February 19, 2011 is an important day. It is the annual blood drive being held at CarolinaEast Internal Medicine (formerly ECIM) in Pollocksville. I participated in the very first blood drive there. A coworker had organized it that year because another coworker’s grandson needed surgery and would possibly need lots of blood transfusions. It was a great event! I originally went just to take snacks and to help where I could. But as the day went on, I really contemplated donating blood.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am deathly afraid of needles. I freak out just thinking about them. I am a big baby about them. So after thinking about how much good I could do by donating and by much convincing from friends that I would be fine, I agreed. Secretly hoping that when they tested my blood that something wouldn’t be right and then I would have a good excuse not to be stuck with a needle.
But you guessed it – my blood was great! And I was healthy. So back in line I got waiting for a chair. I could feel myself getting more and more anxious. Several friends would continually check on me and make sure I was ok. And this is before I even got to the chair y’all! Eventually it was my turn and Susan volunteered to hold my hand while I donated my blood. And so I so graciously asked if she would mind and of course she didn’t. So I had to have a grown woman hold my hand so I could donate blood. Yes, I know I am a wuss.
But when I got done, I had the best feeling (no it was not the lightheadedness!). I knew I had just saved someone’s life. And that was amazing.
I haven’t had the chance to donate again or to attend the following annual blood drives at work. But this year, I am making the commitment again. You can come see me live out the “blood, sweat, and tears” as when I give blood this year I am sure I will be sweating with anxiety and crying as I remember how this action can save a child’s life like Claire (I will try not to cry over the needle this year….).
Why, you ask, am I planning to put myself through this scary thing again? Well, because we found out last year just how important that donated blood can be. It saved Claire’s life on more than one occasion.
You may remember that Claire had RH Incompatibility when she was born. That’s when my blood type and her blood type fight each other. And it basically kills off her blood cells. It was very scary as they were considering having to do a complete blood replacement on Claire. Meaning drain all of her blood out of her body and replace it all with donor blood. Luckily, her body adjusted and she didn’t have to have the complete transfusion. But she had lots and lots of blood transfusions throughout her NICU stay. So may that I lost count. Then with both her heart and liver surgeries, Claire had blood transfusions.
Did you know that one unit of blood that an adult donates can be divided up into 4 units for pediatric patients? So your blood donation can save one adult or 4 children. We found this out as we thought about getting Trent to donate his blood before Claire’s heart surgery so they could use his blood for her transfusions instead of donor blood as their blood is compatible.
So please consider stopping by CarolinaEast Internal Medicine in Pollocksville that Sunday afternoon (between 1-6 pm) and giving the gift of life. There will be LOTS of good snacks and drinks for you while you wait and after you donate. AND you can donate in honor or memory of someone! So you know we will be donating in honor of Claire! So if you decide to donate in honor of Claire, please let us know as we want to let everyone know how many units were donated in honor of our sweetheart.
The Scott Family