Today I saved a life. At least I hope I did. I donated blood.
I have been wanting to do this ever since the one time I did it 41 years ago, but I am quite a chicken poop. You know, the needle in the arm? The blood flowing out? Makes me queasy just thinking about it. But I finally did it.
All the folks at the Canadian Blood Services in Ottawa were very pleasant and put me at ease. I went around with a "1st time blood donor" tag on, and even got a little pin that I proudly put on afterwards.
When my daughter Johanna was born 30 years ago I lost a lot of blood. A ton of blood, in fact. I lost so much blood that I was actually unconscious for some time. At some point I had no recorded blood pressure and my pupils were dilated and fixed. I was attached to a breathing machine.
I do recall somewhere in the blackness that engulfed me, that at some point I was praying really really hard to a very loving God. I knew I was dying.
I know he was loving because I made him a promise, that if he let me live and raise my new daughter, I would do one thing in particular. I never did keep my promise to God. But God kept his end of the bargain (I do believe I have since atoned for that breach of faith. It also made me realize just how imperfect we really are).
When I finally woke up after they pumped me full of other people's blood, I was petrified. But I was alive.
That was an adventure I will never forget, and would have far preferred not to have experienced. But I did. And I lived because a lot of people donated their blood to me. People I don't even know. Maybe even people like me who are scared to death to donate blood.
The lady next to me was giving her 50th pint. Amazing. I wonder how many lives she's saved?
Now I hope to make this a regular thing. It really wasn't that bad. And they give you juice and cookies as a reward for good behaviour. How bad is that?