Why Donate Blood ?

I first started donating more than 20 years ago. My insurance company at the time, had a perk for donating blood. If I donated once every 2 years, I could receive blood free of charge in the hospital. This was my first intro into donating. I soon found out that I was the universal blood type and better yet, a “Baby donor”. My type is O- and C M V-, which means everyone including newborn babies can receive my blood. I was living in the Bay area and they wanted me to wait for a special request from them.

Now that I am in Arizona and actually work for United Blood Services, I am much more aware. Someone needs blood every 2 seconds. What many don’t know , only 5 % of the population donate. There are people who can not donate for various reasons. There are also many who can donate, but don’t. If people donated just 3 times a year, we would not need to make calls . We would have what is needed for hospital patients.

Let’s talk about the process. It takes about an hour. You come in to the center, present identification and are given paperwork to review. Once you review the information, you log into a computer and answer many questions, related to medication, travel, as well as life style. Once that is complete, you go into a private room. This nice person will review your answers . They will also check your blood pressure, pulse, temperature and your iron level. Once this is complete and you are good to donate. You next sign a form authorizing your blood draw. Then you are taken to the next area where another person will actually draw your blood. At every step, they are reconfirming your identity. They clean your arm, find a good vein and proceed with putting the needle in your arm. (This is not my favorite part) They will tell you just before the needle stick, that it’s coming. This is not good for me, personally. I tell them not to tell me and I just look away. I am there to save lives and I don’t want my fears to get in the way. Once the blood starts to flow into the capture bag, I’m okay with the whole procedure. When the draw is complete, the machine rings. The attendant comes back to finish off the procedure. Don’t forget to hold your arm up with the gauze in place. Your arm is wrapped and then you go to the “canteen “ area. You are to have snacks and water and remain in that area for 15 minutes. Then you are good to go.

I have had times when my Iron level was not high enough. Low iron means, I can’t donate that day. I have to wait at least 48 hours before I can try again. I used to feel bad because I couldn’t donate. Now, I am wiser and know that it is my body protecting me.
Here is the story of another person who donates, https://youtu.be/zwVeEIToqpU?list=PL5CCGB3tsLFI85GsCdCufwtUl-nKvI0dB her name is Bernadette and there are other stories available at that link.

I get so excited when I am able to donate. It’s my way of giving back. It’s just an hour of my time, that can save some one’s life.
I am being of service. Think about it, figure out your way to give back.


Pat G

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