Give Blood

April 18, 2009
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I just got back from giving a pint of blood at my local Hoxworth Blood Center. Every nine weeks I get their call and schedule an appointment, usually with my daughters in tow. This morning, a Saturday, both had soccer games at 9 AM, then we cleaned up and grabbed some breakfast at […]

I just got back from giving a pint of blood at my local Hoxworth Blood Center. Every nine weeks I get their call and schedule an appointment, usually with my daughters in tow. This morning, a Saturday, both had soccer games at 9 AM, then we cleaned up and grabbed some breakfast at First Watch. It’s always good to get a good meal in before you give blood, especially if you’ve pounded coffee in the morning. I’m probably close to the two gallon mark at this point. I’m referring to blood donation, not coffee pounding.

We arrived at the blood center, I grabbed the electronic “20 Questions” game for the kids to keep them occupied, and registered with the front desk. You have to shade in the answers to about 40 questions about medications, what interesting places you’ve been, and the bad things you might have done while you were there. The questions are always the same, so I’m often disappointed to see that another nine weeks have gone by and they still haven’t recorded my answers. So I have to tell them “I am MALE” and thus I’m “not pregnant,” among other fun disclosures, once again.

I like taking my kids. A lot of people are disgusted or get nauseous or whine any number of ridiculously wimpy reasons as to why they can’t help someone out. I hope as my kids see me do something in the category of “voluntary, non-profit, semi-discomforting sacrifice” they may be inclined to do so themselves later on and stay away from the “wimpy whiner” designation. They make use of the blood center “bartender” and grab cookies or crackers and some juice, usually for the blood donors, but the center is kind enough to help me impress upon my kids the positive nature of the place and the purpose.

Giving blood has some really cool side benefits. You get a free basic health screening, including temperature, blood pressure and pulse. In a couple weeks, I can call a number and get my cholesterol level, which since I’ve begun donating, is a level that has dropped from just around 200 to around 165. You’ll find plenty of articles on the benefits of giving blood with regard to your iron levels.

Another benefit is that for the next two days, you’ve earned the right to be lazy. The first time I donated, they told me “no heavy lifting, no hot showers, and no hanky panky.” I woke up on the floor of my shower from an involuntary, two-minute cat nap after completing the trifecta of ignorance just a few hours later. I’m just glad I didn’t bust my head open, thereby needing the blood back, an instant Darwin Award candidate.

Of course, the good karma is practically palpable after your donation, and you can read all about where your blood goes at the Hoxworth site. One of the more depressing points is that it takes 50 times what you’ll give to handle something like a severe automobile accident. Given that I can only give every nine weeks, and I’m pretty sure severe automobile accidents happen more frequently than that, it’s hard to believe there are 49 other people who will give the rest, and even harder to believe they’ll all be B positive.

Make an appointment, and leave the date and time in a comment below, especially if you’re a first-timer. Trust me, as the dollars coming in dwindle, the tax dollars leaving get bigger, and we all think about saving and get a little more selfish and stressed, the best thing you can do is relax and give to the anonymous someone who is probably far worse off than you.

Love,

Cliff
B+