Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Share a pint~ ABC Wednesday: P is for pint~

Sharing a pint at lunchtime is common in some circles, but not something I typically do during my school lunch period. But today I did.

Massachusetts General Hospital's mobile blood van pulled into the school parking lot 8 a.m. and stayed until to 2 p.m.

Four phlebotomists worked steadily, drawing a pint from each of us who mounted the steps to enter the air-conditioned vehicle. We gave blood straight from the heart, both literally and figuratively.

Giving blood isn't a big deal. Really.

It's painless after the initial prick in the crook of your arm. The needle is taped in place and connected to plastic tubing that ends in a plastic pouch. When the pouch is full-- a pint equals a pound-- you're disconnected.

After the intake screening, it takes no longer than fifteen minutes to lose a pound. Then you get a drink and cookies.

That's it.

Still, a pint is no small amount. Take a look at 16 ounces of water. Two cups. It looks like a lot. While healthy adults can lose that volume with little to no problem, it will take a while for blood counts to return to pre-donation levels.

Plasma volume returns to normal within a day. Red blood cells will be back to pre donation level in three to five weeks, and iron is replenished within six to eight weeks.

Giving blood isn't a big deal. For you.

But for the person who receives it, it's a very big deal, often the difference between life and death.

Someone needs blood every two seconds, according to the American Red Cross, but only about five percent of eligible donors actually give.

My father gave regularly. I don't think my mother ever did. This was my second time. But it won't be my last. I'm not type O+, the universal donor, for nothing.

*Donation given in memory of Matthew Westfield, oldest son of a friend and colleague who died more than twenty-years ago from leukemia at age seven.
ABC Wednesday is brought to you by: Mrs. Nesbitt's Place
The only gift is a portion of thyself. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson


Kjerstis Hjørne said...

Hi. You'll never guess what... I gave blood today too. Today was my eleventh time.. Started when I was 20years old.. And I agree, isn't a big deal.

Ruth D~ said...

Kjerstis~ What a coincidence. :>)

Janice Thomson said...

An inspiring post Ruth and a great idea for ABC Wednesday.
I am unable to donate because of high BP from kidney disease. Perhaps one day if I can get it under control a donation can be made.

Helena said...

Ah! I used to give blood as my group isn't very common- B rh+

But I had to give up donating as I kept being ill- fainting, being sick, running to the loo(!) afterwards. No matter what I ate or drank before and after or how much I rested. In the end they said I shouldn't any more :(

Tere said...

Wow - it has been awhile since I donated. Amazing how when the bloodmobile comes to us we jump right up there. But if it's out of sight, it's out of mind. Thanks for reminding me.

leslie said...

I keep telling myself I should give blood since I am O Neg. You're a very caring person to donate in memory of someone you knew so long ago.

By the way, I wanted to answer your comment on my ABCW post. Re "backward design" - when I took that course and this thing came up, I listened and read intently, realizing that I already did that all the time! lol It really IS the natural way of doing things. And over the years, I've seen so many changes in "style" and "technique" that I find it funny when they think they've come up with something "new" and it's what we did eons ago! I'm sure you've found that, too! :D

david mcmahon said...

Wonderful way to publicise a noble cause.

Thanks for the lovely comment on my ABC Wednesday ``palm'' post.

Lisa said...

I must have beer on the brain. At first I thought you were talking about DRINKING a pint while on your lunch! Giving blood isn't as fun, but it's definitely way more worthwhile. :)

Dave said...

Great Post and you are so correct. Let's always remember to give.

Wanda said...

You always have such wonderful inspiring posts ~~ when out daughter was in a horrible car accident 19 years ago, so many people shared their life blood with us ~~~ it saved her life!!

Thank God for faithful doners.

Ruth D~ said...

Janice~ You give in other ways, and just as much from the heart.

Helena~ Not worth it. Probably would have taken its toll if you'd continued despite the symptoms.

Tere~ You raise an excellent point. Convenience was the key for me. That and having someone cover my class while I donated. Can you imagine that having my blood drained is more appealing than teaching? ;>)

David! I enjoy the variety on your blog. Mine is essays. Yours is all sorts of things.

Leslie~ We can vouch for the fact that there is nothing new under the sun, and that we'd done it before it had a name.

Lisa~ You feel for my pint of beer trap. :>) That's what I intended, but I figured the picture would have given it away. But . . . you're busy moving, and that's a great excuse.

Dave~ Thanks. Remind me. I will need that nudge next year when I won't be at school to see the van.

Wanda~ I'm so glad the blood of other's saved your daughter. That must have been an awful experience. With a good outcome!

Barbara said...

Good for you. Giving blood is such a noble thing to do!

mrsnesbitt said...

Sorry for not coming over to comment sooner, but Jon took some time off work to enjoy the sunshine and we have been out and about on the motorbike.

O positive here! Go for the biscuits LOL!