Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Saving Lives and Getting to Class Ontime

Last week I donated blood for the second time. My appointment was at 12:15 and, naturally, they were running behind.  Even with my scarlet letter "A" (for "appointment"), 12:30 came and went.  Taylor was sitting near me as I complained about being so close to getting to class on time.  He said he had a 1:15 class, too.  We didn't think we were going to make it.

Ms. Red Cross called for an appointment and I leaped to my feet.  Then she changed her mind and called a walk-in instead.  Taylor got to go instead.  I made a snotty comment about being angry if he made it to class on time and I didn't.

"What time's your class?" a professor sitting nearby asked.
"One fifteen."
He looked at his watch: 12:35.  "You're probably not going to make it."

I said I'd give them five more minutes before I left and came back after class.  The only trouble with that was having to eat again and healthy mid-afternoon snacks don't exist here.

In that five minutes, a man called for the next appointment.  I jumped up and literally ran to the computer station.

"Are we having fun yet?" he asked.

I told him about my class and he gave the clock a skeptical glance.  It was going to be tight!

"Don't pass out on me."

I assured him I wouldn't... hoping I could stay true to that promise.

We sped through the identification questions as fast as we could.  To the point where he almost asked my temperature before taking it, like I was supposed to know it off of the top of my head like my height and weight.

When I gave him my height and weight, he looked away from the computer and met my eye when he repeated it to confirm.  I'm dangerously close to the limit.  I know that.  It's a generic weight limit not accounting for different heights.  Which means I'm technically still over the limit even though I'm five eight and have the body of a microphone stand.  (Shaun Groves said that).  I was prepared to argue that I did not have a problem donating last time.

"Listen, you're very close," said Mr. Red Cross.  "I don't care if you're late to class.  When you're done, you're going to sit at the cookie table for at least ten minutes."

"Yes, sir."  Honestly, if you're going to be put in time out, the cookie table is the place to do it!

"I'd rather you pass out here than on the asphalt outside."

Thanks for that encouragement, buddy!

In the interest of time, he read the questions aloud to me rather than letting me answer them privately.  I think there were only 15 questions that would have made Melissa giggle.  I speak fast, but this man could give me a run for my money!  By the time we got to pulse and blood pressure we were in the middle of a marathon!  Yeah, not exactly what you want when you're having your blood pressure taken.  (Even if he had to inflate the cuff just to keep it on my arm).

“Are you nervous?  Your heart rate’s fast.  Don’t be nervous. I’m pretty good at this,” he said.

I wasn’t really scared nervous.  I was time nervous, anxious, and excited.  I was a big mess of emotions; no wonder my blood pressure was high.

However, having your blood moving fast does come in handy when you’re having a it stolen from your arm.  The actual donation, like everything else that day, was super sonic speed!

"Utto," Mr. Red Cross said.
Yeah, that’s never a good thing to hear when you’ve got an IV in your arm! He tried to fill up the test tube and it wouldn’t fill properly.

“You already took all of my blood,” I teased.

“And I’m going to take a gallon more,” he said.

“Do I get extra cookies for that?”

“You can have as many cookies as you want,” he said.

A few more jokes (“This won’t hurt me a bit.” “Two fingers on the booboo. Yes, that’s the medical term.”) and I was free to go to cookie time-out.
I looked at my watch: 1:02.

God is good! He gave me my ten time-out minutes to eat cookies, inhale water, and be interviewed for the newspaper.  I still made it to class on time!

In my interview, I was asked why I donate blood.  Like my buddy Jesus, I answered her question with a question: why not?

Then I explained–I had been the queen of excuses. I didn’t weigh enough. I had a cold. I left the country.

And once I got over that, got over myself, I took the plunge and tried it. I loved it.  The first time, I kind of felt like I was being rushed through and I was there for a longer amount of time. The second time, I was there for a shorter amount of time but Mr. Red Cross took the time to tease me, answer my questions, and truly care for me.  It made a huge difference!

It’s a simple, financially painless way to give of yourself and make a huge difference. Sure, hurts a bit, makes you look like a druggy who loves Sharpie, and makes you feel a little weird for a few days but with the lives saved, it's worth it.  I’m genuinely disappointed I’m leaving the country before I’m eligible again. But my April 2012 to do list: donate blood.

If you’re eligible to donate, why not?

<>< Katie


Casey said...

Way to go, Katie! Last time I gave blood, I passed out. (Say it with me: qué pena!) Next time I have a free day, I need to go make sure I donate again. Thanks for the reminder! (And YAY GOD for getting you to class on time!)

JPR said...

I try to donate as frequently as possible (every 8 weeks is the limit). It's a pretty good way to help people out.