As simple as this question is, we, as people, tend to pause. Why? For one you may over analyze this and think you haven’t because you haven’t performed CPR or they Heimlich on anyone, or pulled someone from a burning building. But this question can be and really is as simple as, “When was the last time you donated blood?”
Some, like myself, hesitate because you know what the question is getting at but don’t necessarily want to answer the question. For a very long while, I went without donating. Not that I had a tremendously terrible experience but more because of nerves. I had passed out once but it wasn’t traumatic, just unexpected. Actually I am pretty sure I passed out because I was so anxious prior and when it turned out to be such an easy process my body and mind were a jumbled mess of thoughts. (**provided I am not a medical professional; therefore this previous hypothesis of mine may be completely off!)
Anyhow, after putting off my second trip to the blood bank for a year, I finally got up the nerve and tried it out again. Guess what? No problemos this time. I was a little smarter and stayed seated for an extra minute or two after they released me but other than that no differences.
Although, to be honest, I am fairly lucky. My veins are pretty easy for them to see and poke! Knock on wood, I have never had to be stuck more than once. I can see where that would increase anxieties and really make it hard to want to donate.
To me, donating blood, is one of the most American things we have in this country. It isn’t like jury duty, where we are summoned and forced to participate. This is something that is completely voluntary. It is in our own power to decide whether to try and save a life today.
Nerves still attack! Even after giving several times in recent months. I am such a dummy too. I get more worked up over the little prick they give you on your middle finger than the big needle! Sometimes I just have to shake my head at myself.
But when it is all said and done, your 45 minutes of time and a pint of blood could be what saves someone’s life. Someone’s husband or wife, someone’s son or daughter, grandson or granddaughter, best friend, neighbor, classmate, etc.
So with pride I take my cup of water, cookie and over-sized shirt and leave knowing that I accomplished a selfless chore that more Americans, especially my age, should really take seriously.
And really my shirt is pretty legit! #IBleedSilver&Black
On a sort of neat, technological note: South Texas Blood & Tissue Center has a site where you can register. Each time you donate blood you earn a point toward a variety of gifts and also various health exams. Whether you register or not, they keep track of your wellness info (pulse, blood pressure, temperature & hematocrit), so whenever you do register it will all be available to you. If anything at all I think it is pretty neat to see how many gallons you have donated!