Thursday, September 29, 2005

Good Deeds

Who hasn't heard the phrase, "No good deed goes unpunished"? I've had frustrating experiences while trying to do something good, and no doubt you have, too. The thing is, it's still worth it to try.

The American Red Cross can seem an unruly uber-organization, and when they wield their uber-organizational, systematic policy whoosits with individuals, it can make a person feel tiny and unimportant when they tangle with Uber and want to do something silly like donate blood. But you know what? The Red Cross is a big-ass organization, and so they do have some red tape and other problems that are inherent to that size of operation. But, they do a lot of good in the end.

(Tee hee, I just said "ass" and "end"! Yes, now you know, I'm 12 years old...)

I have little veins, and medical personnel routinely have trouble getting a good one. Also? I'm a fainter. This special combination makes it difficult for me to give blood. Now folks, I have created and then passed a brand new human being out of my vagina during which there was much tearing and blood and stitches, all of which I was awake for and watching and feeling. For the love of criminey, you would think that giving a little blood would be a piece of cake compared to that. But it isn't, and except for the 4th degree lacerations, I pretty much feel the same way after giving blood that I did after giving birth. At best I feel woozy; At worst, I get a terrible headache, nausea and feel weak and fainty for the rest of the day.

The last time I donated blood, they had filled the pint and were moving on to fill the five small viles that are used to perform tests on the donor's blood before the sample is accepted. The tube malfunctioned. It got blocked somehow and they had to toss the entire sample that was collected and send me on my way. I was devastated, because at the time, my father was in the hospital with leukemia. I felt like I had failed. I was SO MAD at the Red Cross for not doing more, for not going against their policy and using the other arm, or a leg, and getting my damn blood. But, it was just my emotions. My blood was not specifically for my dad, and my blood, even if it had been the same type, wouldn't have saved him anyway. My friend was with me, and she was going to donate blood but couldn't due to low levels of something or other. We were both depressed and went to Burgerville for lunch, where we proceeded to spend over $10! At a fast food place! Each! (I had to have those walla walla sweet onion rings to go with my burger, and a drink, and a milkshake...)

There was another time I saw a sign for a blood drive at a church, and I went after work. They turned me away because I didn't have an appointment. I was indignant! How could they turn people away? If I had known I needed to sign up, I would have. I left feeling dejected and appalled they would turn away a willing donor. But, these are people who have families to get home to, and as much good as it would do, can't stay there all night to receive endless number of walk-ins. I understand that.

I encourage each person to give blood if you can. When your loved one is in the hospital, you don't want them to have to wait for some critical fluids, whether it's blood or plasma or something else. A crisis is no time to worry about short supplies of critical resources.

I won't let my bad experience stop me from going back to give blood again. Don't let your bad experiences stop you, either.

Little-Veined-Fainters of the world, unite!

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