What makes me think that maybe I have saved a life now? I donated blood yesterday! I've always wanted to donate blood, but there are many restrictions for the protection of donors, volunteers, and recipients. For me, the restriction was weight. As I'm blessed with good genes, I didn't meet the 110-pound minimum for donation. I also have recently traveled to the UK and Asia, and I know my husband was rejected as a donor a few years ago because of his travels to Asia. Plus, one of my friends who is a big burly man tried to donate at my urging once but wasn't able to collect a pint in the allotted time.
However, I honestly felt ashamed that I work in healthcare but hadn't donated. Thanks to a decrease in stress and eating a healthy amount on a cruise this winter, I have crossed over that milestone. (Yes, that's the upside of gorging myself for a whole week on the boat!) I know that hospitals always need blood but the need is especially great during the summer and holidays because their regular donors are on vacation. There happened to be a American Red Cross blood drive down the street from me yesterday, so I signed up! Here are a few things I learned:
- The whole thing including paperwork took maybe an hour and 15 minutes. That's probably because I went during the post-work rush. They say that's the busiest time for them, so maybe next time I'll go a bit earlier.
- The worst part was the fingerstick to check iron levels. That hurt! The actual needlestick for donation didn't sting as much during or after!
- If I end up losing the weight, a nurse told me that our local children's hospital takes half-pint donations, so I shouldn't bulk up just to donate.
- They were a bit worried about me getting dizzy since I'm a rather small adult. After collecting my pint in 6 minutes (minutes faster than my husband! good job circulatory system!), I took the usual precautions of laying down for a few minutes and then having some juice and cookies, and I felt fine afterwards.
- There is a need also for platelet donations, which only stay good for 5 days, and people can donate every 2 weeks. However, it takeas about 2 hours to complete the donation. Since I my schedule is pretty free until internship starts, I called a platelet donation center this morning and made an appointment!
I feel absolutely great knowing that I donated blood to help someone's future patient, and the even better feeling is knowing that I can do it again.