This morning I am at the American Red Cross center donating blood. I have O negative blood type like about 7% of all Americans. We are a pretty rare group. But you B negative folks are even rarer – only about 1.5% of Americans.
Poppa donated blood. In fact, he donated gallons of the stuff. His donations were before we had computers to track everything. He would get calls from the blood bank telling him that there was an emergency need, ignoring the fact that it was too soon to donate again. I donate to honor him and to help others.
It isn’t hard to donate but it is a little inconvenient. You have to be healthy, to make an appointment, to be patient with the process. And, yes, they have to stick you. But, blood bank folks are the best in the world at sticking folks.
Never donated? Here’s my view of the process:
1. Make an appointment. It is easier on the process compared to when folks just show up.
2. On the day of the appointment drink lots of fluids, be healthy and do’t take aspirin for a couple of days before you donate.
3. If you have the American Red Cross app (after you are in their system as a donor) do the rapid pass check-in the day of your appointment.
4. When you get called to give you will go through a qualifying process first. There will be some questions about your health, they will take your blood pressure and you will get a finger stick so that they can run a quick analysis of your blood.
5. Then you go to a comfy couch, get asked more questions, have a blood pressure cuff applied and another stick – this is the one to draw blood, so it is bigger.
6. You sit while they drain you of about 470 ml or about 8% of your blood. Your body replaces this in 24-48 hours.
7. After you are done (the actual drawing of blood took me about 15 minutes), you get a bandaid and a bandage.
8. The last step is a visit to the snack table. Usually I skip this step and just have a dietCoke waiting for me in the car. Today, I got a juice box (grape) and a granola bar. The rest of my day was busy and I wanted to make sure that I didn’t run on “empty.”
9. Then you rest up for a little bit before leaving the facility. I sat in the car, enjoyed my juice box and snack, and drove off about 15 minutes later feeling fine.
10. The instructions I received told me what to do if I struggled later in the day. It also told me to drink extra fluids and to have a good meal. I did both – I don’t have to be told twice!
Giving blood is easy and important. It really does save lives.
Poppa was often told that his blood donations saved babies. And that is true. He was O negative and must have also been CMV negative. I learned today that those with “O negative blood and are CMV negative are known as ‘Heroes for Babies’ at the Red Cross because it is the safest blood for transfusions for immune deficient newborns.” I do not know if my blood is CMV negative but I will try to find that out the next time I donate.
So, do it. Give some of that stuff that is keeping you alive to help someone else live. It is easy and you get free snacks!!
Jill (just one of God’s kids)
“The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:6-8