just wait, it's coming! dddragon presents: Is Anything Truly Random?

Friday, February 17, 2006

Giving Blood

When I was in my early 20s, a Red Cross Bloodmobile came to CalArts to get blood donations from the students. Despite my lifelong fear of needles, I was goaded into donating blood. I found out that it wasn't too bad after all.

I continued to donate blood after I returned to Pennsylvania. Since I am O Negative (Universal Donor), I got calls to come and donate as often as it was allowed. Sometimes I was turned away because of a low iron count, but not too often.

But in the last few years, my low iron count became a problem. Not to me, as I have always tended to have a low count. I was diagnosed as anemic when I was a toddler. But the FDA has limits that cannot be overlooked just because a person has naturally low iron levels. As a result, I haven't been able to donate in the last two years.

Taking iron pills is hard on my bowels. Eating more steaks didn't seem to really help. So I've been taking children's chewable Flintstone vitamins for some months now.

So I when I got a call yesterday, I agreed to come in this afternoon. I told myself if my iron count was still too low again, that I would tell the blood bank to take me off their call list. I went in to the donation center hoping for the best, but not too much. I filled out the paper work, had my finger pricked for a blood sample, and waited for the machine to whirl it around. Watched as the tiny tube was evaluated.


I was able to donate, to my relief and happiness. The technician suggested that perhaps I can only donate twice a year now that I'm older. So I called the blood bank and asked them to put a hold on calls for six months. Then I asked if they could look up how much I've donated over the years (this does not count the first pint I gave in California).

The woman replied "Oh, wow, you're a Four Gallon Hero!"

I have to laugh, even now. That's REALLY what she said! Four Gallon Hero.

The excited way that she said it helped me feel not so bad about not being able to donate as much as I used to. Hero. Never thought anyone would use that word for me. Not that I really believe it, mind you, but nice nevertheless.

What about you? Have any of you done anything that you thought wasn't such a big thing, but someone else thought was heroic?


At 11:39 PM, Blogger Sar said...

A four gallon hero - congrats, 3D! Is there a badge of honor that comes with that? :)

Seriously, good for you, 3D. It's admirable that considering your blood status and your schedule you still make this donation a priority.

As for an example of heroics on my end? I'm afraid nothing comes to mind.

At 11:54 PM, Blogger mireille said...

That IS heroic, D. I tried to donate two days after 9/11 and they had to stop mid-way because I fainted (I'm small, but not that small. They said they thought I was dehydrated.) And I was pretty sad about that, like I failed. And here you've produced FOUR GALLONS. Amazing. Good work on getting your iron level up, too. xoxo

At 12:46 AM, Blogger Karen said...

Congratulations on your blood donation. You know, that's something I never think to do. Thank you for drawing my attention to the need.

Can't think of anything heroic I've done lately unless *praying for peace* fits that category.

At 4:24 AM, Blogger Miz BoheMia said...

I loved your Post-V-day post! (say that 3 times in a row!) Nod is quite the sweet man! Just like my hubby when it comes to remembering names though! If you are a Robert, he may very well think you a Pablo that's how bad he is! I have to fill him in on names before we meet up with people, just in case!

You are a hero donating so much! I have never done it... I am anemic and considered to "light" to donate blood, as in I probably need more meat on me!

Anything heroic? Hmmmm.......... The things that come to mind were not really in my hands but were thought heroic...

Once, here in Spain, a girlfriend was staying with me for a month from Germany. We were up early one morning walking to the bus station to go to a scenic town in the mountains called Ronda. We were on a busy street. I noticed this guy out of the corner of my eye, who was crossing the street but upon seeing us, turned back towards us. Hmmm. Didn't give it much thought. I figured he must have forgotten something and was backtracking but his energy felt weird.

Then I heard my friend C gasp, say my name under her breath as a body slammed into me from behind after having slammed into her. By sheer instinct I held on tightly to my backpack wiht one hand and swung out with a fist with the other while screaming NO at the top of my lungs, for help, for all to hear, to scare him away, and just because that is what instinctively happened.

We had been close to an alley way and he could have easily dragged us both in and beat us unconscious he was that strong. But after my scream and atempted punch he let go of us and ran away. I did catch an expression of pure delight on his face.

I just reacted but my friend was grateful beyond words, as was I!

At 11:13 AM, Blogger Jean-Luc Picard said...

Well done; I'm SO squeemish about needles.

At 2:08 PM, Blogger Minka said...

Yeah, needles and snake teeth freak me out. Regardless, I wnet and gave bloog when I was 19 and it was ok. When I left the hospital to go home, I lost conciousness and hit the sidewalk with my head. I left my hands from giving blood.
When I came to Iceland some people contacted me from the hospital, anxious to get my blood. My type is AB and only two percent Icelandics have it, so I started to give blood again under good supervision!

At 4:39 PM, Blogger AP3 said...

Good for you!

I used to give all the time when i was in ROTC and the navy, but now they won't take my blood... ironically (no pun intended) the navy sent me overseas, so now my blood is "tainted" because of mad cow. Ridiculous.

Anyhoo, I can't remember being called a hero any time recently.

At 5:07 PM, Blogger Tan Lucy Pez said...

Heh, heh, heh. I'm of course in Memphis now, but you can go look on my refrigerator door at home and look longingly at my certificate from the Red Cross that I have put up there. I'm a (s)hero who has donated 5 gallons of blood. (In modern times--that doesn't include the olden days when I used to donate.)

At 5:12 PM, Blogger dddragon said...

oh, swell, I knew you would bring that up.

At 5:23 PM, Blogger tlm said...

Four gallons... Well done!
Donating isn't so bad for people with a fear of needles, as long as the technicians are well-trained and don't use you as a pin cushion. It's well worth the minor discomfort.

At 7:55 AM, Blogger Doug said...

That's really neat, Dddragon. Four gallons is about 7 times a whole body's worth.

When I was little (around 6) there was a polling place across the street from us, It was snowing on election day and there was a guy from the league of independent voters handing out informational flyers and I asked Mom if I could help him, but really it was an excuse to stay out in the snow which I loved. I stayed until the polls closed which was past my betdtime. Coolness in 1000 ways and the guy and mom both treated me like a hero. Phenomenal scam.

At 7:56 AM, Blogger Doug said...

Oh, and AP3 is a hero.

At 7:05 AM, Blogger Biene said...

Living? I´ve been said I am good at it even if...
But blood donation is great! I´ve never done that, there was a reason but I don´t remember why


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