I’m big on giving blood. Of late. And while I don’t usually bully pulpit from my blog (mostly because I’d bully my couple dozen readers away — come back!), I’m plugging the Red Cross today.
The donation appointments are easy as pie. First, the collections nurse puts your data (name, address, etc.) into the system – so bring ID. You fill out a computerized questionnaire, answering such points as “Have you gotten a tattoo in the last 12 months?”, “Have you been outside of the US or Canada in the last 12 months?”, “Have you ever tested positive for HIV?”, and “Are you currently pregnant?” (Around 30 Q’s in all.) Positive answers don’t necessarily bar you from donation: it’s okay if you’ve traveled abroad! Or have diabetes! If you’re pregnant or HIV positive, you can’t. Et cetera.
Then the nurse pricks your finger to test your blood for iron levels.
The first time I gave blood was this summer on E Street NW. My iron levels were too low. So they did a second prick. My iron levels were just right! Then we proceeded as normal, but still: two pricks!
After that donation, I found out I’m O+. Not a totally universal donor (that’s O- — missed it by one cross, c’mon), but I can give to AB+, A+, B+, and O+, which is still pretty neat, and the O’s are those most often requested by hospitals anyway, so ever since I have felt imbued with a deep-seated sense of purpose. So I am now big on giving blood.
Anyway, this time I came prepared: I had steak and spinach for dinner last night, and raisin bran for breakfast, all of which are iron rich foods, and guess what.
One finger prick was all it took.
Next you lay on a doctor’s cot. The nurse finds a vein, paints your arm with a brownish iodine solution, and sets up the tubes and blood collectors. Avert your eyes: nothing is quite as disconcerting as watching a plastic tube flowing from your arm into a glorified plastic baggie turn red. You squeeze a foam ball all the while to promote blood flow and in, you know, 15 minutes, you’re all done! That’s an hour of your day, and three lives saved! (Yes, I swallowed the brochure.)
You head to the recovery room for trail mix, pretzels, and some disgusting sugary drink pretending to have something to do with fruits of the forest. The rest of the day: keep the band aid on. Drink lots of water. No heavy lifting. Obviously, this last one is a huge problem for me. I must literally bolt the door to my bell bars.
“When Harry Met Sally” is on TV. I’m going to paint my nails and look at Anthropologie clothes. I’m going to babysit later and eat more steak for dinner. Giving blood is good!
To schedule an appointment, bop this way.
ETA: An illustrious reader asked for nail shots. So you have only her to blame: