it’s in you to give


I got a little present in mail today…

I gave blood twice – once in university, and again few weeks ago. The blood clinic came directly to my work, so there was definitely no excuse.

I fill out all the forms, and offer up my index finger to a nurse who takes a little prick before sending me to the next stage. More questions. Blood pressure taken. Finally, I sit in a dentist like chair, as another nurse approaches me with a needle. Gee. I forgot how big these are. “Look away, honey”, has always been the instruction from medical staff. Instead, I stare as the needles pierces the vein, and a little test tube fills up with dark red liquid.

The nurse connects the thin tube to a plastic bag. The size of the bag is intimidating. The standard blood donation is about 500ml. An average woman has about 4.5-4.7 liters of blood. The process takes about 20 minutes. Apparently, I am a fast bleeder. Ummm… that’s a good thing, right?

Resting on a moving step, the bag rhythmically moves up and down. It’s a little strange to see my life essence sloshing around in a plastic baggie. I touch the tube with my free hand. It’s warm. Well, if anyone ever wants to call me a cold-blooded bitch, I can at least correct them on the first one. Warm-blooded. All the way.

The nurse disconnects the tubes and instructs me to sit still. For five minutes. Hardest part of the whole en devour. Finally, she gently takes me by the elbow and leads me to the table with snacks – cookies and juice. I am about to think that the whole thing is ridiculous, but at the same moment feel a little dizzy.

A jolly gentleman with dozens of pins on his lapel pulls up a chair, and hands me a napkin. He has donated blood over 200 times. As every blood donation is separated into three parts (red cells, plasma and platelets), and every part can be given to a different patient, this gentleman could have saved over 600 lives. A common every day hero…

I can do this again in 56 days. They say, “it’s in you to give”. Is it in you?


Posted October 25, 2012

8 responses to “it’s in you to give”

  1. I’m a regular donor ’cause I’m A- so the Red Cross loves me.

  2. Linz says:

    Great article & congrats for giving!

    When my dad had open heart surgery he needed 13 units. I felt that I had to repay those units. I donated on a quarterly basis throughout high school & uni until the Canadian Red Cross came up with the rule that anyone having lived in the UK during a certain time (think rampant mad cow disease or was it foot & mouth?) could no longer donate. That dried me up at 11 units πŸ™

    I should really check into whether the rule has changed and if I can donate again. Since I’m O-neg I have the most sought after blood type – anyone can use it.

    • Solo says:

      Thanks, Lindsey. πŸ™‚ Yeah, they tend to be pretty strict with any kind of travelling, huh? I had trouble donating in the past as well, simply because of where I have been.

  3. Craig says:

    Good for you, Kate! That’s a very generous thing to do especially with amount of racing you do! Lindsey: I’m in the same boat as you…I lived in the UK for a year-and-a-half as a kid and they don’t let me donate anymore. I have asked many times over the years and they keep telling me they’ll let me know when the rules change. Frustrating. Pretty sure I’m not a mad cow πŸ™‚

  4. Barbara Goss says:

    I couldn’t wait to donate when I was a teen. Finally did in first year at York (mobile clinic). I was appalled by their racist and homophobic questionnaire, and by what I thought was a really medically unsound process. So I boycotted ever since. There was a girl in LE who was fighting cancer and made a request that people donate. I thought about it: many of my friends are not allowed to donate because of these idiotic and unfair rules, so if I’m able to, I should quit my posturing and go.
    I very nearly didn’t pass the questionnaire because I’d had sex with an African person. They had to pull out a special binder and think about it. But eventually they let me pass.

    • Solo says:

      Yeah, the protocols are a little ridiculous. With piercings and travel I have not been able to donate for a while. It was interesting to watch them turn away vast majority of the student body at the college, because they have been in India in the past 6 months. Ummm…. hello?

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