Monday, January 30, 2012

It's in You to Give

If you live in Canada, you likely know that "It's in you to give" is the tag line for Canadian Blood Services.
I have been wanting to donate blood forever, but for some reason haven't gotten around to it. Sometime last fall, I decided I wanted to do it for sure. This weekend I actually did it.

There are a number of psychological theorists who have postulated that one of the keys to personal fulfillment and happiness is doing things that have social value. After all, how can you feel bad if you are doing something good for others, which generally makes you feel good about yourself? One of the reasons I left my old career was, in my opinion, it lacked much social value, and hence much value to me. My new career in counselling fulfills my desire to do something more meaningful for work, but why should helping/giving be limited to one's work?

Donating blood is something which I think most people can recognize the value of. A medical emergency could happen to anyone and it seems like such an easy thing to do too.

And it is. They are SUPER cautious, but it is really not hard to pass the eligibility screener. You CAN be taking medications and have certain health conditions, but they do ask you a gazillion questions about where you have travelled in the world, your sexual history and whether or not you have ever used illegal drugs, etc. You have to be between the ages of 17 and 61, weigh at least 110 lbs, and have not had a tattoo, surgery or dental work in the past few months. You also have to have blood pressure of 90/50 or above.

I guess I should be flattered that 2 nurses questioned me about whether or not I am actually 110 lbs? I also almost flunked the blood pressure test because my blood pressure is so low. Fortunately, it was 92/53 when she tested it. I think that's probably because I got nervous that I was going to fail, so my blood pressure went up a bit ;)

After all the screening(they also prick your finger to test your hemaglobin), I was seated in a comfortable reclining chair/bed thing, and they inserted the needle. It hurt a tiny bit for about 1 second. After 8 minutes I had given them the max (2 cups) and I was told to rest for a few minutes. Then I was invited to have a free drink or snack in their lounge. Even with my low blood pressure, I experienced no weakness, fatigue or dizziness. In fact, I felt perfectly fine. All-in-all it was an easy, not unpleasant experience, so I've decided this is something I will do regularly from now on. Seems like a relatively simple way to make a small difference that can help others, so why not?

If you live in the GTA, I went to the permanent clinic in the Manulife Centre at Bay and Bloor. It's upstairs by the movie theatre. Why not drop in on your way to catch a flick and donate a little blood? After all, "it's in you to give."

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