Saturday, February 21, 2004
When I was in college I donated blood for the first time. It didn't hurt much, but my right arm had a large black-and-blue bruise for over a week. I made excuses not to go again. Apart from donating my "safe" O-positive blood to support surgery on my children, I didn't roll up my sleeve for over 20 years. When the war in Iraq began almost one year ago, I was shamed by the knowledge of others' enormous sacrifice to resume making this very small contribution to the community.
The need is great: last month there was less than a one-day supply in the Bay Area, and many non-critical medical procedures were put on hold. Only 4 percent of the local population donates blood, while 60 percent are eligible to give.
Today I went to the blood center in Burlingame. Although some find the questions to be intrusive, on this occasion I feel a small sense of satisfaction that my life has been remarkably unremarkable [no intravenous drug use, no promiscuous sex, no travel to Asia (SARS), Africa (AIDS), or the U.K. (mad cow)]. And the technicians seem to know what they're doing because I don't bruise anymore. © 2004 Stephen Yuen
Myrna closes up the facility at 3 o'clock on Saturdays. About 50 donors showed up today.