Thursday, August 23, 2012

We All Bleed Red - Give the Gift of Life

On the side of one of my gun cases is a sticker of a pint of blood

Some people casually look at it, some don't notice. It's from the Indiana Bloodcenter. I'm not a fan of needles.  I bore my childhood shots without a lot of screaming fits (which, flat out, wheren't tolerated by my Mom).  But I'd have tears on my face.

But as an adult, I had to have some more shots to protect me against some really icky things I might get in certain "work" areas. I went with two former Marines, Special Forces, guys I worked with. We lined up, for what would be a series of shots. there was no privacy.

The nurse stops, looks at  me and says "could you be pregnant?"

I looked at her in the eye and said "NO" (my lifestyle, Old Fashioned or otherwise, was no one's business)  "I'm forty (mumble mumble) ".

She said "could happen, are you SURE you aren't pregnant".

My team mates, all 500 pounds of them are trying not to giggle like second graders.

I said "Trust me, I'm not. 

Furtherly intrusive (look, this was a "employer" medical place, not my HMO)  she said"

"What form of birth control are you using?"

I replied, deadpan:

"Nudity, seems to be working."

The guys lost it.

But I hate getting stuck with a needle. 

I also donate regulatly to the blood bank, including today.  Why?

My Dad was a volunteer for the Red Cross.  He gave gallons of blood over his lifetime, having a particularly rare type.  When he was too old to give due to health reasons, he volunteered to drive the blood from the blood drives in our tiny town, in special coolers to the big city, a 2 plus hour trip.  He got paid a little per diem, enough to cover gas, but the time and wear on his vehicle was his.  He did it for years, until he quit driving except to the store and church.

Another reason?  I have O positive.  I'm  a mixture of Scot/Irish (usually O), Scandahoovian (usually not O) and Cree (almost always O).  O-can be given to any blood type.  But if you HAVE O of any type, that's all you can take, anything else and you are toast, the others have some leeway.   So the blood banks usually call me when they get low on O.

I'd not given for a while, having had 2 surgies in 13 months.  Neither were such that I lost blood, but two that close together, I was a bit run down.

But it was time to donate again.

If you never have, consider it.  It  doesn't really hurt.  Getting pricked by a thorn in your garden hurts ten times worse.  Trained nurses can get that needle in with no more than a little pinch.  The draw process doesn't hurt at all, I just lay back, happy to have my feet up and chat at the nurse. He or she is your captive audience, tell them about when you were the star football player in the 70's, bring out the grandbaby photos, they are just sincerely happy you are there. 

Before you start, you will have to fill out a confidential questionnare to ensure you haven't been somewhere or with someone that could put you at risk for certain diseases. (No, I have not played naked Twister in Tobongo recently and wasn't a fry cook at a burger place in the U.K. in the 90's.)  Once that's done, they check your blood pressure and hemoglobin (I was 15.1, a good number). The donation itself takes about 10 minutes plus 10 minutes to sit and have a cold drink and munch the free cookies and other snacks. A few days after your donation, you can also log onto their website and get your blood type and cholesteral numbers, all for free!

Then go home, none the worse for wear but a small bandage, knowing that blood you gave might literally save someone's life.


  1. As long as I get my cookie... :-) Been giving for years, and O+ here too!

  2. Brigid - i am also O. and whenever i have given blood i have been treated like a celebrity!!! my biggest problem is that i am a "squirter" and i tell the nurses that every time. they says something like "oh yes. no problem" - then they stick the needle in and i squirt avalanches of blood all over the room. ah least i am treated like a celebrity - bahahahahah!

    strangely enough...i don't think i want blood. if i am in a particular situation...i don't think i want someone else's blood. this is something that i want to think my way through, but i feel so strongly that it is very difficult to think it out, so i can't articulate what i mean...but i really don't think i want blood. and if i need blood, the only blood i am taking is jambaloney's...he's also an O...thank goodness!

    your friend,
    (thanks one more time for all of your help the other night - i really appreciated it. and i hope that Borepatch reads this because i really appreciated him jumping in to help as well. i am glad that you guys are such good friends. you are both lovely people and i am glad that you have each other's six!)

  3. kymber - I don't know, I think if I could put a Big Mac in my stomach if I was "starving" I could put a strangers blood in my veins to save my life, but getting a family member's would be good.

    No worries on the help, I have posts saved for busy nights or nights I work late, so you didn't take me away from anything. I'm glad your computer problem got cleared up.

    Old NFO - they say the O is the "hunter gatherer" type, I wonder how true that is. I'd bet a good portion of my readers are "O".

