Monday, October 11, 2010

Giving blood on a volunteer basis

I am a big believer in blood drives and giving blood. Blood transfusions have saved many lives and the need for blood never wanes. One blood donation could help up to three people.
Give Blood

If you’re looking for my gallon pin, you can quit right now. I haven’t given blood since 1986. That’s when the Red Cross and their affiliates recommended that I NOT be a blood donor. I don’t have any horrible disease that would disqualify me. They just don’t like having donors that pass out after giving blood. Not really ideal public relations.

Let me take you back to my last time giving blood.  It was January 1986 and there was a blood drive happening at the University of Houston for the Shriners’ Childrens Hospital Burn Unit. Now I have a soft spot in my heart for the Shriners because my nephew was helped by their Minneapolis hospital.  Add to that, although minor, I was once a burn patient. (oh, that’s a WHOLE ‘nother blog post)

It was about 2 in the afternoon and I had a 3 o'clock meeting, so I figured I had plenty of time. It took a bit of time to get the paperwork done before starting the donation process. So it was about 2:20 before they put the needle in my arm and starting collecting blood. I don’t remember the exact timing, but I remember seeing that my friends were already done and enjoying the cookies and orange juice while I was only about ½ way done. (something to do with my slow heart rate…)

I was going to be late for the meeting, so my friends went ahead and I would just be a bit late. When I was done and it was my turn for cookies and OJ, I was sitting in the chairs by the wall, looking at the clock. I remember feeling a bit light-headed.

When you think you’re going to faint, you are told to sit down and put your head down below your heart; basically between your knees. There is only one problem with that recommendation – when you’re in that position and you faint, your face hits the floor first.

I recall coming to and hearing people say my name. I thought “oh, they know me…” (You’re a bit goofy after fainting sometime).  I remember my cheek hurting and the staff offering me an ice pack. I don’t remember how long it took before they let me leave, since I was alone (all my friends were at the meeting and this was pre-cell phones).

The meeting I was supposed to be attending was in the lower level of the building and I made it there just as it was ending. I walked in and was starting to apologize for missing the meeting, but everyone was staring at me.

“What happened to you?”

“I gave blood.”

“Through your eye?”

The entire right side of my face was swelling up and turning colors. It was very pretty by the end of the week – the swelling went down, but there were so many colors involved with the black eye.

And that’s the last time I gave blood  - on a volunteer basis. And since I can't give blood, I encourage others to do it for me! And if you can't give blood - give money.

No comments:

Post a Comment