Bloodletting

Yesterday, I gave a double donation of blood affectionately called a “Power Red” by the American Red Cross. Being a ginger, I know in my heart that this is my superhero name and that giving life through blood donation is my superpower! Aside from donating an organ, donating blood is the next best way to save a life and has a shorter recovery time plus the post-donation snacks are usually on-point. Though this time, there were no Famous Amos Chocolate Chip cookies…

If you’ve never given a “Power Red,” it’s a cool process where you’re hooked up to a special machine that takes a pint of blood separates it into whole blood and platelets then when the whole blood bag is filled returns the platelets mixed with saline. It takes you through that process twice. The benefits of this include giving a double donation in one sitting, more time in between donations, and the blood is partially processed making it ready for donation sooner.

Donating blood is something that I consistently do and feel is an important way to give back. To date, I am only a pint shy of having donated 2 liters of blood! There is always a shortage and crisis when it comes to blood supplies. I routinely encourage people to donate, in turn often hear a variety of reasons they don’t give. One is that they don’t’ like needles…I don’t particularly like needles; I can’t stomach the look of the needle going into my arm. I look away when they are sticking me and I ask that my arm is covered once we get things going. People are also afraid that they will pass out. Only twice have I felt like that was going to happen – both times I hadn’t eaten enough prior to the donation. The donation team works fast when a person indicates that she feels woozy – legs are popped into the air, above the heart, and apple juice is quickly administered.

According to some research, there are also personal health benefits to donating blood that I hadn’t previously realized. To donate blood, you have to have a certain level of iron in your blood – not too much or too little. Donating regularly can help lower your risk of elevated iron levels which can wreak havoc on your system putting your liver, heart, and pancreas at risk for a myriad of issues. Check out this blog post from brms on the health benefits of blood donation.

There are a variety of ways that one can donate. An old friend, when she could donate, always gave “peds packs” which is the same amount as whole blood donation put into smaller bags and used in pediatric cases, there are the Power Reds which we’ve discussed, standard whole blood donations, platelet, and plasma donations. All are needed.

If your company, school, or a community organization is hosting a blood drive, sign up! You can also make an appointment at your local blood donation center. You won’t regret the time you spend to give someone another chance at life.

Charlottesville

Truly, I did not think that the topic of my first “real” blog post would be about racism and violence but with the events this weekend in Charlottesville, VA that topic is weighing heavy on my heart and mind. These are my thoughts, feelings, and observations.

Many of my friends, acquaintances, and I are asking the question “how, in 2017, is this still happening?” Quite frankly, it’s still happening because we have yet to deal with the root causes and the institutionalized racism that keeps us where we are with people growing angrier and more disenfranchised. This latest incident in Charlottesville has yet to spark the level of outrage and action we should expect to see from our president. There are reports of counter-protesters having been beaten yards from the police station with no police involvement to stop the event.

My son is bi-racial. About a year ago there was another event that caused me to actually be grateful that he looks more like me (white) than his dad (black). The thought was unsolicited and passed through my mind in a flash. It shocked me a little bit but I didn’t try to justify it or think something different. I own that I had that thought and use it as fuel to action. No parent should have to fear for their child’s safety because of the color of their skin though it happens daily. A high school friend of mine recently stepped in to help a friends of her sons’ who is black. He had been stopped by the local police and the situation was escalating. This was a “good” kid who is in high school, plays sports, and is in general not a trouble-maker. My friend was fearful for the kid’s safety and said it was one of the most frightening situations she has encountered.

As a parent, I want my son to be able to go places and experience a multitude of things without the fear of being harassed or watched more closely because of the color of his skin. And he can do that. He is a skinny, tan kid with unruly curls and a happy smile. Parents of other races and religions want the same damn thing for their children and why should they not have it??

The Alt-Right, the KKK, and white supremacists who identify with other groups all seek to maintain this sense of control and power. We outnumber them – we have to ensure that we do not let their scare tactics and violence deter us from action and we must act. Silence is no longer acceptable as it shows consent. I will not consent to these people taking away my country.

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” Nelson Mandela

TEACH AND LIVE LOVE – HATE WILL NOT WIN