I gave a persuasive speech once at Westmont called “Why you should give blood.” It wasn’t a great speech, which is why I didn’t make it past the second round. But, I still hold true to my argument that giving blood is something more people should do.
I gave blood today. I feel like such a hero every time I do it, which is why I keep going back. Is there anything better than getting rewarded for volunteering my time (and blood) than a pint of ice cream and as much free food and drinks as I want?
If you’ve never given before, here’s how it works…
Step one: Make an appointment. Sacramento has a really nice new center–BloodSource in Midtown. There are usually centers like BloodSource in every city, along with mobile RVs. Our center is super nice with comfy chairs. It smells sterile like a hospital, but it’s fairly homey. Check-in is easy and quick after you’ve donated before. If it’s your first time, they ask a bunch of questions like, “Do you have HIV?” or “Have you slept with men who slept with other men?” The only problem I’ve had in the past are travel restrictions. For the last few years I haven’t donated because we’d lived in China.
Step two: Temperature, blood pressure and pulse check. Just when you start getting comfy, pull out your finger to get pricked. I choose not to watch this part. They don’t take much blood and it’s only a quick pain. The reason they take blood from your finger is to check and make sure your blood has enough iron. Women are more likely to not have enough iron to donate- I got turned away once. So, take your multivitamin!
Step three: As long as you pass the iron test you’re good to go! Walk on over to the comfy chairs and hold out your arm. If you’re sensitive to giving blood, have fainted before, or are thin, this is where you pay attention. Ask to recline and have your legs up. It helps dramatically so you don’t get faint.
Step four: You’ll be given a little squishy thing to squeeze before the needle goes in. It’s quick and not too painful. You’ll be asked to move your feet in little circles, while playing with the squishy tool to keep your blood circulating. It usually takes me 10-12 minutes to finish. Then, choose your pretty bandage color. I get pink. Why not?
Step five: The last few times, I’ve almost passed out. You’ll feel it come on very fast, and if this happens, say something quickly to the nurse. He/she will recline your chair, put ice on your forehead, and ask you to cough. Usually you’ll feel better within two minutes.
Step six: March on over to the refreshments area for tea, juice, cookies, goldfish crackers and chili. Today I chatted with a volunteer who has been giving blood for 50 years. He’s donated over 20 gallons of blood and platelets in his lifetime. Think how many lives he’s saved!
Giving blood is completely safe, takes only 1 hour of your time every few months, and can actually have health benefits. Sadly, blood banks are always in need, especially around the holidays when people are busy and there are more accidents on the roads. Think about donating sometime, even if it’s outside your comfort zone. You can save lives, and did I mention the free cookies?! 😉
**Picture: Physician Mary N. Crawford worked at the Serum Exchange of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where, in 1962, she discovered that she was one of a few people in the world with the rare blood type Lu (a-b-) and that her blood might be donated to a patient in Great Britain. What if you’re like Mary and you don’t even know it?