From the archives …
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I went grocery shopping today – I don’t mind doing that usually – it’s a great way to enjoy one of my favorite ways to pass the day – people watching. Going with the traffic flow in the store, I yielded to a lady turning right into the coffee aisle. Falling in behind her, it was easy to read the message on the back of her t-shirt. It said, “Save a Life; Donate Blood”. At that moment I had a Bill Engvall moment. If you don’t know this gentleman’s work, you need to – the “Ya Gotta Laugh” section of this site will guide you to his unique humor. He does material based on some of the not-so-smart things that people say. And today, I could hear him say: “Here’s Your Sign”.
Going back to before my liver failed, I was diagnosed as having prostate cancer. My surgeon told me that I was likely to need blood during the surgery that I decided to have. I went to our local blood bank to see about recycling some of my own – might as well keep by self to my self. But because I also have a chronic case of white coat syndrome, and I was facing a pretty big operation, I was told that I could not donate my own blood. For some reason my blood pressure was too high. I’m not sure how this happened, but those I worked with heard of this dilemma, and one of the social workers found that we shared a blood type. She and I were not without some friction in our work lives, but we had a mutual respect. And the next thing I was hearing was that she had donated blood for my surgery. That meant a whole lot to me. Eva, thanks.
Liver failure gives you bleeding problems. Beginning with my first acute internal bleed episode, blood transfusions were pretty normal for me. Over the year and a half that brought me to my transplant, I lost count of the number of times that my total volume of blood was replaced – and then there was my surgery.
My co-shopper reminded me today I and no transplant recipient would be alive without people like her, Eva and all the others who stop at a blood drive in a shopping mall parking lot, their work, a sporting event, or make a special trip to a local blood bank to donate of themselves. Yes, heart, lung, kidney, liver, and all organ donors are critical to people like me. I’ll never find adequate words to thank my liver donor. Yet his donation would not have mattered without the donation of an untold number of other people who are equally responsible for saving my life.
So, don’t join me in getting a “I’m stupid” sign. Yeah, sign your organ donor cards – please. But you do not have to wait until then to save lives. Did you know that:
Do someone you will never know a favor – check out www.redcrossblood.org to learn about the need and how simple it is – you don’t have to die to give the gift of life!