giving, donating…what’s the difference? It’s all good.

As soon as Claire jumped from the bottom stair to the landing, a voice rang out, “Hi, Claire! How are you today?”

“Good.  I got my orange headband!”

“Good for you! You look awesome!”

Claire proudly posed in her taekwondo uniform in the doorway at Central Blood Bank, beaming.

This is a snippet of a 30 second conversation between Claire and phlebotomist Lori.

I give blood a lot. I give blood often enough that they know Claire. I give blood so frequently that they know that we come on Tuesdays after Claire’s taekwondo class.

I go into the room to tell them that, no, I haven’t had sex with a man who’s had sex with another man in the past. Nor do I shoot up with drugs or have hepatitis. Yes, I’m feeling well today.

While this is going on, Claire sits in her favorite chair and the other ladies serve her apple juice and a cookie or pretzels. Sometimes she gets paper and a pen so she can draw.

Yesterday she drew balloons.

Once the interrogation is over, we both go into the donation room where Claire sits on an office swivel chair and drinks the rest of her juice. Everyone there asks her questions about life, but things they already know about, not just some generic ones.

“Claire, how’s Luca?” “How’s the baby?” “Are you enjoying being a big sister?” “What’s for your birthday, that’s coming up, right?” “What do you want to be  for Halloween?” “How’s Crosby’s boo-boo on his brain?”

She keeps conversation while I get a very large needle stuck into my right arm – always my right – and I sit back and watch Claire grow up before my eyes.

Giving blood every two months keeps a busy life-style in check. The phlebotomists and I always say, “I can’t believe it’s already been 2 months!” and then I look to Claire who’s sitting a little taller in the chair, speaks a little clearer and has a wider vocabulary.

Claire constantly impresses me with her level of discipline and patience. She sits in her chair quietly, not complaining, for sometimes 45 minutes, depending on how busy everyone is. For that, I admire the hell out of her. And while everyone comments on what a good girl she is, I know this to be 100% true.

Every two months, I donate blood. And subsequently because of this, I help 3 people. But I don’t walk around chest held high, nose in the air stating I saved lives, even though I totally did. I do it because it’s an hour of my life every two months. That’s only 6 hours a year. And what makes me even happier is that I have a special antibody of sorts in my blood that allows me to donate to neonates and cancer patients who suffer from anemia. I could be saving a baby. And that makes my heart so very happy.

These are the things I want my children to gain from me. I want them to gain good exercise habits, healthful eating and above all to be kind individuals.

Giving blood makes me happy. Going for a long run on my favorite trail makes me happy. Eating free trade swiss chocolate makes me happy. Listening to my kids laugh makes me happy. Snuggling with my husband on the couch after the kids have gone to bed makes me happy.

And all of these things are all natural in my life. I set a goal for what I want, and I make it happen. I make no excuses and I don’t deny myself these things. Life’s too short.

I want to be happy. Bam. Done.

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About Cassie

Two sisters from two misters. What could be more fun?

Posted on September 28, 2011, in Cassie and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. I think what you do is a wonderful thing, Cassie. The big needle you mentioned- i got blood taken yesterday but never look. When you donate, is it bigger than when they take blood normally? I was always too terrified of needles to try it but I’m thinking since I’ve mastered getting my blood taken and not minding, that I should start. I’d love to help people too.

    • Do it!

      When they draw blood it’s a 22 gauge needle. Usually. Sometimes 20. When you donate blood, it’s a 16 gauge needle. Much larger. About the size of a needle when you get a belly button pierced.

  2. I always found it best not to look.

    I used to give blood regularly, when I was in school…
    mostly so I could get just as drunk on fewer beers.

    (I’m only partially kidding.)

    Your last line is a key to life. People can find a way to do things, if that’s what they really want to do. Start where you want to end up… that’s what an old boss once told me. Great advice.

  3. Favorite. Blog. Post. Ever.

    Damn straight, Cassie. There is always, ALWAYS time for the really important things in life, one of which is doing good for other people.

    Don’t be surprised if I ask permission to reprint this post one day soon.

    • You can use it any time. I meant everything I said. There’s always time and those that say there isn’t either haven’t tried or are lying. I found that when I became honest with myself, really honest, that’s when change starts to happen. And it’s good.

  4. You know I used to give blood a lot… then I kept getting rejected for not enough iron, so I just sort of gave up. I guess I need to eat my spinach, take my vitamin and get back to it, because you’re so right! I bet you have some awesome blood donor swag.

    And what a good, sweet girl Claire is. You should be proud!

    • It’s pretty fun the stuff you get. I have gotten so many Target gift cards, but this last time, I opted for a t-shirt. Partly because it was Twilight based (lame!) and partly because it’s a great work out shirt.

  5. I have a friend who is dying (maybe surviving, but it’s very slim odds at this point, according to her) from stage 4 breast cancer. She’s been blogging her journey since the start of it.

    For the first time a few weeks ago, she took a blood transfusion, and it changed her quality of life.

    It is people like you, who gave her a glimmer of hope and energy, even if just for a day, to enjoy being alive again. She’s the mother of two boys, and on most days, she can barely function. But on the day of her transfusion, she was clear-headed and had a good day. And those good days? They are so few and far between for her.

    So thank you. Thank you for giving blood. For people like Ann. And of course, others in need. 🙂

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