  4. You had me at free cookies.

    I'm O neg, so I get called a lot by the blood bank. Got my 5 gallon patch a few years ago.

  5. Neither of us are allowed to donate blood, organs, body fluid of any form. And by default, neither are our kiddos. Apparently, due to time and places lived, we could be carriers of Death. So we're donating our bodies to Science Fiction.

  6. Well, not an O here, but I am an A+...Giving blood is one of the few things I do to get into Heaven. One of the bummers about moving away from the Puget Sound Area is that I am no longer donating to the Puget Sound Blood, no 5 Quart Pin to go with my 4 Quart Pin...

    Donating blood is also one of the reasons I actually went to see my doctor about blood pressure medicine...I was turned away two months in a row for my blood pressure being too high.

  7. A+ here and I donate 3-4 times a year depending on my schedule

  8. I'm A+, and I really should. I couldn't during the year that I spent on bloodthinners, but I'm now a year past that, so my blood should be plenty fat again.

    And I giggled enough while reading this that I now have to read it out loud to my mom.

  9. What A coincidence. I am also O +. Gave for many years. But now my blood is tainted by foreign service (mostly serving foreign meats into my stomach). So now they won't accept me. But if the blood Nazis stop controlling it, I will be available again.

  10. Brigid - yes O blood groups are the original hunter/gatherers. they are the oldest bloodline and that is why O blood can be given to anyone. all of the other blood types come thousands of years after the O's. read up on the blood type diet - i was amazed by what i learned. and i try to follow certain dietary information about mine and jambaloney's blood type. it has really helped us understand our digestive systems.

    lots of love always. your friend,

  11. A POS - but have the Germany DQ for my 88-93 sojourn there with the 60th Ordnance Group, 59th Ord Bde and 84th/191st Ord Battalions. Have heard no end is in sight for the Mad Cow blocking precaution. Sooner or later that may get back on track.

  12. I was a regular donor for many years beginning in high school.

    A while back I started donating, at the request of the Red Cross, platelets rather than whole blood. Same basic process, but a little longer, and I get most of the volume back so not as many aftereffects.

    However...I haven't donated for over a year, after seeing the sign on the front door declaring the blood center to be a criminal safety zone.

    Apparently the same organization that preaches preparedness and being ready take care of one's family and self has a limited definition of being ready.

    When they take the sign down, I'll gladly roll up my sleeve.

  13. Brigid, O- is the universal donor...O+ can only be given to any other + type, but not the - types. Did you mean to type O- for yourself?

    I am O+ myself, but usually only can manage a donation once a year due to scheduling issues and what to do with the Monkeys while I sit there for an Monkeys would eat ALL the cookies!


  14. As much as I *despise* needles, I still donate two or three times a year and bribe my students with extra credit if they do it. My hope is that it will become a habit for them and they'll continue when they graduate.

  15. MonkeyWrangler - Thanks for clearing that up. I thought both O types, positive and negative, were universal. Good to know.

    GunDiva - what an excellent habit to promote and support!

    JohnMXL - I've not seen the sign anywhere where I donate, Indiana is lifetime permit, open carry, so only the most liberal of organizations put up "no gun" signs in places allowed to be self defense friendly per state law.

    Mikelaforge - I have a couple pilot friends that got turned down for blood donation as they were doing the London turns during the 90's.

  16. Coming up on 9 gallons.

    It doesn't hurt any worse than most other things, and there is actually some research that shows you benefit from it.

  17. AB-

    Used to organize the blood drives at State U, and got my 2 Gallon pin.

    Now they won't take my blood (lived in the UK in 2006-2007; it seems there's no test for mad cow disease).

    Which brings to mind the old joke:

    Guy 1: Had to shoot my dog today.

    Guy 2: Shoot him? Was he mad?

    Guy 1: Well, he wasn't very happy about it.

    Mad Cow? Maybe grumpy cow. But they still won't stick a needle in me. :-(

  18. I'm O+ Yeah hunter/gatherers!!! Have given for years...would do just about anything for a homemade cookie...

  19. Interesting, I have been donating blood since 1967 in OCS, where they wouldn't take it since it was iron deficient, something about the pace of the school or something.. but did for years after, always good for a day off in the military, until the cows went mad and most beef eaters were condemned by association serving in Europe almost as bad as having sex in unprotected places. Interesting to see others having that problem. We would give so much, blood was easy.

  20. I used to give gallons, until they got me on the mad cow thing as well.

    I figure if I did have it, I'd be long dead, but this is the .gov laying down the law...

  21. This is the first year since my return from England that I can give blood.

    Good thing about mad cow doesn't affect us chickens.

