Folks who know me know that if there is one thing that is near and dear to my heart it is donating blood. I started shortly after I turned 18 and haven’t stopped since. A recent health hiccup has slowed me a bit, but fortunately the nurses who run the DeGowin Blood Center have been able to keep me in play if at a lower level.
About a year ago I posted that blood donations were at a low level in Iowa. This was no surprise as the state was tussling with the Covid-19 epidemic. Some folks were skeptical of going near a hospital or any gathering place at all. But Iowa’s donors came through.
Apparently we have been short of blood in Iowa for the last two months. How I missed that I don’t know. I just heard it on Iowa Public Radio this week. So I will use my soapbox to ask that people give a thought to becoming a blood donor.
Depending on where you go, you can be in and out in about a half an hour. Giving blood is simple and easy. Essentially you answer some health questions and get a quick check up for temperature and blood pressure plus a quick blood analysis and BOOM you are ready to donate.
Then you are placed in a comfortable recliner where your blood will be taken. What may be a sticking point for many people is the needle jab. I can only suggest that if it bothers you, try to divert your thoughts. For most folks it is only a momentary discomfort. This is followed by a few minutes to give the product.
Once you are done, there will be a short wait to make sure your are not dizzy from your blood loss. Remember one pint is a fairly good percentage of your blood. Once dizziness is not a problem, most places have a little snack area where donors are given a snack and a drink to help them recover.
And that is about it – around a half an hour and you are done. Probably a good idea to make another appointment before you leave. If you are donating whole blood you can donate once every 56 days or 8 weeks. Perhaps one of the best ways to handle that is to make every 8th Tuesday (for example) your standing donation time.
What happens to your blood depends on what is needed at that time. I will guarantee that it will be used. Car accidents, surgeries, home accidents on and on. There is always a need for blood. And you can feel pretty proud of yourself. You are a hero to someone that needed that pint of blood to live.
Like any business, blood donation centers really like donors who will donate on a scheduled basis. That way they can count on your donation and make plans for using it. Most donors look at donating as one of their most sacred obligations. They know the blood center relies on their blood and so skipping a scheduled time is a last resort.
There are some rather interesting quick facts about blood donors at this Red Cross site.
Only about 38% of Americans are eligible to give blood. However only about 3% actually donate. If all eligible donated we would be awash in blood. Yet we go through these shortages.
And let me tell you for personal experience. If you are type O blood, the donation center would love to see you – soon and often.
Want that feeling of being superman or superwoman for a day? Call you local donation center. Just google “donate blood” and you should get plenty of hits.
And here’s a good idea – do it with a friend. Then go have some dinner. What a great idea.
Holy moly, decades of donating. On behalf of Iowa, thank you, Dave Bradley for being such a great donor.
We need a word that means “generous and admirable citizen.” “Mensch” may have to do for now. Thank you for being a mensch.
Thank you – I sort of stumbled into it but am sure glad I did