30 Before 30: Donate a Gallon of Blood (Part 4)

#23 from my 30 Before 30 list: Donate a gallon of blood (8 pints = 8 donations)

I recently donated my fourth pint of blood, which marks the halfway point toward my goal! I was originally supposed to attend a blood drive in February, but that was snowed out. This particular donation was a little more difficult than the others, because they had trouble finding my vein. It took two techs to locate the vein just so they could mark the skin with iodine. It took another tech – Steve, ever the comedian – to locate the vein after the needle was already in my arm. That’s right. They missed the vein. It’s a weird experience seeing a needle go in and not seeing any blood come out. They had to adjust the needle several times throughout the donation process, and I heard more than once, “The blood stopped flowing.” It may have taken a little longer than usual, but I was able to donate successfully and enjoyed some homemade cookies afterward!

I am eligible to donate again at the beginning of May. However, I might have the opportunity to visit an orphanage in Guatemala this April, which means I would have to wait until April 2014 before I can donate again.

Each pint of blood can save up to three lives, so visit redcrossblood.org to make a blood donation appointment!

Part 5 – April 18, 2014

30 Before 30: Donate a Gallon of Blood (Part 3)

#23 from my 30 Before 30 list: Donate a gallon of blood (8 pints = 8 donations)

Whenever I donate blood, I get nervous that I will get turned away for low iron. This past May, I attempted to donate after work, and my iron was just shy of the required minimum. A few weeks later, I donated successfully in the morning with iron levels well above the minimum.

I thought that my iron levels might be connected to the time of day, so I kept looking for opportunities to donate in the morning. There weren’t any. So when the Red Cross kept calling, I decided to give donating after work another shot.

Today, they conducted the preliminary screening tests, and my iron was just fine! Sure, they had a little bit of difficulty finding my vein, and the tech kind of accidentally tugged the needle (“We’re going to need more gauze,” I heard her whisper), but the donation experience went well. The volunteers from the host church were very friendly, always checking to make sure I felt okay, and the techs were kind and skilled. If you are eligible to donate, go give blood!

Each pint of blood can save up to three lives, so visit redcrossblood.org to make a blood donation appointment!

Part 4 – March 1, 2013

30 Before 30: Donate a Gallon of Blood (Part 2)

#23 from my 30 Before 30 list: Donate a gallon of blood (8 pints = 8 donations)

Only 6 more donations to go until I meet my goal of donating a gallon (8 pints) of blood before my 30th birthday. I can give blood again after 56 days, which is sometime in July.

The next time I donate, I will try to get another morning appointment (instead of at the end of a long work day), because my iron was well above the minimum requirement this time. I attempted to donate earlier this month, but my iron was just shy of the required 12.5, so I was asked to try again after three days. Today my iron was at 14.2, so I was good to go! My tech, Claudia, was great. We talked about her Memorial Day plans and her kids (including 11-year-old twins!). I got an ice pack to take home, because I was taking a little extra time to stop bleeding. “She just wants to keep giving!” the techs said.

Each pint of blood can save up to three lives, so visit redcrossblood.org to make a blood donation appointment!

Part 3 – October 26, 2012

30 Before 30: Donate a Gallon of Blood (Part 1)

“You’re cruising along! You’ll be finished in no time,” tech Shannon said to me.

#23 from my 30 Before 30 list: Donate a gallon of blood (8 pints = 8 donations)

This afternoon I went to St. Joseph’s Parish in Mechanicsburg, where the local boy scout troop was hosting a blood drive for the American Red Cross. When I pulled up to the church, there was a kid on the sidewalk dressed up as a giant drop of blood. I hoped he would still be out there afterward so I could take a picture of him. There were a bunch of people waiting in line and a bunch of parents waiting to take their boy scouts home. Though I signed up for a 1:30 appointment, I had to wait about an hour to be seen. That allowed me to make quite a few observations.

1. Even big, burly men are afraid of needles. This one guy flinched with his whole body when he was stuck with the needle.

2. It must have been a while since the last time I donated blood. I had forgotten how gigantic the needles are!

3. Blood donor: “OW! Does it have to be so tight?”
Mean tech lady: “Yes. It’s a tourniquet. How are you going to handle a needle when you think the tourniquet hurts?”

4. I wasn’t the only one who thought the tech lady was mean. I overheard the couple next to me remark about how scary she was. I was glad she wasn’t the one who ended up sticking me with a needle! My tech, Shannon, was much more friendly, and the needle didn’t hurt a bit when she inserted it.

5. The mean tech lady scolded tourniquet lady’s husband for asking questions during the pre-screening questionnaire. He got to “Are you pregnant?” and either wondered why he had to answer it or what his wife put down as her answer.

Only 7 more donations to go until I meet my goal of donating a gallon (8 pints) of blood before my 30th birthday. I can give blood again after 56 days, which is sometime in March.

Each pint of blood can save up to three lives, so visit redcrossblood.org to make a blood donation appointment!

Part 2 – May 28, 2012