Donating Blood: That Felt Good


Hats off to the people at the local Canadian Blood Services in Calgary – Ashley and I went down there this past Saturday to be first-time blood donors, and it was a really great experience. Donating blood is something I’ve “wanted” to do for years. I put wanted in quotes because it seems for most people, and I’m sadly often in this group, they’ll “want” to do things but always find excuses to not do it. Every year I get old I try to push myself to higher levels of integrity – where when I say I’m going to do something, I do it.

This time around I had a one-two punch to the jaw: last week my friend Crystal (she’s the one I’ve been taking a lot of pictures for lately) went into the hospital with an extremely low hemoglobin count. She needed an immediate blood transfusion – it saved her life. That was punch number one. A day later, I received an email from Canadian Blood Services (using an email address I used for a one-time online contest) saying that they were in desperate need of blood donors – they had only a three-day supply of blood available. Punch number two. Some days I’m a bit slow, but I’m not that dense, so I told Ashley we should really get down there and donate blood.

We went in on Saturday at noon, and it was a great experience – yes, even though we got poked in the arm with a needle. The process was fairly quick – the worst part was the paperwork…well, that and the finger-pick to test my blood for iron levels. That little clicker thing hurt more than the horse-needle they put in my arm! After answering the questions about where I’ve been in the past three years, and the ones that might make some people blush (“Have you ever been paid money or drugs for sex?”) and them checking my arms for needle tracks, it was off to the comfy chairs. Ashley and I brought paperback books because we thought the drawing blood process took 30 minutes – it didn’t. The very skilled nurse put the needle in my arm with almost no pain, and my heart slammed out 0.5 litres (1 pint) of the red juicy stuff in 6 minutes 8 seconds. Ashley took a bit over 8 minutes – apparently women are typically slower. Maybe men were made to bleed faster because we’re the ones usually starting the wars.

After the donation I spent a few minutes sipping Apple juice and eating cookies, then we left. We’ve already booked our appointment for October – you can only donate every 56 days – and we both felt great about having donated blood. My only regret? That it took me this long to get around to doing it. If you can donate blood, you should – they need it. Besides, what else are you going to do with it?