Well this is me looking pretty darned pleased with myself. And all because I gave blood yesterday. See that snazzy purple bandage on my arm? I wear it like a badge of honour.
My blood type is O positive which is the most common sort (38% of all people). That alone makes it important for me to donate but add in the fact that O positive is compatible with any other positive blood type and I had an even better reason to donate.
I learned recently that something like every 2 seconds, someone, somewhere is in need of a transfusion. Holy cats! How on earth do they keep up with the demand? Well the sad truth is that they don't. And oftentimes a transfusion is the literally the line between life and death. So whenever I can, I donate.
The problem is, often I cannot. Y'see, I tend to be a little anemic. It's nothing I have a lot of control over, it's just the way I'm built. So whenever the call comes that there is a need for O positive blood, I head on over and try. And often I am sent right back home with a pamphlet of handy-dandy suggestions on how to boost my iron levels. All of which I am quite familiar with but bless their hearts for trying to help.
When the phone rang this time, I was happy to learn that the blood mobile was the donation site. Hurrah for the Big Red Bus! That means that it's on island, literally less than a ten minute walk from our house. I like that. And it was by appointment only due to social distancing and all of the other Covid precautions which means it should go more quickly. As a walk-in you never know how many people are ahead of you.
I knew it would be interesting, dealing with these new protocols and I was prepared for almost anything. My appointment was 9:15 and I set out at 9 on the dot. (Just in case there was traffic or I happened upon a neighbor who wanted to tell me or ask me something on the way or someone stopping me to ask directions - hey it happens. A lot.)
OneBlood, which is the name of the company, had a tent area set up outside the bus to get me started. I showed up masked of course, because I assumed they would want me to. A woman not in scrubs and wearing heels asked if I had an appointment, yes I do. She asked my name, I told her. She told me to have seat and then said, WAIT! and carefully cleaned the folding chair. Once cleaned, I sat, and a nice lady in scrubs anda mask went through the usual folderol that happens pre-donation.
In this case, my temperature, blood pressure, Oxygen levels and then the big one, the one that sometimes trips me up, my iron levels. So I held my breath to see if this was the end of the process for me but no, I passed! Just barely, but I passed! Next was a tiny bit of paperwork. I mean very tiny. Probably because I'm already in the system. And then I was moved to another chair..."Wait!" while the first lady cleaned off another chair further away.
Then I was called inside whereupon I faced the the next hurdle. The bus is loud. It's loud because well, it's bus and it's running the entire day long to keep the power going for computers, for interior lights and for Air Conditioning. I'm wearing a mask. Everyone is wearing a mask. So I'm trying to understand what everyone is saying to me without reading lips, over the sound of the bus, and not one person had a particularly strong voice. Dang.
Somehow we muddled through as I was directed first to a place to sit and go through a tablet presentation with a ton of personal questions that ended up with one of those finger signatures that never looks like anyone's actual signature. Next a private conversation behind closed doors in a room so small and crowded that the two of us barely fit. But it was a very quick conversation so whatever it was that she said, (I still do not know), it must not have been very important.
I was then directed to one of the donation bed/chair thingies. It's like a built in recliner that is always in a recline position. Actually quite comfortable (though the room is always so freakin' cold!). The phlebotomist, did a wonderful stick (no bruise at all!!!) and handed me a soft ball in a plastic bag to squeeze and in no time at all, I was done.
I was unhooked from the various tubes and bags and unseemly bits of medical equipment, handed a bag of goodies (ooo prizes!) and told to help myself to a cookie on the way out with thanks. I did not have a cookie (I've had their cookies before...not tasty) and left feeling so very good about myself.
Once I got home I looked through the bag. There was a lot of informational stuff and:
While I appreciate the idea behind the tee-shirt, it's unlikely that I will be wearing it anytime soon, unless it's white doing yard work or out hiking. But that ice cream coupon! Woohoo! Yeah baby. I will absolutely be using that one!
I spent the rest of the day taking it slow. I am a delayed reactor to a blood donation. At first I felt absolutely fine. I came home and had something to eat, drank a lot of water, checked emails, read the newspaper and about an hour later started to do the ironing and that's when it hit.
Suddenly, I was a little wobbly, a little short of breath, a little light headed. But I knew it would happen. So I would iron a few pieces and sit for a while. And repeat. Then I just sat on my big old butt and read for most of the rest of the day. Not exactly a hardship.
And totally worth it. Today I am absolutely normal again, or at least as normal as I ever get. And I did a good thing. The next time they call me, I will do it again. Or at least I will try.
Here is me sporting my new free tee-shirt. What is it about free tee-shirts that they never fit very well? In the grander scheme of things, it's no big deal. Donating blood on the other hand, that is a very big deal. If you can do it, please consider it. You never know whose life you may save. It's sort of like being a super hero, but without the cape and tights.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.