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Friday, January 31, 2014

I Feed the Vampires

I'm actually more of a werewolf gal myself, but I help out where I can. :P

I'm not really a charity type of person. I don't volunteer anywhere, or do special walks or anything like that. I will donate to causes via rounding up my bill at a store, sometimes. When AmazonSmile started, I jumped on that bandwagon immediately, choosing my local animal shelter as my cause. I even thought about volunteering there once, but you have to go through training and work a specific amount of hours per week so I never went through with it.

What I do do, however, is feed the Vampires. Or in non-geeky terms: give blood. It's a simple act; something I can do that doesn't take any money or much of my time. When they're not packed, a blood bank can get you in and out in about 30 minutes.

I know what you're thinking. You hate needles. Well, so do I, and those ones are pretty big. I mean, who really likes needles besides, oh I don't know, junkies? In fact, I can almost faint at the sight of my own blood.

It happened several years ago, as a teenager, when I was opening a can of food. I sliced my thumb open really badly; the cut was super deep. I ran it under the water forever, it never stopped bleeding so I screamed to dad. There was too much blood to just run to the bathroom and grab a band-aid. By the time dad got it wrapped around my finger, I was feeling faint. I actually had to sit with my head between my knees so that I wouldn't pass out.

So you know what I do? I don't look. I don't even think about it. The blood bank even has to pinprick your finger to test your iron level; I look away for that too. In fact, it was Puget Sound Blood Center that "diagnosed" me with iron deficiency anemia. Every time I would try to give blood they would turn me away; my hematocrit being as low as 7. And who wants their finger pricked like a lab rat just for them to say no bueno?! So, I finally made an appointment with my PCP.

"I think I have iron deficiency anemia."
"Why do you think that?"
"Because the blood bank keeps turning me away because my iron is too low."

I got my gallon pin last year. And my blood is one of the rare special types: O-. I'm the universal donor, so they're usually hounding me with emails and phone calls the minute I'm eligible again. (It also comes with a major drawback: if I ever need blood, O- is the only kind I can have!)

Once the needle is in, you won't feel it. Just squeeze your little red ball every few seconds, joke with the staff, and you're done in 17 minutes. And then - free food! Apple juice, chocolate milk, cookies, crackers. Your reward for saving up to 3 lives with one measly pint of blood. And if that doesn't convince you, just remember: A pint is a pound the world around. So if nothing else, that was probably the easiest pound you ever lost! :)

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