February: Raymond gives blood

Raymond and friend attending Blood Donor appreciation event.A friend recently invited me out to attended a sort of blood donor appreciation dinner / recruitment event. It wasn’t to hard to convince me to go because “free pizza and beer” can pretty much get me to go anywhere. During the festivities there was a short video describing some of the work that this donation center does with the blood provided. This presentation finally tipped me over the edge and made me take the leap into blood donation.

I have always thought of donating blood. However, I have a bit of a curse. Throughout high school and college there would be blood drives held at school. Whenever these would be announced or show up I would always seem to catch a cold or be sick. Of course you can’t give blood when you are sick so I never could. This time however I could plan my appointment. going on my own time to best avoid the curse. I scheduled my appointment for early February as part of my new year’s resolution of trying or doing something new each month. You know what happened? The curse came back.

About two days before my appointment I got a nasty cough, fever, and runny nose. I rescheduled my appointment for later in the month. Can you guess what happened? My cold came back! The universe itself was trying to keep me from giving blood. I rescheduled my appointment yet again for later in the month. Finally, the day rolled around AND I WASN’T SICK! I had finally broken the curse!

I make my way to the clinic to finally give blood for the first time! The lady behind the counter asks for my birthday(11/12/91) so she can set up my account. Then she hands me an Ipad so I can begin to answer their questionnaire on how healthy my blood is. I enter my name and birthday to verify it is me and I receive an error message. I try again, chalking it up to me typing fast because I am so exciting to finally be giving blood. I receive another error message. I tell the lady that I keep getting these errors and she is confused. She takes the Ipad over to another person working there and they say the classic “try turning it off an on again?” IT line. So I wait for the Ipad to reboot and go to enter my information into the system again. Error! At this point everyone is scratching their heads. They take me into a room anyway to take a quick sample and hopefully figure out the Ipad trouble. They ask for my birthday again (11/12/91) “91?” the technician exclaims. “Yes?” I reply. “Oh, we have you down as 99” So she leaves the room with the Ipad for about five minutes and comes back with a new account with the correct birthday year on it and I am finally able to finish the questionnaire.

So, questionnaire done, birthday problem solved, sample taken. I am ready to save some lives! I don’t mind needles as long as I don’t watch them go in. The nurse prepares my arm and says a phrase I hear quite often “WOW, you have good veins!” I laugh and tell her that my girlfriend says that all the time. I look away and feel a slight pinch and I am off to the races. About 8 minuets go by and the nurse returns to tell me that I am done. After roughly an hour of waiting and trying to log into an Ipad, it only took me 8 minutes to drain and be on my way.

They recommend you wait a little bit before you drive off. So I sat in their small cantina area and enjoyed a free water and snack. I also learned that not only is giving blood great for helping others, it is great for yourself. Donating helps reduce the risk of hemochromatosis, cancer, can help you have a healthier heart and liver, aid with weight loss, and helps create new blood cells which promote good health. A few days following giving blood I not only felt morally great for helping others, but I felt physically great as well!

If you too are interested in giving blood. I recommend Bloodworks Northwest. The blood they get from donations goes to local hospitals. They are responsible for 100% of the blood that is used in Vancouver and over 50% in Portland. They also use the blood for all kinds of amazing research!

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