“milk on glass” by Frank Luca on Unsplash

The sheet was divided into two sections. I printed my name under the walk-in heading because I hadn’t scheduled an appointment.

A patient could be forced to pass up a lifesaving organ, if compatible blood is not available to support the transplant.

“Can you pull up your sleeves on both arms?” he asked.

We made small talk while he took my vitals. Eric used a square of gauze to soak up a couple of beads of blood from my finger before collecting a tiny sample. Donors have to pass an iron test before they’ll let you donate. The prick was painless — it’s the noise that gets me — kinda like the puff of air they blow in your eye at the optometrist’s office. Temperature: 98.0 Pulse:55 Blood Pressure: 115/76 Hemoglobin 14.7 — that’s good!

The number one reason blood donors say they give is because they “want to help others.”

Shortages of all blood types happen during the summer and winter holidays.

“Every other time I come in, there are Westerns on,” I replied.

“Oh — that’s Sandy. She loves…hmmm…I’ll call it classic TV. Westerns, Andy Griffith, Leave It To Beaver”

“She’s not here today?”

“Left about an hour ago.”

There is no substitute for human blood.

If only one more percent of all Americans would give blood, blood shortages would disappear for the foreseeable future.

After donating blood, you replace the fluid in hours and the red blood cells within four weeks. It takes eight weeks to restore the iron lost after donating.

One pint of blood can save up to three lives.

One unit of whole blood is roughly the equivalent of one pint.

Four easy steps to donate blood: medical history, quick physical, donation and snacks.

Blood donation. It’s about an hour of your time. It’s About Life.