23 November 2008

So Do-able!

Often times we think of something we would like to do, but then refrain from taking action, because, well, we couldn’t really, could we? I mean, most of these things are done by a special kind of people, aren’t they?

Take giving blood, for example. I have thought about doing it for years. And for years, I thought it really was not for me. I am SO squeamish for one thing. And my pain threshold is low. And 470ml? That’s a lot! And my blood group is O+, the most common one, so it’s not really needed, is it? And the donation clinics are not at a time that suits me.

So every time I heard the ads on radio, saw the posters in the streets, or the appeals in the papers, I thought about it and concluded that it was a brilliant idea, but not for me. You see, I could not picture myself as one of those very special people who give their blood for others. Those people are almost holy, they must have with a whiff of sainthood floating around them.

And That is Definitely Not Me!

Last spring, as Cathal was recovering in hospital following his heart operation, one evening on my way home from visiting him, I saw a poster: A Blood Donation Clinic was going to be held only a few kilometres away the following Sunday. This time, I could not dismiss it. If Cathal had needed blood the previous weekend, someone would have had to give it a few days before. Cathal is going to need very serious surgery next year, and, if it’s needed, someone will need to step in and give.

Blood does not keep more than 35 days. The supply needs to be constantly renewed.

So I could not give him my blood, but maybe, just maybe I could conjure up the courage to try and donate for someone else, just because someone else might donate for him. Just in case he needs it!

So the following Sunday, I found myself driving over to that clinic. I did not allow myself to think about it, I just told myself I was going, and that was that!

What I did not know was that, for people like myself who were born outside of Ireland, you cannot donate on that first day: your blood needs to be tested, so only what is needed for the tests is taken... still 300ml! It’s understandable really, we are talking about very sick people needing the blood, and patients are the prime concern, they need to be protected. Then you get a letter telling you: “yes, you are good to go! And by the way, here are the dates and times of the next clinic near you”. And in case you forget, they text you the morning itself! Just a gentle reminder.

Anyway, after all the fears, all the excuses, the end result is: it’s totally do-able!
It’s not comfortable.
It’s not pleasant.
But it’s do-able.

And the people going in are just ordinary people, not a hit of a whiff of sainthood about the place! There is tea and fruit juice and biscuits and chocolate bars afterwards. There are relaxed people chatting away, smiling, reading the papers, surrounded by children busy with the lovely “Give Blood” pens and pencils. So normal. So ordinary. So simple!

And so needed!

It’s worth a thought. If I can do it, anyone can.

For more info, click here.


Lisamaree said...

I wish I could! I have great blood too, AB+ which I am really proud of. But I lived in the U.K between 1987 and 1988 and no one wants it!
I practically lived on crackers and soup, not a lot of beef taken in 2 years but the Mad cow thing doesn't discriminate apparently.

Anyhoo, if you know different (like I could be tested??) I would happily do it. Chance to put my feet up do nothing but bleed and feel saintly for an hour or so.
Good woman for reminding us!

Sesame said...

Hey Nan P. like yourself I have seen the posters told myself yes this time I will go and found excuses not to go...to say I don't like needles is an understatement but you have put the fire in my belly and will look out for the next clinic and promise to go...because as you pointed out you never know when someone close to us might just need some...
although it is Royal blood running through my veins am afraid am a commoner too...
Tanx for the nudge...

Nick McGivney said...

Super job, Nan. Aside from the fear that some people have, it is definitely not an easy thing to just get to the point of donating. I don't blame the BTSB for that. They've learned some difficult lessons. But it does require a commitment from people like yourself. One thing I'd disagree with though: I think people who do this ordinary little thing actually DO have a little bit of saintliness. Nothing that'll get you in the back door upstairs or anything, but just a very real - perhaps the most obviously real - selflessness about them. For the very reasons you outline. It's a tremendous drag to do it, and we all have things to do, important things, so fitting in this tricky little thing really is, imo, a wee inspiration in these times. Well done, Saint Nan!