blood equals a pound of weight, no matter what country you live in. I joked that next time, I’m giving 5 pints, but thought better of it because giving blood to lose weight is silly. It just comes RIGHT back. Give blood to save someones life, don’t give blood to lose weight. BUUUUuuuut the pound loss was kind of a surprise in the morning ONLY because a dramatic loss in blood tends to make a person light-headed (light-headed is code for temporarily stupid) and I kind of forgot that I had willingly drained my body of a pound of fluids just the night before. And it was just a pound; my pants didn’t fit any better.
I don’t have one of those fancy, rare blood types nurses always swoon over. Mine is pretty common – A positive – which I thought meant I was an over-achiever, but apparently it just means lots of people have my same blood. A coworker of mine went at the same time and she has fancy blood, so they called her a few days after donating to thank her and to tell her that her blood had already been used to help save a life. What. Ever. I like having common blood.
I came away from my first (second) time donating blood with this overwhelming feeling like I’ve done something great. Like I’d made this decision to be completely unselfish and give Canadian Blood Services some of this invaluable, self-replenishing resource that’s just gurgling around in my skin-bag doing nothing but keep me alive. Here’s my blood; have some. Maybe I can’t take the credit that an EMT or ER nurse or doctor or anyone else in the medical profession can and certainly deserve, but I did what I could. I can’t do what they can do, I’m not even CPR certified anymore so I should barely even be trusted keeping my own children safe, but I gave them a tool with which they can use to make their everyday miracles happen. Hopefully, with their talent and know-how and my ever-replenishing blood, someone made it off of their table alive. Unless people donate, that last part will never happen.
It took just an hour of my time, from signing in to screening to donating to recovery (free cookies! and juice!), it didn’t hurt, and I came out feeling really good about myself. I’m a Blood Donor now, for life.
If you’ve ever thought about donating and have concerns or questions, please don’t hesitate to have them answered. In Canada, visit http://www.blood.ca/. In the US, visit http://www.redcrossblood.org/donating-blood.
P.S. this isn’t a sponsored post or anything. I just think it’s important and think you should, too.