Wednesday 2 September 2009

The Irony of Life

I gave blood for the first time today. I have been meaning too for a while, but as with many of our intentions they never come to fruition or they take a long time! A year ago my husband received a blood transfusion. At that point I vowed that I would give blood. It has taken me a while but I got there eventually. I was booked in to do so a few weeks ago, but my husband was rushed into hospital so I had to cancel. I rebooked for today. It always makes me smile when life's situations create coincidences that have a certain irony! I knew last week that my husband was going to be in hospital today but I did not find out until late yesterday that he would be having 3 units of blood transfused. So there I was laying on my bed as a virginal blood donor whilst my husband lay in his hospital bed several miles away receiving his blood. His transfusion will give him the strength he needs to start his next round of treatment and fight on. Did you know that one unit of blood can save 3 lives? I read that somewhere this evening. I just want to give back and contribute to the gift that my husband has received from some kind and unknown individual somewhere.

You see we could all need blood at some point. It is natural for us to always think things happen to other people. To associate transfusions with life-threatening accidents and surgery and avoid thinking that the need for someone else's blood could possibly apply to our own lives or those of the loved ones around us. But we never know what life holds. I can vouch for that.

Nearly everyone I spoke to today had a story, a reason as to why they were there. Mostly it was due to a loved one receiving a transfusion, a newly born child, a family member with cancer, a friend who had major surgery or someone they know having a life-saving transfusion following a bad accident. Whatever the reason they were mostly there because there was some event or person in their life that had suffered, needed blood and they recognised what the gift of blood can do. The same applies to me. As humans we often need an emotional catalyst to spurn us into action. It is not that we don't care, its just that until such things touch our own lives we tend to plod on blissfully unaware of the need.

My husband has obviously not received my blood today - he is a different blood group anyhow! But in some small way I feel like I have given back what has been used for him today. I will be a loyal and regular donor. Yes I have an aching and bruised arm but someone somewhere will benefit tremendously. So if you have never been a blood donor and are fit and able please give it some thought, you could truly be giving the gift of life to someone somewhere when they desperately need it.

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