As one summer day bleeds into the next, the children are momentarily entertaining themselves with games such as “Who can jump from the highest branch onto the sprinkler-soaked trampoline?” I have firmly mandated that they shall hitch-hike to the hospital because I have long-since filled my daily quota of driving kids everywhere. Moments later, everyone is bored. And then begins the warring volume of various electronic devices. And fighting ensues. And everyone is hungry.
Sound familiar? Do you find yourself fantasizing about an emergency appendectomy simply because a few hours in the ER would be comparatively peaceful? Are you eagerly anticipating a root canal for the sheer rapture of drug-induced sleep? I have often joked about wishing I had two broken legs just so I could expediently deny any and every demand of me. (I’m not joking.) (Don’t worry; I really am joking.) (I’m really not.)
Well, friends, have I got a deal for you! I know a place where you can go, that’s filled with syrupy-sweet attendants catering to your every need. From the moment you walk in the door, they thank you for coming. They smile and inquire after your health and well-being. They offer you snacks and beverages. They hold your hand as you stretch out on a reclining chair. And they fuss over you with all the adoration of star-struck hero-worshippers.
It is everything you could ask of a one-hour respite, with the added bonus of actually being a life-saving contribution to society.
I’m talking about your local blood donor clinic.
I know a bunch of people who give blood regularly. I have always been very happy for them and their juicy, fat veins and fire-hose blood pressure. I recognize the importance of blood donation and am grateful for the people for whom blood donation is just easy.
And then stuff happened and the need for blood donors became more prominent and personal to me. And maybe, just maybe, more people should give…even those for whom it is not easy.
So off I went – low iron, low blood pressure, skinny veins and all. I have now donated twice so far in 2013 (with a failed attempt in between. Blasted iron deficiency.) And it is not fun. In fact, it hurts. It’s not supposed to hurt, and it probably doesn’t hurt most people, but for me, it hurts. However, as I am lying there hurting and woozily squeezing my heating pad, I am reminding myself that it only hurts me for 20 minutes or so. The people who get my blood are dealing with significantly worse pain than mine.
And during my July donation, I also revelled in the fact that the two screeching children in the waiting area were not mine. Three of my lovely cherubs were at home in front of the TV and the fourth was hopefully sleeping until noon. Bliss!
Canadian Blood Services has activated the ‘Blood Signal’, meaning the scheduled number of donors is not enough to meet the expected demand. Donation typically drops off during the summer months because people are busy with family and vacations and they just don’t take the time to go in. That is somewhat understandable, albeit disappointing. But here’s the crazy thing: only 3.5% of eligible Canadians donate blood.
Let’s change that!
I hereby challenge you to get out there and donate. Call 1-800-2DONATE to book an appointment, or go to blood.ca to find a clinic near you. They take walk-ins! And I’m telling you, you should enjoy this opportunity for a lovely little donation vacation all by yourself! I have my next appointment booked, and I’m actively working to make sure my iron levels are high enough by then (even though I am afraid I will never poop again).