On Thursday, July 7, the Senior Services Department hosted our Semi – Annual Blood Drive at the Community Center. I am sure that everyone has received an email, phone call or seen a TV advertisement about donating blood. There are individuals that go faithfully every 56 days to donate and they are great appreciated. But, what I really love is the NEW donors. Every time I ask someone new to donate, they always have an excuse. At our last blood drive, we had a brand new donor, one of our very own Auburn Hills City employees. Here is her story.
“Haven’t you ever had an IV before?” the nurse asked me while I fidgeted on the cot looking around nervously. “Yes, but seeing as it was administering Dilaudid at the time, I wasn’t really paying attention to the fact that there was a needle in my arm.”
My name is Jessica. I am 29 years old. I donated blood for the first time yesterday. I am sure most of you are probably reading this thinking big deal, I donate blood every 8 weeks. But as a person that is absolutely terrified of needles, this was no easy challenge.
In high school, I could always use the excuse that I didn’t weigh enough or there wasn’t enough iron in my blood. As an adult, I struggled to find excuses. “I am busy that day” or “I just got my nose pierced”, “I am feeling a cold coming on”. In January, my excuse was that I had just been to Thailand, even though I knew full well that Bangkok was not on the list of restricted regions for blood donation. When designing the flyer for the July Blood Drive, I am not sure what switch flipped inside me (other than the fact that I love a good challenge!) but I said, “That’s it, I am participating in the July Blood Drive!”
And then July 7 rolled around… I stared at the note on my calendar, thinking up an excuse. Alanna, who works in our office and is a seasoned blood donor, let me know that she made her appointment for 1PM and that I could go with her if I wanted. I picked up the phone and made an appointment, and then I started sweating. Omg omg omg what am I thinking, I CANNOT do this. Sheer panic set in over the next couple of hours, trying to figure out how to back out of this crazy decision I had made.
I decided to switch gears from my panicking and do a little research. Did you know that fewer than 1 in 10 people actually donate blood? Or that the United States uses 40,000 pints of blood each day? But the real kicker – my 1 pint of blood has the potential to save as many as three lives. Now, I am fairly confident that in my lifetime, I probably won’t become a firefighter, EMT or policeman. I more than likely will not fight the front lines on a battlefield or perform emergency heart surgery to save a life. But I CAN be slightly uncomfortable for a moment to potentially save three lives with my blood donation.
So I kept the appointment and marched up to the Community Center. Although the staff probably thought I was a toddler in an adult’s body, I didn’t yelp when they pricked my finger or start yelling when they drew the blood. After it was over (and I was burying myself in a pile of fruit snacks and Cheez-Its) I couldn’t believe I had put it off for this long and made excuses. Donating blood was not only super quick and easy but it felt so rewarding.
If you are on the fence about donating or afraid that it will be a horrific experience, I encourage you to reconsider. Trust me, if zero-pain-tolerance-cry-baby-Jessica can donate blood, so can you! I promise you will not regret it.
Karen Adcock, Director of Senior Services