A Shameless Plug for Blood Donation

1 Dec

I remember the first time I gave blood; it was my freshman year of college and I was quietly waiting for a friend to finish and texting my family on my super awesome TracFone, which cost me .5 units per text.  The blood drive was finishing up and a nurse came out to ask me if I was waiting.  I assured her that there was no way I was going to give blood and that I passed out at the sight of it (a problem for about 2-5% of people).  She said that if I could make it through, I would save three lives.

That’s when the guilt set in.

It was a good guilt.  I needed to feel obligated to do it.  Because sometimes I forget that just because a problem isn’t staring me in the face doesn’t mean it’s not a very serious problem that I can help alleviate.  I continued to give blood when blood-sucking events were being held at my school and struggled each and every time.  When I graduated, there was a sense of relief surrounding how inconvenient it was to donate now that nurses wouldn’t just come to my house and line up with needles.  But then I got a job with a hospital system that has very well-organized donation days in my business unit every single quarter.

That’s once every 3 months that I have to attempt not to completely pass out.

I heard a rumor once that if you pass out while giving blood, they can’t use it.  I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I use it as a sort of endurance test for me.  I can either hang in there and make the pain and awfulness worth it by saving three lives, or I can give up like a little pansy and succumb to the sweating and lightheadedness all for naught.

Today I did really well.  Like, seriously well.  I barely even sweated, and that’s huge for me. 

So here’s the thing: You should donate blood.  Really, you should.  There are lots of perfectly healthy, perfectly lovely people wandering around and not donating blood while there are lots of unhealthy people in hospitals in need.  Blood banks are pressed for supply so they offer gift card incentives, cholesterol screenings, and some workplaces even offer Paid Time Off Incentives for their employees because people need blood.

Do you understand what that means?  It means that people are suffering and in need of blood in order to get well and live and not only can you help three of those folks in one donation, but you get gift cards and a host of other incentives while you do it.  You can even go to some places and get cold, hard cash. 

So why aren’t you doing it?

This morning when I went to donate, there were several empty cots and no one in the hallway.  My coworker and I were the only ones there.  I think that’s unfortunate.   You don’t have to do it quarterly, although you can.  Trust me: if I can go ice cold, pale, and sweat until I’m on the brink of passing out and still make it through, you’re going to be fine.

So hey: it’s World AIDS day.  Consider making a life-saving appointment today.  It can be your good deed of 2011. 

Sidenote: Did you know that if you identify as a male that has ever had sex with another male, you are ineligible to donate?  Even though blood is tested for HIV before being accepted, plenty of healthy, uninfected homosexual males are turned away for donation.  It wasn’t until November of this year that the UK lifted their ban.  Consider raising your voice for the U.S. to do the same. 
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18 Responses to “A Shameless Plug for Blood Donation”

  1. lexy3587 December 1, 2011 at 11:50 am #

    good job 🙂
    and yes, it’s true that if you pass out, they can’t use the blood. And, if you pass out a certain number of times (though I’m not sure what that number is), they won’t let you try again (though that might just be for x number of years, not necessarily a lifetime ban from donation attempts)

    • Jackie December 4, 2011 at 4:58 pm #

      Oh wow I didn’t know that so many times of passing out put you on a black list. Good to know! And also good to know that my hyping up myself to get through the experience so they can still use it wasn’t all for naught 🙂

  2. Katherine Gordy Levine December 1, 2011 at 11:57 am #

    Thank you for this. Will repost on facebook. I ran blood drives when I worked in the Bronx. Always part of our Health Fairs. I, can’t give-rare platelet disorder.

    • Jackie December 4, 2011 at 4:57 pm #

      Thanks! And hey- how awesome of you to donate your time, which is just as important as donating blood. Helping the cause is all the matters – no difference how you go about it! Thanks for donating.

  3. Jules December 1, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

    Cash for blood? No way!

    • Jackie December 4, 2011 at 4:56 pm #

      Totes. For realsies.

