I'm talking about donating blood.
It used to be easier to do, before I got into nursing. The hospital actually has blood donor clinics on occasion, but it's very difficult to take the time away from my unit to donate. So now, I have updated my info online with Canadian Blood Services and scheduled an appointment for Friday morning at their headquarters near the biggest hospital in town.
And having had a number of surgeries over the past decade, each one has required a wait of 6 months past each surgery before being eligible again. And those delays just make it slip my mind.
You can do all that online now, which is a huge bonus, because I can look at my work schedule and make an appointment for a day off. No longer a hit and miss thing, as in 'will I remember there's a donor clinic on such and such a date at such and such a location?" (The answer to that tends to be no these days.)
It would appear I am too old (!) for their stem cell donor program (max. age is 50 per the website) but whole blood, platelets and plasma are still on the list. Whole blood can be donated every 56 days, platelets every 14 days and plasma twice in 7 days to a max of 26 time in a year. I've only ever donated whole blood but am going to look into the plasma and platelets situation and see if I am better suited to one of those.
As a nurse, I have given many blood transfusions to patients, whole blood (more often than not), as well as plasma or platelets. I am very aware of the need for blood donors to roll up their sleeves. Did you know that there is almost always a shortage of blood? And that different surgeries require different amounts of blood (on average)? And that accident victims sometimes get many times their original amount of blood in the form of transfusions?
Considering the average human body contains about 5 liters of blood, if you look at that chart, you'll see that the need for blood is huge. A liver transplant may involve 100 units of blood. A unit is, on average, between 350 and 450 ml of blood. A measuring cup is 250 ml. And that 250 ml is 1/4 of a liter.
That's a lot of the red stuff. The stuff of life. Because without it, you're just dust in the wind. If you are able, please donate.