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.