I Learned From You

I’ve talked before about how amazing my father was, I know I have. And I’ve written about the Miley Cyrus song, “I Learned From You”, that really reminds me of how strong my father was and how much he impacted and continues to affect my life today. Today my dad would have turned 60 years old and I wanted to take a minute to show you just another small example of how he’s constantly a part of my life.

Monday morning I had signed up to give blood with the Red Cross.  Those of you who have read my blog for a while, probably remember the last time I successfully gave blood, which was almost two years ago.  I have a problem donating because my iron levels are always too low and then if I pass that test, frequently my blood clots and stops before an entire bag can be withdrawn. So over the weekend I stocked up on foods high in calcium and iron, took my iron supplements, and drank TONS of water. I wanted to give myself the best possible chance to donate that I could.

Step one: pass the iron test. My first finger prick showed 11.7, which is not that close to the 12.5 goal, so I wasn’t confident when the manager came over to try my other hand.  But I wanted to pass so badly and she aggressively punched my finger, so there was hope.  As she took my blood pressure, just in case, I saw the numbers flash on the screen “12.6”. Yay! The next hurdle was finding a good vein.  Another issue I frequently have because mine like to hide beneath the surface.  My poor nurse finally decided to go with the outside vein on my left arm, which I assured her was the best bet, even if it wasn’t a good one.

She got the vein with the first shot and blood starting flowing.  I couldn’t release my breath yet though, and for good reason.  About 1/3 of the way through the bag, the blood flow stopped.  She began maneuvering the needle in my arm to find that vein again.  Success! But it was short-lived as my vein kept collapsing.  The nurse added a blood pressure clamp to my bicep and pumped it up to encourage the blood to flow. Several “maneuvers”, and much pumping up and releasing, later and we finally got enough blood. Final step? Getting the two test tubes of blood for the hospital to test. Really? We somehow managed to squeeze those out too.

This whole time I was just thinking about Dad and many other cancer patients, or those with chronic diseases. I do this once every 60 days and because I want to.  They often have treatments daily, with complications weekly, and there’s nothing they can do about it.And I’m healthy and feel great going in to this process, while they often feel run-down and exhausted.  The average time to donate blood is 10 minutes. I had the needle inside my arm for 35 minutes.  As the nurse handed me the ice pack (because my arm “might” swell or be tender) she thanked me for continuing to give, even with difficulties.  My friend Sean gave blood on Monday as well and told me I was a trooper for sticking with it.

They might be right, I might be unique in my perseverance to give blood in spite of the pain and the struggle.  But I’m just doing what my dad taught me, which is to do what’s right, to help others as much as you can, and to smile through life.  Without units of blood like mine from donors like me, my dad would’ve been taken from me weeks, months, possibly years sooner than he was. Every blood transfusion he got gave our family more time to spend with the most amazing father I could’ve ever asked for.  So think about that today, on Dad’s 60th birthday, and consider donating blood the next chance you get. Because it really does make a difference, not just in the lives of the person who receives it, but their family’s lives as well.

I love you, Daddy, and thank you for being an amazing, positive example of how to live life to the fullest and enjoy every moment. Happy birthday!!

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Operation RAM Update: 5 weeks to go! | Rays of Funshine
  2. Trackback: Why Do I Give Blood? | Rays of Funshine

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