Giving blood has been somewhat of a struggle for me my whole life. I'm not good with needles and seeing blood. I had a very traumatic experience my first time giving blood because I HAD to do it. I was having reconstructive jaw surgery, and they needed to have some of my blood on hand in case a transfusion was necessary during surgery. I think because I went in with the mindset that I had to do it, I freaked out a bit.
My dad is an avid donator, and went with me. He tried to offer support, and in true competitive fashion, race to get the blood out, but it didn't help.
A year later, I was in high school and we were having a blood drive. Because it was during class, I decided to give it a try. Who doesn't want to miss class, right? So I had breakfast that morning at 6:30am, and went to give blood during lunch and 6th period. I told them I had eaten lunch, but that was a lie, I just wanted to donate and get out of class. Well, having not eaten for 6 hours and then donating blood made me so sick. I almost fainted, I got the chills, I was sweating and turned pale white when I finished.
Since I'm type O blood, the center was always calling the house to see if I wanted to schedule a donation... one day I finally gave in. I had to do it on a Saturday and the only center that was open on a Saturday was on the north side of Cincinnati, about 45 minutes from my house. It was the day before my birthday, a Saturday in May - you know, the beginning of tornado season...
So of course, the weather was iffy as I drove to tri-county, but by the time I was in the chair donating, the storms were heavy and the tornado sirens started going off!!! So I finished giving, and I actually felt OK this time, but I had to wait at the center for 2 hours until the storms passed and the sirens stopped going off.
That was the last time I donated, 4 years ago!
Now that I work at the YMCA, and the Red Cross comes here about once a month for Blood Drives, I always feel guilty for not going. So yesterday I saw them coming and decided to bite the bullet and just do it. Well it went flawlessly! My tech was awesome, I barely felt the needle, and I was able to stay calm and squeeze without feeling like the needle was going to pop out! I made sure I ate a banana at 8:30 (I was set to donate at 9) and I had eaten oatmeal for breakfast at 7, so I knew I wouldn't get sick.
I told the tech how brave I was being (lol) and she even gave me a pin (but she said I have to donate again when I'm able to, I think 56 days?)
So why is this in my fit blog? Well, I'm all about being healthy as a whole. It's not just diet and exercise, it's about mental health and spiritual. I am so glad that I was able to donate and hopefully help save a life! I also did a little research and found out that some researchers believe it's good for the body to donate blood and be forced to produce more!
Here's an excerpt from an article on cnn.com
"Each time you give blood, you remove some of the iron it contains. High blood iron levels, Sullivan believes, can increase the risk of heart disease. Iron has been shown to speed the oxidation of cholesterol, a process thought to increase the damage to arteries that ultimately leads to cardiovascular disease."
So if I can do it after 3 AWFUL experiences, YOU CAN TOO! Here is a link to a website where you can search for blood drives in your area. I've also seen some that raffle off gift cards and prizes when supply is really low (I'll have to look for one of those next time!)