Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Donate life

This post is probably not something for the squeamish. Today at work the American Red Cross is coming so that associates can donate blood if they'd like too. I'm one of those associates, and I'm nervous! Nervous point #1 - I've only given blood once. I had tried other times but my iron level never was where it needed to be, at one point I had every single finger pricked. All I left with was a lot of band-aids and throbbing phalanges (I love that word!). 

I guess mine would say 2nd time donor now.
This really freaking hurts, I hate this part the most!

Nervous point #2 - I'm a weeeee bit prone to fainting. Ok, it's kind of alot prone. I honestly think it happens because I get so jacked up on my own nerves that my body has to almost shut down to chillax for a bit. Anyways, I got quite dizzy the last time and they had to flip me up in those chairs. It's embarrassing - you don't want to be that girl that passes out at work right?! I don't! 

I guess at least I'm not fainting at my wedding :) 

Nervous point #3 (the not so hard stomached should probably not read this point) - I'm not really scared of needles or blood but I cannot see them inject me or that thing sticking out of my arm...I'll faint. lol. I'm not even going to attempt to find a picture of this!

I'm sure you are all wondering why in the world I'm doing this then. Well, because it's a good thing to do, and I can help save someone's life. It's a pretty rare opportunity to have. Save someone's life. I guess I can check that off the bucket list. I know it's not in some heroic way really, but that isn't what matters. I'm also someone who firmly believes you are only going to get out of life, family, friends, community, etc what you give. Before the last time I gave blood I was torn. I knew I had issues giving in the past with my iron, and I didn't really want my fingers stuck like that again. I knew all my nervous points from the very beginning, and I thought why would I put myself through that. On the other hand I knew it was something that I could do to help out, and it was so simple. I sit in a chair and hope that I stay conscious. No biggy. I think what really swayed my decision though was doing a little research. This is what I found. 

Facts about Blood needs:
  • Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood.  - I know people that need blood regularly
  • More than 38,000 blood donations are needed every day.
  • A total of 30 million blood components are transfused each year in the U.S. (2006).
  • The average red blood cell transfusion is approximately 3 pints.
  • Sickle cell disease affects more than 80,000 people in the U.S., 98 percent of whom are African American. Sickle cell patients can require frequent blood transfusions throughout their lives.
  • More than 1 million new people are diagnosed with cancer each year. Many of them will need blood, sometimes daily, during their chemotherapy treatment. - almost everyone knows someone who has or has been affected by cancer.
  • A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood. - in 2005 there were nearly 6,420,000 car accidents in the U.S. alone. That requires alot of blood.
Facts about Blood supply:
  • The number of blood donations collected in the U.S. in a year: 16 million (2006).
  • The number of blood donors in the U.S. in a year: 9.5 million (2006).
  • The number of patients who receive blood in the U.S. in a year: 5 million (2006).
  • Share of the U.S. population eligible to give blood: Less than 38 percent. - doesn't seem like a whole lot.
  • Blood cannot be manufactured – it can only come from generous donors. - guess we won't be seeing True Blood anytime soon.
  • Type O-negative blood (red cells) can be transfused to patients of all blood types. It is always in great demand and often in short supply.
  • Type AB-positive plasma can be transfused to patients of all other blood types. AB plasma is also usually in short supply.
Facts about Blood & it's components
  • There are four types of transfusable products that can be derived from blood: red cells, platelets, plasma and cryoprecipitate. Typically, two or three of these are produced from a pint of donated whole blood – hence each donation can help save up to three lives.
  • Donors can give either whole blood or specific blood components only. The process of donating specific blood components – red cells, plasma or platelets – is called apheresis.
  • One transfusion dose of platelets can be obtained through one apheresis donation of platelets or by combining the platelets derived from five whole blood donations.
  • Most donated red blood cells must be used within 42 days of collection.
  • Donated platelets must be used within five days of collection – new donations are constantly needed.
  • Plasma and cryoprecipitate are stored in frozen state and can be used for up to one year after collection.
  • Healthy bone marrow makes a constant supply of red cells, plasma and platelets. The body will replenish the elements given during a blood donation – some in a matter of hours and others in a matter of weeks. 
I felt like all of those things were a good reason to suck it up and give 15 minutes or my time and a pint of blood. Despite my nerves I'm pretty proud of myself for doing this, and trying to help someone.  

If you are interested please visit The American Red Cross website. They have information on being a first time donor, how to prepare, and ways to set up an appointment.

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