Thursday, November 18, 2004

Got Blood?

I do, minus one pint. I'm sitting here with my little Tweetiebird circle band-aid, sipping my lemonade after just returning from the university's yearly blood drive with the Red Cross. In return for a pint of my blood, I got a t-shirt (which I'll give my husband), a couple of cookies (long gone), a can of my new favorite drink (Minute Maid Light Lemonade) and best of all...a coupon for a pint of ice cream from Baskin Robbins (get it? A pint for a pint!)

Giving blood is a big deal to me. I have always disliked needles. I can remember a couple of times my mom took me for shots and I threw the most horrible fit about having to get a shot. I don't remember the details, I just remember it wasn't pretty. I am even ashamed to say, when I was younger, I didn't visit my sister once while she was in the hospital because I didn't want to deal with looking at an IV (I know, that is pathetic and I am a horrible sister).

I tried to donate during my senior year of high school. I made it past the screening and was sitting up on the table not sure I could do this, pretty much freaking out. The nurse took one look at me and told me I couldn't (or was it shouldn't) donate, something to do with my blood pressure getting too high.

It took me over 10 years before I tried donating again. About 4 years ago I had finally psyched myself into trying again at our yearly blood drive, however was turned away at the initial screening due to low iron levels. I was in tears...I had finally gotten up the courage only to be turned away. The screener told me I could come back the next day and suggested that I have a good steak dinner that night to help boost my iron. And it worked. My iron levels were right at the cutoff point (and were even perhaps a hair on the low side but I guess they figured if they turned me away again I would never try to donate again). It was a very triumph moment to me, to face my fear of needles and blood and actually get past them.

So every year since with the exception of last year since I had just given birth, I have donated blood at least once a year. I always make sure to have steak the night before (who can ignore an excuse to have steak for dinner). Its crazy to think I now look forward to donating, providing blood for others who desperately need it. Doing my small part to help my fellow man....okay, okay, you got me... I actually just give blood in exchange for the ice cream.

*hmmm, I wonder what flavor I will be enjoying this weekend...Definitely something with chocolate