Tuesday, May 7, 2013

#20.1: finding a hero

I'm O- and they always hit the vein on the first try! For these 2 reasons I feel like I'm supposed to give blood, regularly semi-regularly. Hey, lets be realistic, I don't get it done all the time, but they are pretty good about calling me and asking me to come in when I'm eligible again and there is a blood drive in my town coming up.  Click here for more information on giving blood. I donate with United Blood Services in Wyoming.

I'll be honest, I've started trying to give double reds because I'm not eligible to donate as often and I'm more likely to get an appointment made if I don't have to go so often. :) Plus, they love it when you agree to give double reds! Did you know that double red donations are usually given to surgery or trauma patients? To find out more about donating a Power Red, click here. Plus you can say Power Red, that's cool right?

A little personal note on giving double reds because it is different than giving whole blood. I'll admit after the first time of giving double reds, I swore I'd never do it again. I felt dizzy, nausaus, freezing cold, my body hurt and it lasted for a while. Next time I went back, they asked me to do double reds again and I told them what had happened last time. They told me they had a few tricks and asked if I would try again. They said if I started feeling like that at anytime during the donation to let them know and I wouldn't have to finish. So if you are giving the Power Red donation keep these things in mind (I always get the full treatment so I don't pass out on them, they laugh at me when I tell them that, but that is ok)
  • eat Gardettos and drink a bottle of water BEFORE you donate
  • tip that donation chair back! (its way more comfortable that way anyway)
  • drink another bottle of water DURING your donation
  • alternate squeezing the hand squeezy thing with contracting your leg and derriere muscles while they are taking out whole blood
  • during the return ask for a blanket and if you get a weird taste or tingling in your mouth, ask for some tums......works like a dream I might add
  • AFTER your donation, take a few extra minutes in the chair
  • drink some more water and have another snack before you leave
These are tried and true tips from me, the girl who thought she was going to pass out the first time down Power Red lane. Give 'em a try and then you are done for 16 weeks!

So lets get on to meeting some heros:

Meet Tim:
Tim is one busy guy, but he always finds time to donate platelets. “It gives me the opportunity to do something anonymously and it gives people in the hospital a fighting chance,” he says. “As I walk down the street, through the airport, in the park or at work, I wonder if someone there has received my platelets.” Tim says he’s an ordinary person helping others in a quiet way. In the eyes of patients, there’s one word for Tim: Hero.
Meet Nicole:
It’s no doubt that Nicole is a hero. She has been in the US Army for more than 6 years. She is also a hero on another front; she’s a blood donor. “I donate blood not only for my fellow service members, but for the lives of the American people we fight to protect,” she says. Nicole also donates for a personal reason. Her mother has thalassemia and has needed blood transfusions. “I want to be able to give back to those who  gave to her"

Meet Pat:
Pat has been donating blood since he was in the military over thirty years ago. He has always donated to save the lives of others, but one day the life he helped save was his own. During a routine platelet donation he found that his platelet count was low and his donation was halted. A trip to his doctor confirmed his cholesterol and triglyceride levels were abnormal. “That aborted platelet donation was a wake up call,” Pat says. Today, Pat keeps his cholesterol under control with medication and he is able to donate platelets again. “I feel great helping people,” he says. It’s a bonus when you can also help yourself!

Are you a blood donor? How often do you give?

Be an ordinary person that gives a stranger an extraordinary chance at life.


  1. Ironic that you wrote about this. I just returned from getting some blood work drawn for regular labs. I get shaky, nervous, and turn white as a sheet every. single. time.

    Therefore, I (*hanging head in shame*) have not donated blood. Maybe someday I'll brave up enough to do it.

    I don't even know my blood type. I should find that out....

    Great post, Jen! You're a hero.


    1. Amy thank you! And yes you should still find out your blood type :) Try the muscle tensing even if its for blood work...maybe it will help?

  2. I have given blood a couple times, but for some reason the last 2 times I tried to donate they just couldn't get enough blood to flow! I also have really difficult veins, and one time they couldn't even find the veins...hey, at least I tried! My grandpa used to go all the time, as often as he could. I admired that in him a lot. Glad there's people out there like you that donate often as well :)

  3. Way to go Jen! I am so proud of you. I am horrible with needles, but I tried to go as part of my 28 Acts of Kindness, but they would not take my blood because I had been in Costa Rica within a year.