Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Why You Should Give Blood

Almost everybody over the age of 17 can donate blood.  However, of those able, only about 5% actually take the time to do so.  In addition to this, 9 out of 10 people will need blood at some time in their life, if they live to be 70.*

I’ve been giving blood since I was 17.  My Google Calendar reminded me that it’s time for me to give again this week.  I’ve never had a need for a transfusion or anything, but I’ve always felt like I should give for those who do.  My blood type is O-negative, and my blood can be used by everybody, regardless of their blood type.  (O-positives, on the other hand, can accept every blood type.  All the other types are stuck with accepting either their own blood type or O-negative.)  Thus, another reason for me to give often.  I estimate that I’ve donated around 2-3 gallons of my blood so far, and all of it has gone to good uses, as opposed to going to vampires.

Blood Type Frequency
The frequency of blood types in America.

There are many valid reasons for why you should give blood, and the most important one is that you’re helping out somebody that needs help.  It is a direct way that you can help save somebody’s life.  Maybe it’s the grandmother during an operation.  Maybe it’s the child that was just hit by a car.  Maybe it’s the man who just sawed his finger off and is bleeding profusely while cursing his ill luck and the day he was born.  Whatever the case, your donated blood will be able to help someone.

Another reason is that you can score some sweet swag.  While this may seem materialistic, and for true it is, there’s more to it than just materialism.  Where else can you get a white tee-shirt with a strange blood design on it for free?  Those shirts are perfect for playing tennis or working out or collecting or donating practicing ironing.  Last time I gave blood, I got a heavy-duty rain-proof parka thing, a calendar, a notebook, a tee-shirt, a set of keys to a brand new car, a little slice of beach front property in Maui, a lifetime supply of chicken lips, and one neon yellow tube sock.  Score!

Still need more reasons to give blood?  Well read on.  Giving blood is the perfect way to look like a macho-man or a fearless-woman.  Who cares that you’re going to get stuck with a needle and get your finger pricked.  The pain is like getting pinched by a 10-year old, short and annoying.  Plus, once it’s over, you can show off your bandage and hit on girls.  “Check out this wound, ladies.  Took a gunshot to the arm while defending a helpless puppy from an evil gang of troubled youths.”  Swoon.  Also, everyone’s required to be nice to you after you give blood; sometimes you even get stickers to demand hugs or kisses for your good deed.

It’s very easy to give blood.  The whole process usually takes around 45 minutes to an hour, and a majority of the time is spent answering questions about your health, travel life, love life, and recent sicknesses.  The questions alone almost make it worth the trip.  If you’ve ever wanted redundant questions asked over and over again, this is your chance.  And after the interrogation, you get your finger pricked to make sure your iron is high enough to donate.  If not, you can’t give, but you can try again later; if your iron is okay, you’re ready for the next step.  You’re then taken to a comfy bed/reclining-thing, an arm is cuffed and pumped like a blood pressure thing, a needle is connected to your arm, and the blood flows. 

Of course, the next-to-the-best reason to give blood is the break you get after giving.  There’s a canteen area with snack cakes and iced sodas and juice.  It’s free.  It’s just a little reward for being a good boy or girl and giving of yourself.  Small children usually are fanning this area with large palm leaves, filling the canteen with their melodic laughter and happiness.  Plus, the pop cans are often the cute little sizes, too!

If you’ve never given blood, then I strongly urge you to do so.  In all seriousness, it really is a great thing to do for yourself, your community, your country, and anybody that’s in need.  There’s almost always a need for blood, and every little bit really does help.  If you’re scared of the needles, don’t be.  I promise, it doesn’t hurt.  If you think you don’t have time, you do.  The procedure’s short.  Just give it a try.  If you’ve never donated before, then this is also a great way to find out your blood type.  Give at a reputable place, like the Red Cross, and everything will be fine.  Read some testimonials and see if it doesn’t make you want to give.

More information on donating can be found at the Red Cross or at your local hospital.

*Information is from the Western Kentucky Regional Blood Center


Bilski said...

At my work you also get 4 hours off for "recovery" when you donate blood so needless to say, the blood drives are very popular around here :D

~Jennifer~ said...

Well said. I would love to give blood, especially since I'm A-. Unfortunately I have small deep veins and no one will even try. I get denied every time.

Crystal said...

Very humorous post today! One of these days, when I'm not working on a Saturday, I need to donate blood. I have no idea what my blood type is.

logankstewart said...

@Bill: Recovery time would be awesome. Unfortunately, we don't get that here.

@Jennifer: Yeah, I know a few people with the same problem. I'm sorry. But hey, thanks for commenting!

@Crystal: Yes, one day you definitely should. You could even add it to your "Things I've Never Done Before" quest.

Shellie (Layers of Thought) said...

Logan -
What a nice post.. and an important one as well.
I forget which blood type I am..

logankstewart said...

Thanks, Shellie. Forgot your blood type? The Red Cross probably could tell you, if you're in their records and you wanna know.

David Wagner said...

I'm O+, but I've never donated blood... the idea of it always creeped me out... but you've just about convinced me to overcome my trepidation and start doing it! I just need to read this post a few more times...

When I went to art school in Phoenix in 1989, they had a deal where if the whole class donated blood, we would get a pizza party... guess who the only person not to donate was? Yep, the class was not happy with me for that one... no pizza for them!

Something about the idea of it always made me unsettled... but I see the logic in it... if I can just bridge the gap between my head and my gut, all will be well...

logankstewart said...

@Dave: Give some blood! Give some blood! Give some blood! Somehow, picturing a giant throng of people rooting that gives me the willies.

Funny stuff about the art class. Everybody but one person. Must've felt...exclusive.

I hope you bridge the gap, friend, and take the plunge into donating. I really can't express how truly wonderful it is, and the act of giving is not painful at all.