I gave blood today for the first time in over a year. Seems having cancer (specifically not a blood cancer) does not disqualify you from donation once your treatment has been completed. And nothing makes me feel better than dropping a pint of sweet O-. Everybody at the drive makes you feel like such a hero for participating, and you get cookies and a sticker before you leave (which ranks blood donation ever so slightly higher than voting). Another “personal best” for me was my donation time ~ a record 6 minutes! I felt like an Olympic sprinter….who gets to lie down the entire time. My phlebotomist made a big deal of thanking me for coming back to donate after my heath issue hiatus. Believe me, the pleasure was all mine.
The other nice thing I noticed about today’s drive was the high percentage of “young” donors (i.e. people who look young enough to be one of my kids and defer to me as if I were one of their mothers’ dotty friends). I like seeing familiar faces, too. I try to donate at the same neighborhood site, because they have a drive the last Thursday of every month, but today it felt a little bit like being in a high school gym. So if you were on the fence about opening up a vein to help your fellow-man, please consider these interesting blood facts courtesy of the Mayo Clinic:
- Only 5 percent of eligible donors across the nation donate blood, but the number of transfusions nationwide increases by 9 percent every year.
- Whole blood donors can donate as frequently as every 56 days. A benefit from donating this often is that you receive a mini-physical once every two months. (You self-report your weight — no judgement, they won’t weigh you, and you still get the cookies.)
- Each whole blood donation can help as many as three people.
- On average, a hip replacement typically uses one unit of blood, a cardiac bypass 2 units, a heart transplant 2 units, and a liver transplant 10 units!
- Blood cannot be manufactured. It can only come as a gift from people. (the bold/underline emphasis is all mine, Napsters)