Disclaimer: If the thought, mention, or even the sound of the word “blood,” makes you queasy, you might not want to read this! I’ve included pictures of baby animals to give ya something to look at in case this gets too real.
A few weeks ago, I gave blood for the first time! I have been curious about the donation process since I was in high school but had not gone through with it until this month. Blood drives were held at my high school once a year, but needing to attend sport practices restricted me from being able to give. I would think about it every so often in college when a blood bus would show up on campus, but always seemed to be on my way to a class when I saw it. Once I even stood in line for an hour, but needed to get to class before my turn in line! Needless to say, this is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, and I am so glad I finally had the opportunity to go through with it!
The process was incredibly, and surprisingly, painless! I walked into a blood center in Ocala on a Saturday afternoon, and was in and out in 30 minutes. I met with a nurse and did a “mini-physical” as they call it. She asked me screening questions (e.g. Have you ever received human pituitary derived growth hormone? Umm…no HGH here), took my blood pressure, and did a finger prick test to check my iron and blood type (A). Once I was screened and accepted, I hopped into a chair with a Gatorade and fresh baked cookies, and squeezed a rubber ball. Five minutes later, I had one less pint of blood and an honest feeling of surprise for how easy the process was (okay—I skipped details on the needle-entering-vein part but it really was no problem!).
While I was there, the nurse educated me about blood donation and the benefits to both donor and recipient. Did you know donating blood is actually healthy for our bodies?? It can help reduce the amount of iron in your body, which is a risk factor for heart disease. Iron overload does not affect women as much as men, but in men who donated 3x per year, their risk of heart attack was reduced by 50%!
A single blood donation helps up to three people and someone needs blood every 3 seconds in America alone! When I was born almost 2 months premature, I had to have so much blood drawn for tests that the doctors needed my dad to donate blood to replenish my blood volume! 60% of the population will need blood at some time in their lives, yet less than 5% of the population donates. I didn’t mean this post as a PSA, but if you can donate, I would totally encourage you to!
Get this…after donating a pint of my blood, my body replaced the entire blood volume in 48 hours. Isn’t that crazy?! It will take four to six weeks for my body to completely replenish my red blood cell count, which is why I must wait two months to be able to give again. I seriously cannot wait until I can donate again! This is something I hope I continue to do every chance I get!
Love, dance, and explore,