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Blood, Sweat and Cheers!

Got blood? No sweat! Cheers to you for sharing your precious bodily fluids!

Okay, I'll bet the last thing you thought you'd find on this sticky note is a plug for unplugging a vein or two and letting loose with some lifesaving fluid: blood. I am a big supporter for folks donating blood and, in my case, platelets. Those are those little guys that help clot blood so people don't bleed to death. Sorta important. You're darn glad you have 'em when you need 'em. And those what don't got 'em are darn glad you give 'em so they can use 'em. If you donate, good on you. If you don't, think about sharing a little of yourself. It doesn't hurt - honest! And the juice and cookies are terrific! If you can't donate blood for whatever reason, then God bless you.

Here is an editorial I did recently for our local papers which might bring it all into a bloody perspective:

I spend every other Thursday 'volunteering' at Cascade Regional Blood Services. No, I'm not handing out cookies and thanks, although donors get plenty of each after making a 'deposit' in a blood 'bank.' No, I'm there volunteering my blood platelets.

Folks ask me why. Why take my precious, self-employed time and spend it with a needle in a vein for two hours twice a month? I would like to say I do it because I'm a saint, that I do it for the Greater Good of humankind. But I don't think that's the case.

I do it because I can ...

I do it because I have come to learn that the blood supply has been compromised over the years by disease and indiscretions and that the need for blood has only gone up. There are no fewer premature births. there are no fewer auto accidents, there are no fewer open heart surgeries.

I do it because, by the grace of Whoever Is Pulling The Strings, I can. Because I have something that others need and that need is never casual - it is always a desperate need. I have a vein, I have blood in that vein, and there are healthy platelets in that blood - platelets that I can easily surrender. This gift we have which we call a body can regenerate those donated platelets in just a few hours. About the time it takes to donate.

I do it because maybe you can't and I do it because maybe you won't.

I do it because I live in a community with constant needs. My donations are used in local hospitals helping neighbors I will never know. Millions of my platelets now reside throughout the city, county and maybe even state - maybe even in Iraq ... walking around in now-healthier humans.

As a novelist, I tend to find a story in everything. I have come to think that every blood donation is a story which has a beginning, a middle and an ending. I am the beginning, a blood bank is the middle, and someone in need, maybe my mail person, maybe your father, maybe a child just hours now from birth, maybe you, will be the story's ending. Not all stories end happily, but every story is worthy of a personal Pulitzer.

So, begin a story. Donate a little part of yourself - if you don't have three hours to donate platelets, donate blood in a quarter of the time. Do it for the free cookies and juice. Do it for the Celestial Credit. Do it for Aunt Elma. Do it for whatever reasons you have, but mostly, do it because you can.

(Lecture over. There will not be a quiz.)

Randall Platt
Okay, here's five more reasons why I spend three hours twice a month at the blood bank:
  • Free cookies, crackers, juice, candy and chocolate milk - I am pretty sure that all snacks consumed while donating blood or platelets is calorie-free
  • Free mini-physical - blood pressure, temperature, pulse, iron count and other blood stuff I just as soon not know about
  • Being tucked in and spoiled - blankies, heating pads, neck pillows, and more 'can I get you anything?' this side of entertaining your mother-in-law
  • Getting to watch a whole movie - and being in TOTAL CONTROL of the clicker!
  • Walking into a building where everyone knows my name - Cheers!
Ten best relatively unknown movies I've watched while donating platelets which I would not have watched otherwise (probably)
  • The Legend of 1900 - absolutely fantastic! What music!
  • Lars and the Real Girl - was I the only one who cried?
  • Starting Out in the Evening - a must for writers!
  • La Vie En Rose - possibly the best performance I have ever seen
  • The Illusionist - intriguing
  • The World's Fastest Indian - small, true story which sometimes are the best stories
  • De-Lovely - ohmygosh! Cole Porter!
  • Happy, Texas - okay, a bit goofy, but so funny!
  • Trans-America - another fantastic performance!
  • The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain - I love these smaller Brit flicks with heart!
My blood bank:

Cascade Regional Blood Services

To find your blood bank:

American Association of Blood Banks

The American Red Cross