Giving blood is a great way to help others. These are people that you will likely never meet, but they are people that you will make a difference to- a lifesaving difference.
There was a short span in my life where I thought I wanted to be a nurse. The truth is that I had the personality for it- until it came to dealing with death. I am aware that death is a part of life, but it is not something I was able to separate myself from. I wish I could explain how easily my heart attaches itself to people. It’s like it doles itself out a piece at a time to everyone I interact with. Sometimes bigger pieces, sometimes smaller. And when those pieces went to patients who didn’t make it…I can’t really explain quite how that felt either. I know I didn’t know them that well, but there is something so intimate about a relationship- even one that only lasts a week or so- when you are a caregiver. When you bathe someone or help them clean up after using the bathroom or brush their hair or hold their hand because they just need to know someone is there- those were some of the toughest months that I can recall having ever had in my life. I dropped out of school and haven’t once regretted it- which has been a relief.
I have thought about randomly giving up a kidney. I have never known anyone that needed a kidney, but I have always thought that when your body has two and you only need one, maybe they were meant to share. I know that I probably will do this eventually, but the recovery sounds a little more intense than I’m able to handle at this point in my life.
I am an organ donor though- so if I ever die early, I hope that I have taken care of my body to the point where my organs are viable enough to save a life. This is part of the push behind my staying healthy and eating right- if I can’t use my body someday, I hope someone else can.
The next best thing to being a nurse or donating organs to me seemed to be giving blood. Everyone has it; it totally makes sense to give it.
I had tried to give before, but my iron was too low. The time after that, I failed the question portion. They sometimes alter the questions depending on your state regarding past illness or tattoos or recent travels, which can make a difference if you’ve moved. If you’ve been rejected before due to question failure and you have moved to a new state, I encourage you to try again.
Anyway, they laid me down, inserted the big, fat needle into my waiting arm, covered it in gauze, and handed me the ball to squeeze. Things were going great; I was talking to the guy and drinking from my water bottle and then the next thing I know I’m being gently patted awake. I was hot, sweaty, and I had spilled water all over myself- mostly in my lap and it was the ONE time I’d worn light colored pants- figures. Yes, I had in fact, passed out. Never having passed out before, I didn’t know what the signs were. For those of you who are unaware- dizziness, nausea and what I can only describe as a hot flash.
I proceeded to finish giving blood before passing out AGAIN (this time, I warned them it was coming and someone grabbed my juice) and then I had to lay there for almost two hours until I could stand up again. From there, the attendant actually took me back to my office because he was worried I was going to pass out in the elevator (to which I responded “Well, someone will find me in THERE, you really don’t have to take me back upstairs.) He was kind enough to ignore me.
I spent the remainder of my day going back and forth between resisting the urge to crawl under my desk and nap and finishing the employee newsletter. I truly hope that, that pint of blood I sent off with Red Cross finds its way to someone who needs it. Apparently one pint of blood can save up to three lives. I don’t know if that statistic is actually true, but it’s fairly impressive if it is. I wasn’t made to be a nurse or a firefighter or a police officer. I have always wanted to give back, though, and even though my overall experience was relatively unfortunate, I plan on doing it all again.
Have you ever given blood or had the opportunity to save a life? I’d be curious to hear about YOUR experience.