I have given blood three times. You can still see the spots where each needle hung out in my arm for a while, as it guided the blood from my body and into a nearby sanitary bag. The spots actually remind me of pock marks. It’s weird, really – they look unnatural (and, well, they are).
The oddest bit about this, though, is that these marks are still here, after all this time. The last time I donated blood was a year or two ago. Before that was about nine and ten years ago.
I have never much liked donating blood. I realize the value in it, and I still dislike doing it myself. I’d rather help put on a blood drive, and donate my time and energy that way. However, the reason I gave blood began in high school.
Our school was having a drive. I thought it was awesome, though I didn’t necessarily intend to participate – frankly, I was terrified. I had the permission form, but I hadn’t yet determined if I were going to get my mom to sign it or not (or was it already signed, but I wasn’t sure if I were going to turn it in?). One of my best friends appeared in front of me, utterly annoyed on the first day of the drive, and informed me that she couldn’t give blood, because you can’t have spent more than a couple years in England before 1994. She had been there for about four years before then, and so was therefore removed from any chances of ever giving blood in the US.
At this information, and her distress, I determined my course of action. I did not want to donate blood, but she did. She could not, and I could. Therefore, I would donate for her, on her behalf.
And so I did for several years. There was once that I couldn’t donate due to low iron in my blood (not enough greens after I had been sick), and then about two years where I was not allowed, because I had been to Kingston, Jamaica, which is apparently a no-go for US blood donation. By the time those two years were up, though, my friend had discovered that she could donate blood in the U.K., where she was (and still is) living. She forever would be allowed to donate blood there, and so I no longer had to do it for her.
The last time I gave blood, was out of a sense of duty and support, I suppose. My school (where I was working) was hosting a drive, and someone specifically asked me to support, so I did. I even got my teacher shadow to participate, too. A different time, the school had another drive, but I wasn’t able to donate, because they had closed down before I was free from classes. I donated once, though, completely of my own accord, and for that I am proud. (Not in a snobby, snotty sense. Just proud that I succeeded in doing what I felt was a good thing to do, despite my fear and discomfort in doing it.)
As I write this, I can’t help but to feel that there was one other time during college, at which time I was able to give blood…, but I really don’t remember. I even have a spot on my arm that looks like it might have been a fourth needle, but I’m not certain.
Anyway, those are my current brain thoughts swirling around right now.