By Hani Hamdan, Engage Minnesota
New Year’s resolutions frequently seem to involve putting an end to an embarrassing aspect of one’s life. I am no exception and I have a long list of resolutions for many new years to come. I need to eat healthier, because it is embarrassing that I seem to consume more cheese than water. I need to exercise more because I’m embarrassed that my only physical activity seems to be walking to and from the car. I need to watch less TV because, let’s face it, I can never be as cool as Horatio. His deadly combination of red hair and trendy shades oozes with can’t-be-like-me-ness.
I can also live with a little less sarcasm.
But this year I’m embarrassed about something I should have been embarrassed about before but never was, and that embarrasses me. Long story short, a few weeks ago I realized that I had never donated blood. Ever. I’m a healthy man and I have worked in the operating room and seen how important a pint of blood can be to a person’s life. So to feel better about myself, I decided to donate blood.
I went online and searched for places to donate. I called the American Red Cross and scheduled an appointment, conveniently on a Saturday. They told me on the phone to drink lots of fluids before arriving and to have a good breakfast. They also told me to stay away from tea and coffee until I donate because they prevent my body from absorbing iron from food. I did as I was told and came to the blood drive in Eagan ‘s public library.
Registration was inside the library. I was told to read a brochure that discusses who can and cannot donate. I finished reading it and was told to head out to the mobile unit where the donation took place. In the unit, a nurse asked me a few questions about my medical history, took a drop of blood for blood typing, and checked my blood pressure. Then I was shown to a more comfortable chair to start the draw. The actual blood draw took less then 15 minutes. Everyone was nice and the atmosphere was that of casual fun and small talk. They thanked me and gave me juice, cookies, and a coupon for ice cream.
I felt no dizziness or weakness during or after the donation. I resumed my day like nothing had happened, only with the soothing feeling of being a good Samaritan.
A few weeks later I received a “thank you” letter from the America Red Cross saying that my one pint of donated blood helped save the lives of three people. I was reminded of the verse “..and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind” [Quran, 5:32]. It is truly a great and easy opportunity for a charity that brings enormous reward from God.
My New Year’s resolution is to be a regular blood donor. I hope you can make time in your schedules for a blood donation.