Posted by: keherenf | January 13, 2008

How to Save Three Lives

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Come to think of it, there are probably many ways that one could theoretically save three lives. But, an easy way is to donate blood. If you are over 17, weigh more than 110 pounds, and have not engaged in risky sexual or drug behavior, you are probably a good candidate for blood donation.

The process is organized mostly through the Red Cross, although local medical groups may sponsor one as well. The first step is to sign up and make an appointment. Once an appointment is made, the following will occur:

1. Eat a good breakfast and drink plenty of liquids before the donation. If you are prone to be anemic, take an iron supplement as well.

2. You will show up to the site and be asked to read some material concerning the donation.

3. Once you are done reading, you will be brought back into a private area to speak with one of the technicians. They will check your I.D. and ask basic demographic questions. They will then check your vitals…temperature, blood pressure, and pulse. If everything is good, they will then check your iron by drawing a very small amount of blood through a pinprick in your finger. If your iron level is high enough, they will then ask you to answer a series of questions privately on their laptop. It asks questions mainly about sexual activity, drug use, and traveling information.

4. Now that you have completed the screening, you are ready to donate. They will place you in a reclined seat and pick an arm to draw from.  They will then put a blood pressure cuff on your arm and blow it up to make the vein rise closer to the surface of the skin. Next, they will rub iodine (cleaner) on your vein until the skin is completely disinfected. With a quick pinch, the needle will be in and your blood will be on its way to the donation bag.

5. While the needle is still in your arm, you will be instructed to squeeze a fun plastic ball with your hand every five seconds or so.  This helps the blood go into the bag quicker. While you are giving blood, you should not feel any different. You really should not feel the needle in your arm, and as long as you are healthy you should feel like you are just relaxing.

6. Within a few minutes, the donation bag should be full. The technician will come over and fill a few more small vials with your blood, and then they will take the needle out. They will quickly bandage the area and you will be asked to rest for about 15 minutes.

And that’s it! That simple process saves three lives! It has minimal pain, and they usually give you great treats. Over the course of my donations, I have received free movie tickets, free dinners, free shirts, free Clippers tickets, cookies, crackers, juice, water, and more.

This process can be repeated every 8 weeks. The whole thing takes just under an hour, something everyone should be able to find once every two months. Save three lives, donate blood!

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