Four years ago, as part of our university orientation class we had to make what is called a 50 by 50. Basically it's a bucket list of 50 things you want to accomplish by the time you turn 50. I never finished mine but on it was donate blood. I figured that would be one of those things I would do at 49 when my 50 by 50 resurfaced, unaccomplished. Well, I did at 49 but that was my donor number rather than my age.
Stephanie was sitting outside the caf on Tuesday trying to get people to sign up for appointments. I got "caught in the lunch rush" and didn't sign up. She caught me on the way out instead.
"Are you still thinking about donating?"
"Thinking about donating" was something I'd done for four years. The furthest I ever got was my first time: I got my mom to sign the permission form (I was 17) and signed up. Lo and behold in the two days between when I signed up and when my time came, I got a cold. I went by, talked to someone, and explained I had just a bit of a cold.
"We recommend you don't donate then because we don't want you to get any worser."
Yes, she said "worser." I cancelled my appointment and continued by day... cold free.
Another time I considered donating but I didn't weigh enough.
Then I went to Mexico... then Guatemala... then Costa Rica...
But now I'm one-year chloroquine-free (anti-malaria medicine that made me nauseous for nine weeks...), and I got bit by a dog. But even it if breaks the skin you're still eligible as long as the dog doesn't have rabies and the bite isn't inflammed or infected.
Ok, Moses, you're out of excuses.
I signed up for a time, told my roommates, and "ate healthy" for a day. I really have no idea what it means to "eat healthy," especially in a cafeteria, but I gave it my best shot. It apparently worked.
We had a few kinks: the once-over of doubt when I said I weigh more than 110 lbs, the lost stethoscope and blood pressure cuff, the woman vanishing on break while I was (giggling and) answering questions on the computer, and I had a very difficult time understanding the mumbled directions caked with a thick accent. Cattle herding.
As I was sitting there, needle in my arm, thinking. I thought about all of the germy surfaces surrounding me as blood poured from my vein. I realized that I have no memories of having blood drawn as a kid. None. I also thought about how mad Sarah got at me when she chose to read something I wrote while she was donating blood. "I'm in public with a needle in my arm, and I'm shouting, crying, and giggling. People keep asking if I'm ok, and it's all your fault!" I thought about my amazing roommates who called me exactly as I was struck with the needle. No, I didn't pass out!
All of this babbering to say: I finally did it! Another fear conquered! Another item crossed off the 50 by 50!
The goal for our blood drive was 90 units of blood. I was there two hours before it was supposed to close and we were barely halfway there, and the woman at the door was getting really nervous about coming in so low. Two hours later, they stopped taking walk-ins, but the existing line left them there for an extra hour. We raised 106 units! God is good!
If you're eligible to donate, there is a huge need right now. Check out The American Red Cross or your local blood center. Be a hero. Give an hour of your life to save three (lives that is).