29 Mar 2012

I Save Someone's Life

Submitted by Mike

The AnMed Blood Mobile at ChurchI started my Saturday by saving someone’s life. I will most likely never know who’s life I saved and it doesn’t matter to me if I don’t. I’ve done this for dozens of people, some I knew later, a few I looked them face to face while I did it, but most I will never know. Most of these people will never know me either but they will know that someone cared; cared enough saved them.

You see, I have ‘O-’ blood. I am, what is called, a “Universal Donor”. I can give blood to anyone but I, and people like me, can only receive ‘O-‘ blood so I think it is important to give blood when I can.

I never really thought about giving blood in my youth, until I went into the Navy. You see, onboard ship, there is very little blood stored. There is no room and it only has a shelf life of about 60 days. To get around this, the Navy uses what it calls “The Walking Blood Bank”. In this program, during an emergency (and drills) The Walking Blood Bank is on call to sick bay. If there is a need, members of The Walking Blood Bank are hooked up to the patient and blood is transferred. I can tell you one thing that will most certainly change your life; that is looking into the face of a person that you are hooked up to, while they are awake, and being operated on, because he just lost a leg in an accident. After one such experience, I found out that the person on the other table receiving my blood was not ‘O-‘. I asked “how many type [whatever he had, I don’t remember] blood donors had he gone through?” The answer was none; I was the second person giving to him and that all of The Walking Blood Bank members were ‘O-‘. Now, this was not the normal case. Normally, there are all types but due to the transitions that my ship was going through, there were only ‘O-‘ donors. …but I didn’t know that at the time. I was horrified. I thought “What happens in a mass causality situation and I need blood! Who will give me blood if all of the ‘O-‘ blood is used everywhere! This was an life changing moment.

My church has a blood drive a couple of times a year. Now, I always try to give. It helps my church family as we have blood assurance program that will pay for/help pay for the blood that anyone in my church needs. (Call your local blood bank for more info about setting one up for your church or organization) It also helps all of the other ‘O-‘ people out there. ...And, in an emergency, it can be used to help anyone.

If you can, go give blood. …if you received my blood, you’re welcome. I’ll make more.

P.S. For all of the Navy personnel and their families, don't be alarmed, there are all types of blood in The Walking Blood Bank. If you are in the Navy, talk to your LPO or Division Officer about being in The Walking Blood Bank. You can (and probably will) save lives.