Sunday, December 25, 2011

RACK 22 ~ and a soapbox

Well today I was able to do one of the RACKs I tried to do earlier in the week.  I was able to give blood.  A double red specifically.  This is one RACK that simply tops the level of "kindness" and it certainly is anonymous to the receiver.  I try to give somewhat regularly.  Who knows if one day it will be someone in my family or even me, that will need blood.  I know some people have a thousand and one excuses as to why not to do it.  If I wanted to, I could give those excuses.
When I first started giving blood, I had a very, very hard time.  I was just out of high school and very thin.  I passed out.  A lot.  I kept giving.  I started to tell the workers whenever I gave blood that I had a tendency to pass out.  They would take extra steps starting in the very beginning to prevent it. I started to give blood without passing out!  But then I had other issues.  My veins were very weak and they would collapse, they would roll, they would do all sorts of wonderful things that would frustrate the workers and leave me with big fat bruises.  I began warning the workers of these things and if I got a "newbie" inevitability they would switch out for a "pro".  Those problems soon dissipated.  There were still times that there would be a small issue, but they were few and far between.  It was not until this past August, that my iron was finally high enough to give a double (that's what happens when you actually care for your body and take a good multi-vitamin!).  This is a very different process and it uses a machine that does something that I still don't understand.  The first time I tried, I clotted halfway through and because of that I started bleeding from the needle site.  I won't go into details, but it was a bit of a mess.  And I was left with a pretty bruise.  Humph!  Oh well.  I was due to give again in mid-December so I made sure I took my vitamins so that I could try for a double again.  I'll be honest with you, I was a bit nervous when I went in yesterday.  I went through all the questions and the testing (that finger needle prick thing ~ so much worse than actually giving blood!  I am a total wuss when it comes to that!) and I was indeed had a high enough iron count to give a double.  Yay!  I got all situated in the chair and the wonderful worker went over the last minute instructions and we were off to the races.  Now, with giving a double, there are some side effects from it. Through all my different blood giving experiences, it has taught me to really listen to my body.  So with this being a new experience, I listened closely.  Things went great!  I did get cold (not a big surprise as I am usually the cold one in the room!) and my lips got a bit tingly when the saline was put in my body, but it all went great!  One of the beautiful things about giving a double, is that you feel better afterwards due to the platelets and plasma being returned to your body with some wonderful saline solution.   When giving a single unit of blood, sometimes I would feel a bit weak.  After this donation I was ready to take on the world!!  Ha!  I didn't even need the juice and cookies they offer after each donation (oh don't worry!  I still took my cookies!).
I write all this about my donation experiences simply to show that even if you are one of those RARE people that struggle with some of these things, it can be worked through.  It is so very important to give blood.  Get past the "eww, that's gross" or the "I can't stand needles" thing.  You are literally saving someone's life!  Just think about that.  Not many of us would hesitate if we saw a car accident or a similar situation to try to help the person in need.  This is the same thing, except you can schedule your superhero work, you get to recline in a comfy chair and you get a snack!  This takes maybe 45 minutes or so of your time and you can save the life of a mother, grandfather, child or who knows?  I pray that someone in my family is never in a situation that they need a blood transfusion, but that day may come.  Am I going to wait until then to start caring?  A friend of mine has a very sick little girl that her life depends on getting regular blood transfusions.  Who am I to say that it's not convenient to give blood, or I had a bad experience once, or yadda, yadda, yadda.  Please, if you have never given blood, consider doing it.  If you have fears about it, be honest with the workers.  Trust me, they want a problem even less than you do!  They deal with this all the time and they will work with you and help you.  If you have given blood in the past, but haven't done it recently, do it!  Pick up the phone or set up an appointment online.  This time of year is when there is the greatest need.  Don't hesitate.  Forget the excuses.  Save a life.  The place that I go to is LifeShare.  You can look up a place near you and get all sorts of info.  There are other perks to giving, too.  It may be a t-shirt (I get one when I give at our local fair each year), a coupon, or LifeShare currently has their "Loyal for Life" program where you can earn gift cards for each time you give during the year.  See?  Perks!  Plus the cookies!  Have I mentioned the cookies yet?  Seriously, take a moment out of your busy life to save the life of another.  What can be more kind than that?

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