Saturday, January 5, 2013


In the spirit of the new year - and buckling under the pressure from a volunteer who wanted to register us - we agreed to donate our blood today.  I didn't really want to participate - it was a sacred Saturday morning, plus, honestly it required me to work those personal goals of getting out of my comfort zone whenever possible, trying new things and volunteering in the community.

I hadn't donated since I was much younger and I was a little tentative.  I was ok with testing my hemoglobin and getting asked a lot of personal questions (I even had to point out the region in Greece we recently visited so they could cross-check with potential malaria areas) - but my weight?  Why did they need to know THAT?  Apparently they just need to make sure you weigh more than 110 pounds and I'm happy pleased okay reporting that I passed that test just fine.

The phlebotomist was engaging and sensed my fear and explained everything, especially when I told her I was currently writing this blog in my head.  She told me she works out of Davenport, Iowa (Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center) and that is where our blood was headed.  She explained that everything is timed carefully because the blood cannot sit idle, and, volunteers (they couldn't do what they do without them) arrive at predetermined times to receive and process the blood.  MVRBC, unlike other places, collects "quads" so your blood can potentially help 4 surgeries, er, human beings.  I started to get energized when I learned that the blood is distributed in states where loved ones reside:  WI, IL, IA, MO.  Not only is blood needed for accidents, but, duh, also for hip surgeries, knee surgeries, cancers, etc.

High school drives are always a big success - she said teenagers tend to be fearless, are enthused about getting excused from class, and appreciate the free snacks.  Athletes are notorious for donating - usually about two days before a big competition. It's a healthy thing to do. But the blood drives attract all over the demographic map, and all are welcome - unless you have or are at risk for infectious disease.  They screen carefully.  I asked about those who sell their plasma - she said MVRBC doesn't pay for blood because they believe they get more authentic answers to lifestyle questions from people who are driven to donate by something other than money.  She said the plasma is mostly used for research and training and they go to tremendous lengths to verify the blood and protect the donor's - and the recipient's - safe experience.

Instead of that tall Blonde roast I had yesterday, it would've been smart to hydrate before the draw (drink twice as much water as you normally do the day before).  This encourages your veins to plump so the draw goes faster.   (I donated 460 mL but the typical donation is 510 mL if you are bigger and are hydrated.)  Oh - and we are free to donate in 56 days...and you can bet I hope to do just that!

Knights of Columbus: part blood drive, part pancake breakfast.

They draw six vials in addition to the quad so the lab can quickly test your blood when it arrives.

1 comment:

  1. Great job accomplishing your New Year's goals Jen!