  22. My father took me to the blood bank with him when I turned 18. I have given regularly ever since. This last weekend, I took my daughter to the blood bank with me for her first donation.

  23. Ok, first, did a spit take about the birth control, too funny!

    Second...awesome message. I've exceeded 3 gallons, having donated for years. I'm Oneg, universal donor so I'm popular. I needed a transfusion once and was very grateful that it was there when I needed it. After the approporiate testing and waiting period, I started donating again. Blood does have a shelf life, so it is important to keep the supply fresh.

    Thank you for the reminder!
    Great Post!

  24. My blood is A positive, but they REALLY want my platelets.

    I have some special platelets that can be given to infants and those with suppressed immune systems. (whatever it is)

    Being an extremely healthy 97th percentiler, they get 2 or 3 donation's worth from each sitdown.

    When I give whole blood, I feel invigorated after and always violate the instructions to NOT engage in heavy exertion. I suspect I have a very high hemoglobin count, since I've never felt the effects of altitude.

  25. Kudos for a great reminder.
    I donated blood regularly (8 week intervals) for 15 years, switched to platelets and plasma about 3 years ago.

    My dad had Parkinson's, a surprising number of friends and family have battled, or are battling, cancer, so I figure this is the least I can do.

    Thank you!!!!

  26. Wish I could donate, but getting allergy shots disqualifies me. The person getting the blood might be allergic to the stuff in the shots and that would be bad.

  27. I'm A positive. Tried it twice, in two different states, and both times had a lousy time, lots of pain, lots of bruising, and vomiting and fainting free with my cookie. I know I should try again to see if third time's a charm in a third state, but I've got two scars and a lousy attitude that demotivate me every time I see that truck.

    Calmer Half donated plasma, platelets, and enough whole blood to practically refill a human until he moved to the US - where they took one look at his African origin and couldn't push him out the door fast enough.

    I really appreciate all y'all who donate; if anything motivates me to grit my teeth and try a third time, it'll be wanting to do my civic duty like you.

  28. Good for all of you that have tried it!.

    On a Wing - sorry you had souch a rough go. I can only donate out of the right arm. Left arm, they just can't get a needle into the vein properly. I have no idea why. Before my knee surgery they tried to get a line into the left one, and blood ended up running all over and oh boy, did it hurt. I couldkn't see much but I could see the look on EJ's face in there with me while prepped me for surgery they and it wasn't good. there wasn't anything he could do but watch me hurt.

    They nad to clean me up and start over on the right arm.

  29. B+. I've been giving since college. Got up after giving back then and what looked to be a 4' 9" 100 lb. 60+ year-old female attendant grabbed my arm to walk me over to the cookies and juice table. I looked down at her and said "What are you going to do if I faint?" She said, very sweetly with a smile on her face, "I'm going to get out of the way!"

  30. O+ here. And I've been donating ever since I was 16 more or less (up to 25+ litres now). It takes about 3-5 minutes to fill a 450ml bag, and twice I have 'sprung a leak' after they'd finished and put the band-aid on.

    As to why? Someone needs it, and I give blood trusting that someday, if I or someone close to me needs it, it will be there.

  31. First of all, I love your work. I am a Navy veteran and a second amendment advocate. In April 2011, I had given my 2nd gallon, pint. I am O-neg. so the Red Cross loves me. Later that week, the Red Cross called to inform me to see my Dr. immediately. I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. I spent from June to December 2011 in and out of the hospital. In January 2012, I was told that I'm in remission. So, to all your followers, please give. You could 3 lives or even your own.
    Brigid, Thank you, your family and your friends for your service and time. Keep on blogging. May God Bless America.

  32. wolf5013 that's not news anyone wants to hear. I'm glad you are in remission. Got your other note and squirrelled the info away for a rainy day.

    Hang in there.
    Best - B

  33. O group here as well. Have not donated in awhile so thanks for this post reminding me to do so.

  34. Thank you for posting this Brigid. I have been donating regularly for a couple of years. They used to tell me that I could not because I was a RH factor baby. Now I give whole blood and platelets regularly for the children's hospital. The most humbling experience that I have had wasdonating for a friend who was bleeding to death from a doctor's oops. After she had safely come through her ordeal, I was informed that the last three units, out of eighteen that she received, were the dedicated patient platelet draw that I donated. She was recently cleared to donate and will be joining my wife and I for regular donations for the kids.

    Thank you for encouraging others to give of themselves to save others.

  35. AB+. Used to give semi-regularly, but since I spend three years in Scotland ('89-'92) they don't want mine any more.

    Thank you to all those who do give.


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