Wednesday, December 09, 2009

I guess giving it is better than sweating it...

I have this thing I do, it's kind of a superstition. Whenever I get a piece of good fortune, I donate to a charity as a sort of thank you. Whenever I'm down on my luck, I do the same as a banking-against-the-rain sort of thing.

I know. Very Earnest.

I can't help it. It comes, I think, from a religious upbringing and the feeling that I should in some way give thanks for still being a standy-uppy-walking-about person.
Recently I had a piece of good fortune and was casting about for a charity and just then, blow-me-down, wouldn't-ya-know-it, the Red Cross knocked on my door just as I was about to go into a meeting. I asked for a sign up form that I could post or that they could come back for, but they wouldn't give me one and they wouldn't leave. In desperation, I made the wrong connection and told them that 'Sorry, I'd rather just give blood'.

There it was. Out. Of course, five minutes later I realised that the Red Cross actually don't take blood any more, it's the National Blood Service but I'd committed now, so I registered to give blood and yesterday found myself lying down while a lovely man shoved a drainpipe into my arm and relieved me of a pint of blood.

OK, I exaggerate a smidge.

First, you fill in a form which excludes probably 30% of the population for safety's sake. Then they take a drop of your blood and test it to see if you actually have enough red blood cells to spare. I was borderline meaning they had to take more blood and test it in a machine before they let me do it for real.

So, two needles in and I was getting all cocky about it - I hadn't felt any pain, my blood was good to go... it wasn't until the third and final needle was partway in that I registered that this wasn't the itsy bitsy mosquito needles they give you at the phlebotomy clinic. Oh no. Thinking about it is still giving me muscle squinges and yet... and yet it didn't hurt at all after the first poke. I didn't feel anything in fact and I've already signed up to do it again in March.

The chap who took my blood has donated 40 of his own pints over the years and says he's never gotten used to the needles, but I think that the key thing is that he keeps on doing it.

Blood stocks are low and only 4% of the population actually donate. The National Blood Service website shows that there are less than 5 days stocks left of blood types B negative and O negative in the UK and I was told that A and O are the types most in demand.

I reckon it wouldn't take much effort for another 1% of the population to step up. If I can do it (I am a needle-phobe of the highest order - I had my baby at home with no drugs rather than face the possibility of an epidural; I am notorious at my dentist for having fillings with no anaesthetic); anyone can do it.

OK. I've said my bit.

12 comments:

Fishsticks and Fireflies said...

I LOVE that you do this! I think karma is a very real thing. And AWESOME on the blood donation! I donated religiously for a long time, and was thinking just the other day that I should give it a go again . . . thanks for inspiring me!

Vic said...

Are you absolutely sure it's not a drainpipe?
I too am a complete needlephobe and would deliberately avoid an epidural just to avoid the needles. I'd psyched myself up to get over that fear by giving blood, only to find out they won't take mine anyway because of the medication I'm on.
I'll just have to find another way to help out.

Potty Mummy said...

Good point - I will try and fit it in before we leave... (Thanks for the reminder!)

Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings said...

I'd like to do it but with all my medical problems I never have. And it turns out I have a rather rare blood type (go figure) so I should probably found out if I can do it.....good reminder.

Sparx said...

Fishsticks - go for it if you want to! It's cool, you can look on the site to see if your blood type is in demand or not...

Vic - sounds like it's not for you! I'm not sure I'm up for it again to tell the truth, have to find out in March when I'm scheduled to go in!

Potty - You sound like an old hand at this... have you done it often? Not sure I can quite gear myself up for it again although I have promised I will...

Lisa - well, if you have a rare type it is probably less in demand but is worth a go! Good luck!

cactus petunia said...

Yay! Trust me, you get used to the unnaturally large needles.( Just don't look.) I'm up to 4 gallons, now... I'm amazed I have any left to give!

part mummy part me said...

That's a great thing to do. I tried it once and felt very sick right at the end. They took me home in an ambulance!

It rather put me off, but I think I hadn't drunk enough fluid for the preceeding 24 hours so I may well try again at some point. Obviously not now while I'm 'with child', but maybe once my body has recovered from birth and breatsfeeding. You've inspired me.

custom desk said...

I believe in karma but some people don't. It is like Newton's law that in every action you do there is a reaction. Nice thing you practice a nice way of giving back things that you receive.

Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy said...

I used to try and kept getting rejected. Had always been somewhere unsuitable. But when we get back to the UK, I 'll try again. Thanks for reminding me about it!

Sparx said...

Cactus, that's amazing! 4 gallons!!!! OK, I'm going to go again in March and just grin and bear it...

Part Mummy - yes, I hadn't drunk enough either but next time will do...

Custom Desk - indeed, I think it'd be great if we all did. I like the Newton comparison.

Brit - Yes, it's quite restrictive but if you want to do it then one day you will... I've thought about it for years before taking the plunge.

Shell said...

Um.... you don't actually donate a "pint" anymore... it's called a "unit" and it's about 450 ml... when WILL the Brits catch up with the rest of the world?? ;)

Sparx said...

Shell! You make me laugh - but then, you'd know a lot more about it than I do. OK, so I was down a unit of blood. How many units make up a whole body???