Saturday, July 13, 2013

It Is SO Easy to Donate Blood

Within the United States, an ever-growing number of people are ineligible to donate blood, due to medications and travel restrictions. Of those who are eligible to donate, only 5% do so. It's really easy, for many eligible donors, I think inertia and inconvenience are the main barriers. Herewith are my guidelines for painless blood donation:

PRO TIP: It is a great excuse to indulge yourself in a big meal. The first two times I gave, it was in the morning on an empty stomach. I almost passed out. I didn't give for the next 5 years. When I finally tried again, it was an afternoon appointment. I had happened to go to an all-you-can-eat buffet beforehand. I gave, and felt totally, perfectly fine after. So--use donation as an excuse to treat yourself to a big meal.

Find a time that works for you. You shouldn't exercise after giving blood, so as an evening exerciser, that used to be a deterrent for me. But by donating at the local blood center, rather than a blood drive, I can schedule a late, 7pm appointment, leaving time to hit the gym after work.

Make it convenient. Here in town, there is a collection center 2 miles from me. And as noted above, it offers a greater time range than the typical on-site blood drive. So that works for me. By the same token, if you don't live near a collection center, then find a blood drive convenient to you. But don't wait for the semi-annual drive at work. Go to the Red Cross or other agency website, and seek one out.

To utterly crush any possibility of inertia setting in, take a page from the dentist. Schedule your next appointment as soon as you have completed your current one. If you are at the collection center, you can probably do it on the spot. If you are donating at a drive, come right home and find the next convenient drive, any time after 8 weeks, and sign up.

PRO TIP: Yes, it involves a needle, and yes, it involves your blood flowing out of your body. That is a little bit quease-inducing and gross. I realize those personally acquainted with me may be thinking, giving may be easy for you, as a strapping exemplar of robust, middle-aged masculinity. Trust me, I am right up there with the corseted 19th-century ladies and their fainting divans, when  it comes to getting easily grossed out. The yech factor in donating blood really is not such a big deal. I have found the best approach is total distraction. I read happily throughout the procedure. Do what works for you--watch video on your phone if that is to your taste.

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