9 Jun

You're blood is happy to see you

Monday I went and donated blood for the first time in my life.  Normally if blood is being taken it is somewhat against my will and by a woman who is 350+ pounds with three-inch acrylic nails.  It’s normally not my idea of a pleasant afternoon.  

However, my decision to go and donate was fueled by a desire to help and a tinge of guilt for not having done it before.  You see, I’ve got the good stuff.  O- fools!  [wink]  What can I say, I’m a hot commodity.  

One of my customers has a 17-year-old son who is having open heart surgery next week.  That’s a pretty big surgery, especially for someone so young.  The family was in desperate need of blood for the surgery and I couldn’t help but volunteer.  If I was ever going to donate, this would be it.

So Monday afternoon I swung through the golden arches and scarfed down a happy meal before arriving at the Oklahoma Blood Institute.  It was surprisingly a cheerful place.  No crying kids.  No yellowed, tattered posters.  Only free sodas, cookies and some of the most mind-numbing day-time television one could ever dream of.  Now, here is where I want to hand out a few tips on donating blood:

1) Don’t wait until you’ve finished filling out the paper work for a regular donation before mentioning that you’re there to make a directed donation.  If you’re blood has to go to someone specific, speak up as soon as you walk in the door.   The nurses literally frown on having to redo mounds of paper work.  Why, I can’t imagine.  [cough]

2) Be prepared for some touchy questions.  As in 50 different versions of, “Are you a prostitute?  Have you ever engaged in homosexual intercourse?”  Because if you’re selling your goods on the streets, they’re not going to get near you.  Thankfully, my bits stay at home.  

It’s amazing how many different ways the question of “have you had sex for money, drugs or other compensation?” can be reworded.  Kudos, health professionals.  

3) Once you do finally make it to the ever-so-fluffy recliner and are sipping on your complementary soda, do not play around.  EX: If the nurse asks if you’re feeling okay, don’t pretend to pass out.  They temporarily lose their sense of humor when blood is coursing out of your veins and into a pint-sized bag.  More frowns will surely follow.  (I may be speaking from experience.)

4) Last but not least, once you’ve given all you can give, take time to rest.  Sit down and eat your cookie.  Slowly.  Marvel at it’s pre-packaged goodness.  Heck, have another soda.  What I’m getting at is that all that blood you just lost is going to make itself known within the next twenty minutes.  You may want to donate late in the day and go straight home.  Whatever you do, don’t race back to work in a car that is 100+ degrees and then commence filling.  The heat plus walking/jumping up and down to get to different filing cabinets would give you a fantastic case of nauseous and the distinct desire to pass out.  It’s definitely not a good thing.  

Fun and jokes aside, donating blood was awesome.  It didn’t hurt beyond the one second it took the get the needle in my arm and it truly saves lives.  I urge as many people who are eligible to donate as often as you can/are eligible.

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