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Give The Gift Of Life And Life Pays It Forward

, , , , , | Friendly | August 10, 2020

I have been a plasma donor for quite some time and this happens one chilly day in the fall. I have been going through a tough time emotionally and financially but I am scraping by. It has started to drizzle and I know I am low on gas, but I hope that I can at least make it to the plasma center, donate, get paid for that, and make it to the gas station just up the street.

Unfortunately, when I come out of the center, I can’t start the car due to a lack of gas. I don’t have a jacket in my car because of poor planning on my part, but I resign myself to getting the gas can out of the trunk and walking the block and a half or so to the gas station and back.

I am walking along the sidewalk rubbing my arms to try and stay warm when a car pulls up to me and the lady in the driver’s seat leans over and asks where I am heading.

Me: “I’m on my way to the gas station because my car is totally out of gas!”

I laugh at myself.

Lady: “Well, hop in and I’ll drive you over there. Just this one up the street, right?”

I’m just grateful to be getting out of the rain.

Me: “Yes, thank you so much!”

She drives me up to a gas pump as we chat. I explain that I’m hoping that I have money on my card from donating and she laughs and tells me that she understands being tight on money. I get out to pay with my donor card and find out that it’s declined and that the money hasn’t been deposited yet.

Lady: “That’s okay! I’ll just charge it for you; it’s only a couple of dollars. 

Me: “Oh, thank you, thank you! I really appreciate this!”

I get my gas can filled and we head back to my car. We chat more on the way over and she promises to wait to make sure my car starts. As I start to get out, she hands me $40 and I am shocked and humbly accept the money. I get out and put the gas in. I climb into the driver’s seat and cross my fingers, hoping the car will start. I turn the key and voila! The engine turns over and I pump my fists in the air! I run back over to the lady’s car.

Me: “It worked! Thank you so much for saving me from walking in the cold!”

Lady: “I’m so glad!”

She reaches out her hand, and I reach back thinking she just wants to shake my hand. Suddenly, I feel a paper being slipped into my hand. I open it up to find a $100 bill. I begin stammering about how I can’t possibly accept this much from her and she just smiles.

Lady: “It’s okay; I just had that in my wallet. You need it more than I do and I hope you find some way to pay it back to someone in need one day.”

She drove off and I numbly walked back to my car and closed the door. It was not long before the numbness wore off and I began crying. I was able to fill my car and buy food with the money she gave me. I firmly believe that the lady who helped me three years ago was sent by something — be it fate, God, or just sheer dumb luck — to help get me through a rough time in my life and remind me that there are still good people in the world.

This story is part of our feel-good roundup for August 2020!

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Read the feel-good August 2020 roundup!

Nancy The Needler Strikes Again!

, , | Healthy | March 4, 2020

(While I am very squeamish about needles, I like to give blood often because I am a universal donor. I have family that have needed transfusions, so I like to donate in honor of the people who have helped them. Volunteers are usually very nice and ease my needle anxiety throughout the process. Not this time, though.)

Volunteer: “Lay down here.”

Me: “Okay. Just so you know, I’m kind of scared of needles. It would really help if you could just count down before you prick me.”

Volunteer: “No. I’m not doing that. Lay down.”

Me: *getting nervous now* “Wait. Why can’t you just count down to let me know when you’re putting the needle in?”

Volunteer: “You’re a big girl; suck it up.”

(She grabs my arm and quickly uses a wipe to disinfect the area. I’m a wreck, so I jump when she does this, even though I’m not in pain. I’m just so anxious about this needle now.)

Volunteer: “You can’t jump like that when I put the needle in! I’ll have to do it over if you jump like that!”

Me: “I won’t jump if you just count down or let me know when you’re putting it in!”

(I’m shaking at this point and close to hyperventilating.)

Volunteer: “What’s the point of giving blood if you’re going to be so jumpy?!”

(Eventually, I calm down enough for her to prick my arm quickly. A few months later, I’m giving blood again and am relaying this story to another volunteer, who was kind enough to count down before putting the needle in.)

Nice Volunteer: “Was she skinny, tall, dark hair…?”

Me: “Yes! That was her!”

Nice Volunteer: “Oh, that was Nancy. We got a lot of complaints about her. She doesn’t come to blood drives anymore”

(Thankfully, I never saw her again.)

We’ve Heard Of Child Soldiers, But That’s Ridiculous

, , , , | Healthy | March 3, 2020

(It’s circa 2009 and there is a blood drive going on at our school. I am sitting with a worker, doing the health screening questionnaire to rule out anything that would disqualify my blood. There are some questions that definitely shouldn’t apply, such as whether or not I’ve been in various parts of the world a decade before I was born, but I understand they need to be asked. Then, we get here:)

Worker: “Between 1988 and 1995, were you in the military or the dependent of someone in the military?”

Me: “Yes.”

(There’s a long pause.)

Worker: “So… you were a dependent?”

Me: *pause* “Yes.”

(Granted, I could have been more specific. But given that this blood drive was being held at a college, primarily with young adults who had only reached the age of conscription in the last five years, AND given that she had my birthdate of 1990 right in front of her on my paperwork… I didn’t think I needed to!)

Too Hot-Blooded To Donate

, , , , | Right | March 2, 2020

(I am between jobs and donating plasma for some extra cash. The majority of people there are not exactly financially very well off. Before you can donate you have to go through a series of tests and questionnaires to ensure you are healthy enough to donate. I’m sitting in the waiting room when an older man storms out from one of the exam rooms.)

Man: “I don’t understand why you are forcing me to go through all of this nonsense! Just hook me up and get on with it!”

Nurse: “Sir, please calm down. Everyone has to go through these—”

Man: “This is no way to run a business! I’ll have you know that I own and run several very successful businesses and would never treat someone who came in like this! Now, are we going to skip this nonsense or are you losing a customer?!”

Nurse: “I’m sorry, sir, but…”

Man: “That’s it! I’m out of here! This is no way to run a business, and I would know!”

(The man begins to storm out past me.)

Me: “Those businesses of yours must not be all that successful if you’re in here selling your blood with the rest of us.”

(The man stared at me, red-faced, for a moment before shoving the door open and storming into the parking lot.)

Happens All The Bloody Time

, , , , | Healthy | October 5, 2019

(I donate blood about every two months, provided that I’m healthy enough to do so. One thing the blood bank screens for is anemia: my hematocrit has to be 38 or higher to donate and not become anemic from it. Hematocrit in the low 30s is anemic; around mid-20s you’d probably need a transfusion yourself. But some time in the last eight weeks, the blood bank switched to testing hemoglobin instead, the minimum donation number for which is 12.5. I didn’t know it was a new test.)

Phlebotomist: “Okay, your temperature, blood pressure, and pulse look good. Let’s test your iron.” *pricks my finger, takes a few drops of blood, and puts them in the tester* “You’re testing at 12.6.”

Me: “My hematocrit is 12.6? Should I go to the hospital?”

Phlebotomist: “What? Why? Oh! No, your hemoglobin is 12.6, which for our purposes is equivalent to a 39 hematocrit. You’re fine to donate. If you had a 12.6 hematocrit, you’d be unconscious at least. I’d be calling an ambulance… or a hearse.”

This story is part of our Blood Donation roundup!

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