"When you get those rare moments of clarity, those flashes when the universe makes sense, you try desperately to hold on to them. They are the life boats for the darker times, when the vastness of it all, the incomprehensible nature of life is completely illusive. So the question becomes, or should have been all a long... What would you do if you knew you only had one day, or one week, or one month to live. What life boat would you grab on to? What secret would you tell? What band would you see? What person would you declare your love to? What wish would you fulfill? What exotic locale would you fly to for coffee? What book would you write?"

Sunday, July 24, 2011

How You Can Save a Life...

....AND save your own!

I am registered with Miller-Keystone Blood Center  to help donate blood in times of need. A couple days ago I got an email that they were in an extreme shortage of blood due to a recent high occurrence of trauma and illness. So right away I made an appointment. Since I have donated before and have been screened, I am a candidate to donate platelets. I also have O+ which is the universal donor- So to me, I feel guilty not donating. I feel like I have been blessed with givable blood- I should give it if I don't need it at that present moment. Plus, you might need it again one day.

Its sort of ironic that the universal donors, the givers in the blood community, are the ones that can only take that one blood type back in. Meaning if you're in your own case of trauma and need blood quickly, they can't just give you any blood. They have to make sure you get O + back.

I love to donate, really. As a nurse, I can save lives every day on the medical floors or on the field. But there is something really cool in knowing that just by sitting there for up to an hour squeezing a ball, I might have just saved three peoples life. While I watched a movie and ate cookies. And anyone can do it, not just nurses, thats the beautiful part. Doctors, firefighters, teachers, businessmen, mechanics, waitresses, painters, you get the idea.

But there is something eerie about it, too. Your blood that ran through your body, got pumped by your heart, filtered by your liver, is now in someone else, running through their system. Part of you is inside someone else. Someone you bump into in the grocery store or drive by, maybe. How crazy weird is that? And whats more weird, what about getting a blood transfusion? I haven't received blood since I was a wee baby and needed it to save my life, but I can imagine it must be weird. Someone elses blood running through my veins? Weird!

I hold blood all the time in the hospital when I go to pick up blood bags from the lab, ready for infusion to the patient. Its weird, holding it, just looking at it. A bag of blood that was in someone's body- is now freezing cold and in your hands, in a bag, ready to go into another body.
Isn't it fascinating how the world works that way? How we figured out once upon a time that we could do that?

In the army medical bases, where blood supplies are limited at times due to very high trauma, they already have all acceptable donors in service on call and their blood types. In an extreme shortage, everyone is called to donate to help save the very people that are fighting alongside of them. How fascinating is that? That, to me, puts a whole new meaning into brotherhood. Everyone, working collectively together, to help save those beside them. Donating your blood so it can go into your friend in need in a few minutes...I would love to see that comradery and be in that environment. Maybe one day.

Ta ta for now, off to work in the hospital for the rest of the night....woo!

PS- Yesterday, I donated. And all day I felt more awake and less-tired than I have in a long time. How does that work? Isn't that the exact opposite of what is supposed to happen? Sometimes I swear my body does the exact opposite of what its supposed to, most days.

PSS- Sign up to donate today. It doesn't hurt (much). You get cookies after. And sometimes Ritas. And juice. and get to watch movies. And they spoil you. :)  Save a life. Save your own.

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