Eleven years ago, I never would have given a thought to donating blood. No one was going to be sticking needles into me! Needless to say that when I was younger, I didn’t have the greatest perspective and didn’t realize how much the slightest gestures of kindness could affect others. Then came one of the greatest blessings of my life, and with it one of the greatest blessings in disguise that I have ever personally experienced.
January 20, 2002, started off with a bang, as I was awoken at 3 a.m. to what I knew had to be contractions. We packed up and headed to the hospital, checked in and waited for things to progress. I walked, and walked and walked some more in an attempt to accelerate labor, and finally around 5:30 p.m., it was time.
My daughter, Mikayla, made her world debut at 6:18 p.m., and at 8lbs 9oz, she was absolutely perfect! I, on the other hand, was not fairing as well. There had been a significant amount of blood loss and the doctors were worried. I barely got to hold my beautiful baby girl before they took her to clean her up and make sure that I was going to be okay. A transfusion was ordered and within minutes there were nurses getting ready to give my body back the blood it had lost.
The average adult has roughly 10 pints of blood circulating in their system. I had lost three pints, and while that is an average transfusion amount and there are many who experience a more drastic need, the effects of the blood loss were still obvious to my body. I was so dizzy and fatigued that I couldn’t sit up. let alone stand or walk, and even holding my baby was draining. It broke my heart as a new mother that I had to have assistance to avoid dropping her.
The process of receiving blood went quickly and the next morning I felt well enough to hold my precious bundle of joy, and even get out of bed for short periods of time. Some effects, like the anemia I suffered, dwelled in my body for several years despite a healthy diet and taking vitamins. My strength and health returned to normal relatively quickly, but the lesson in gratitude for the person who gave up an hour of their day to donate blood and save my life is one that I still carry with me 11 years later.
I don’t know that person, but what I do know is this: there is a potential that I wouldn’t be here today, or my life could have been drastically altered, if people had not made the decision to give of themselves, and that knowledge compels me to donate in return. Knowing that someone’s life could be saved is worth far more than an hour of my time!
Looking back, I can’t imagine a time when I would not have considered blood donation. Now, I am a regular blood donor and I am so thankful to work in a place that not only promotes blood donation but even holds a blood drive four times per year. Each quarter, the medical assistant program at Globe University-Wausau coordinates with The Blood Center of Wisconsin to bring the Blood Center’s staff of amazing nurses and workers to the campus in a joint effort to help our community.
Since this partnership began in 2010, Globe University-Wausau blood drives have brought in 380 units of blood to be used in the area, and with each unit capable of saving up to three lives, many have been helped through the generosity of those who donated.
During the most recent Globe University blood drive, held Tuesday January 29, 42 donors–myself
included–gave of themselves by donating whole blood, dual red, or platelets, and many others aided the efforts with their time and baked goods to be served to the donors. It is something that we are passionate about on our campus and it is a passion we hope to share with others.
For more information on donation and other ways you can help, please visit Blood Center of Wisconsin online or call 1-877-BE-A-HERO (1-877-232-4376).