A Week Well Spent

Last week was pretty busy for my family.  I’m so grateful to have been able to celebrate my wedding anniversary, not once, but twice.  Tuesday night my parents sent us to dinner at Corso, an Italian restaurant in Berkeley.  We have been meaning to try it and finally got to enjoy it.  Our meal didn’t disappoint and neither did our cocktails.


Cocktail goodness pictured below:

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Our second anniversary celebration was on the actual day of.  We’re fortunate enough to share our special day with some of our closest friends.  The four of us thought it’d be fun to celebrate together by going to the Bull Valley Roadhouse.  Craig and I just love it there because it transports you back in time.  We hadn’t been in a while, so a dual anniversary celebration was the perfect reason to go.


Pre-prohibition era cocktail recipes from Bull Valley:

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Despite all of the good things happening in my reality, the reality of many others across the country wasn’t as cheery.  The acts in Las Vegas have weighed heavily on my heart since they occurred.  Not only that, but there are countless people suffering devastation from the hurricanes and wildfires that don’t seem to want to take a break.

Instead of heading to Facebook and posting my political views on gun laws and the NFL (which is useless, unless people are actually taking action to make change towards whatever it is they believe in), I decided to go out and make a difference.

I’m not trying to claim that I changed the world this weekend, but I did do something that will help someone, hopefully more than just a single someone.  I gave the gift of my blood with the American Red Cross.

I was inspired by one of Craig’s co-workers who posted a photo on her Instagram of her donating as well.  Immediately after seeing her post I went to the Red Cross website to see if I could make an appointment for that day.  I went downstairs to find Craig and tell him I was going to give blood and asked if it would be okay that I do it that afternoon.

I was emotional and teary when I told him what I was planning to do.  He quickly slowed me down to remind me that we had an anniversary dinner (the one at Corso) that evening and he wanted me to still feel energized enough to go.  I knew it was probably a good idea to wait for a different day during the week to go through with my donation, so that’s what I did.

I decided to schedule my donation for Saturday during Gia’s nap time, which worked out great anyway because Craig’s parents wanted to take Gia for the day.  After going to a yoga gathering hosted by a high school friend (and cutting out early), I zipped over to the American Red Cross in Pleasant Hill for my donation appointment.  (Side note:  I held myself accountable from my previous post about self care by going to yoga!  Yay!)

It was apparent after walking into the Red Cross that they were very busy and had been all week.  It really made me feel like I was doing something good by being there.  The majority of the people who were there that day were first time donors, like myself.  I chatted a little bit with the woman who was donating across from me about how the events in Las Vegas were her motivation to give blood, as well as mine.

I couldn’t help but sit there and think about where my blood would be going. Would it go to a mother, a father, a child, a cancer patient?  Obviously it would end up going to a hospital and eventually to a person, but I really wished I could find out more about who would receive it.  The phlebotomist who was taking care of me told me that sometimes you receive a note telling you where your blood has gone, but most times you don’t.  She also later told me that the amount of blood that I gave that day has the potential to save three lives.  That’s pretty freakin’ amazing.


Photo of me donating:

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This whole experience really made me see what’s truly important in life.  It’s not the house, the sports car, the Jimmy Choo’s, or the handbag – it’s the moments we spend with the ones we care about that matter most.  I’ve known this all along but was abruptly reminded last week after so much tragedy.

I had such a seamless experience donating, that I’ve decided to do it regularly.  Most people have blood to spare, but there still isn’t enough blood to go around.  Since I’m o-negative blood type (the universal red cell donor) I am also committing to regularly giving a Power Red donation, which is different than a whole blood donation.  Power red is similar to a whole blood donation, except a special machine is used to allow you to safely donate two units of red blood cells during one donation while returning your plasma and platelets to you.  There are certain hemoglobin and height/weight requirements, in addition to whole blood requirements to give a Power Red donation – thankfully, I meet the requirements!

I hope that my willingness to share my positive experience can inspire and motivate other individuals to donate.  If my donation story doesn’t push you to donate, hopefully this will…..

Quick Facts About Blood Needs:

  • Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood.
  • Approximately 36,000 units of red blood cells are needed every day in the U.S.
  • Nearly 7,000 units of platelets and 10,000 units of plasma are needed daily in the U.S.
  • Nearly 21 million blood components are transfused each year in the U.S.
  • The average red blood cell transfusion is approximately 3 pints.
  • The blood type most often requested by hospitals is type O.
  • The blood used in an emergency is already on the shelves before the event occurs.
  • It is estimated that sickle cell disease affects 90,000 to 100,000 people in the U.S. About 1,000 babies are born with the disease each year. Sickle cell patients can require frequent blood transfusions throughout their lives.
  • According to the American Cancer Society, more than 1.69 million people are expected to be diagnosed with cancer in 2017. Many of them will need blood, sometimes daily, during their chemotherapy treatment.
  • A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood.

Quick Facts About Blood Donors:

  • Half of Red Cross blood donors are male, and half are female.
  • The Red Cross accepts blood donations only from volunteer donors. Among Red Cross donors in a given year, 19 percent donate occasionally, 31 percent are first-time donors and 50 percent are regular, loyal donors.
  • Only 7 percent of people in the United States. have type O-negative blood type, which is known as the universal blood type. Blood that is type O-negative can be given to people of all blood types. Type O-negative blood is needed in emergencies before the patient’s blood type is known and with newborns that need blood.

To learn more about blood donation and the Red Cross, please visit redcross.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

 

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