  4. pegoleg December 1, 2011 at 3:01 pm #

    I gave for many years with no problem – even had one of those VIP donor cards. Then I started to get sick and dizzy every time, with the almost passing out, feet-end up procedure at the end. I don’t know why. But I haven’t been back in years now. You’re making me think it’s time to try this again.

    • Jackie December 4, 2011 at 4:56 pm #

      Hmm – did you tell them beforehand that you have trouble? I started giving them fair warning and they kept a good eye on me and blanketed me in ice when I looked like I was slipping. It really helps a lot. In fact, this past time they stuck an ice pack under my neck before I even got stabbed with the needle and I performed like a champ.

      Of course, if it’s a miserable, trying experience every single time maybe it’s good just to pass. But if you’re up to finding out if you’re any better now (eat a BIG breakfast- with meat if possible), then I’ll get out my cheerleading suit again.

  5. Neil C. Reinhardt December 1, 2011 at 4:39 pm #

    While I have not done it, just exactly what the hell is wrong with a person who needs money selling their blood?

    The Logical, Rational & INTELLIGENT answer is, there’s NOTHING wrong with them doing so!

    While I have given 37 pints and would love to be able to continue to give blood, my having a skin cancer under 2 toes had prevented me from doing so for around the last 20 years

    Unless you do not give a darn about your fellow humans, ANY Person who CAN give Blood, SHOULD GIVE BLOOD

    AND, they should do so a FREQUENTLY as possible!

    Neil

    • Jackie December 4, 2011 at 4:54 pm #

      37 pints – awesome! Thanks for donating, Neil.

  6. jaredblakedicroce December 1, 2011 at 6:00 pm #

    If not for the lives saved — do it for the Oreos and OJ!

    • Jackie December 4, 2011 at 4:53 pm #

      Right?!

      Wait – oreos? I only got Famous Amos cookies. I need your hookup.

  7. egills December 2, 2011 at 10:16 am #

    I used to give blood many years ago ( A rhesus blood type ). I’m not allowed to any more due to iron issues and clotting problems.

    I am registered as an organ and skin donor ( but not my eyes..shudder ) on line and more importantly I have told all my family so there won’t be any problems if anything were to happen.

    Well done for doing it 🙂

    • Jackie December 4, 2011 at 4:52 pm #

      How fantastic of you – thanks for being a donor!

  8. Emily May December 2, 2011 at 11:42 am #

    I would so donate. But the thing is, I am but a small girl, and a) I don’t know if they allow blood from my age, b) I keep worrying it will intervene with my HPV jabs (which show you how truly young I am) and c) I’m not sure if my parents will allow it at my age. That won’t stop me and as soon as those problems are sorted out, I am so giving my blood and saving three lives… Plus, I have visions of me controlling those people to behave like a chicken because my blood is inside them! Heh heh heh… 🙂

    (On that sidenote, I am in the UK but will do what I can to get you U.S guys to lift the ban. Happy blogging!)

    • Jackie December 4, 2011 at 4:52 pm #

      Well there’s nothing wrong with waiting until you’re a good age and comfortable doing so. Just consider it if/when you are able and still willing 🙂

      Btw, love the note about you controlling people through your blood haha

  9. Faith Othello December 2, 2011 at 1:46 pm #

    I so want to donate blood! It was so discouraging setting up an appointment and driving forty minutes away just to get there only to find out that I’m not only at least three inches too short but unless I grow that much (which, unfortunately, I’m done growing) or else gain thirty pounds then I can’t donate blood. So to everyone that doesn’t donate blood please do if you can! It’s sad for us short people who can’t 😦 I do intend to volunteer in the future, I want to help in some way. So go you Jackie for donating =) You are an amazing person, really.

    • Jackie December 4, 2011 at 4:51 pm #

      I think it’s so funny that you have to be a certain height to donate. I’m sure it has to do with something or other that makes logical sense, but on the surface it seems silly. Thanks for the compliment, but donating blood does not an amazing person make. 🙂 Thank you for trying! I wish those who can would realize how frustrating it is for those who are willing but can’t!

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