Saturday, February 14, 2009
the best way to give
earlier this week, in honor of valentine's Day, i introduced my good friend SoMany to the world of blood donation. it takes under an hour and your blood has the potential to save up to three lives. more, if you count the various studies they may use your blood in as well. times are tough for most of us and when you want to give but find yourself stretched ever so thin financially, get your blood flowing and give a little from your heart instead.if you have never given blood but want to yet cringe at the idea do something that sharp sticking in you for that long, relax, it isn't so bad and you get free cookies at the end! not everyone can give blood but if you can, i would highly recommend it, especially now when their is a need. i can't help but think of all my friends surrounded by those awful fires. giving here in california to my local blood bank may not help directly but i like to think that it sets something in motion and the ripple effect will get to where it needs to. every little bit helps. and the photo ops can be fun!not everyone can donate blood. when you donate blood, make sure ahead of time to eat well and take care of yourself. you can't donate if yer feeling woozy. you also need to have a healthy weight and good level of iron. another reason to take care of yourself! if you have been recently tattooed, you must wait a year before donating and some medications may keep you from giving your good stuff away. once you sign up, you get interviewed. all your stats are shared, name, address, et cetera. your temp is taken along with your blood pressure and pulse and then comes my least favorite part, the finger prick. why oh why does this hurt more than the needle? i really, really, dislike this part which is funny because i jab myself while sewing all the time. maybe it is because i know it is coming, kinda like that puff of air they shoot at you when you get your eyes checked. aack! when that is done, you are left alone with a laptop to answer yes or no questions regarding some personal issues. when yer done, it is show time!
i'm usually at a blood drive when i do this so i'm usually in a wobbly, bobbly, blood mobile. you walk down the narrow walkway to one of four camper style cots. park your behind up on that blue vinyl, swing your legs around, take a deep breath and lie down. you're good, it's already almost over. a phlebotomist in a crisp white coat will be at your side chatting it up and singing along to those eighties tune that are squeezing out of the tinny speakers. your arm will get a rubber strap tied around it while a large squeeze ball is placed in your hand (mine looked like an enormous clown nose). this is to help find a good vein. you only want to be stuck once, right? he or she then will wipe the crook of your arm (quite excessively) with an alcohol swab and betadine. they will also ask if you are allergic to the topicals they are using. after your arm is sufficiently orange enough, the needle goes in quick and smooth. while you relax, you need to remember to squeeze that clown nose in your hand every five or ten seconds. this helps gets you pumping.the needle is connected by tube to a special bag that is marked "volunteer donation". there are a couple of tubes that branch out and they use these to fill up a small collection of vials if you agreed to be a part of any other testing. you donate a pint, which fits nicely in that bag that hangs down below your arm so you cannot see how pretty (or freaky) it looks. they don't want anyone passing out ya know! of course, if yer an oddball like SoMany & i, you can ask to see and they will show you. you can even take a picture of it but they won't let you hold it for a self-portrait. drats!donating a pint of blood can take as little as five minutes or as long as twenty or more. it all depends on your blood. SoMany & i are quick drippers and squeezed our clown noses good and tight. we were done in under ten minutes. when you're done, you sit up slowly and drink a bottle of water. when you can move from your sitting position, you travel to another seat and gorge yourself on cheese crackers, oreos and juice. gotta get that blood sugar up again.
you may feel a little loopy afterwards and your arm will feel odd and disconnected for a short while. there may be bruising and soreness over the next day. but, another cool thing about giving blood is that after you're all done, you NEED to take it easy. no heavy lifting, no downward dog, just relaxation with a pile of pretty magazines and a happy plate of sweets. if you think this is something you want to do, contact your local Red Cross. you can go online anytime to find a blood drive near you. and if you're a first-timer, the nifty folk at 1-800-GIVELIFE will set up an account for you. sometimes the blood drive is in a super nifty place. SoMany and i got to hang out in the super guarded lobby of the Capitol Records building (no pictures!).less than 30% of first time blood donors return to give blood so make sure you repeat if you can. you can give blood up to six times a year, think of all those free cookies! if the idea of all that red stuff has you light headed, head on over to Red Cross to check out their volunteer program or give directly. lucky for you and everyone else, there are three ways you can help! Click here for the Australian Red Cross.
Happy Valentine's Day from scrumdillydilly!