Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner

Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner
Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Day 2 - Blood - Full Cycle

I haven't been feeling well lately and I think it is because I gave blood 4 days ago.  I have given over 5 gallons in my lifetime so it's not the blood giving in general, it's because I hadn't done it in over 2 years.  I had moved and didn't know where the nearest blood donor center was located.  I had read in the paper that during the month of January, if  you gave blood at the local blood donor center, you could receive a free $20 gift card to Red Lobster, Olive Garden, or Bahama Breeze.

My boyfriend and I went and attempted to give blood.  I say attempted because they had just added a new question to the list of do you or have you ever......It asked if you ever had been out of the country from a particular year to another particular year.  My boyfriend was in Turkey serving his country as an officer in the US Air Force....for him....the right thing to do.  Now due to this, he can never ever EVER donate blood again.  Although for the last 24 years since this time, he has been donating blood.  It is such a shame that Mad Cow Disease has affected anyone that has breathed the air in Europe during this time.  I hope Mad Cow Disease doesn't EVER happen in the United States as we'd have no blood donors.

Giving blood is such an easy thing to do.  Answering their questionnaires is actually more time consuming and painful than the actual drawing of the blood.  I had given blood for 10 years or so and in 2001 I had an ectopic pregnancy.  I nearly bled to death as I was rushed to the emergency room and prepped for surgery to stop the bleeding.  I was only 36, too young to die. I hadn't seen my kids graduate yet, I hadn't seen my grandchildren who weren't born yet.  I had lost 3.5 pints of blood internally before they started surgery.  If it weren't for others who had been thoughtful enough to do the right thing, I wouldn't be here today writing this blog.  I wouldn't have seen my kids graduate. (Still don't have grandchildren...YET!)

Charles Drew was an African American who invented this technology.  Drew created a central location for the blood collection process where donors could go to give blood. He made sure all blood plasma was tested before it was shipped out. He ensured that only skilled personnel handled blood plasma to avoid the possibility of contamination. Tomorrow is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  There are many other African Americans who we have to thank.  I'll discuss them in Black History month.  Today however, I'd like to say I'm sorry to Charles Drew.    I'm sorry because when Charles Drew was in a car accident, he was taken to the hospital and could not get the blood he had lost due to his injuries replaced because of his injury.  Contrary to Urban Legend that he died because he couldn't get a blood transfusion because he was black, the truth is that his injury was so bad he couldn't be saved.  The irony of the tragedy saddens me.

Dr. John Ford was another doctor traveling in the car with him near Burlington, NC. He said, "He had a superior vena caval syndrome—blood was blocked getting back to his heart from his brain and upper extremities. To give him a transfusion would have killed him sooner."

The people at that hospital did do the right thing.  People at the local Blood Center also did the right thing.  Although the newspaper was in error that the gift card could be given the entire month of January.  The promotion had ended 7 days prior to us coming.  Not only did they honor this misprint, they also gave a card to my boyfriend who attempted to give his blood.  So to be sick from not having enough iron and vitamins prior to donating, is nothing compared to not being able to give or receive this gift of life from the liquid of our bodies that shares the same color inside every human....red, crimson, scarlet.

Blood is that fragile scarlet tree we carry within us.  ~Osbert Sitwell

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