I have my own blood donor story for today. It began on a quiet weekend in early October, 2000. I had been working part-time in a bookstore at a large suburban mall for several years. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday evenings, and 10 AM to 6 PM on Saturdays.
I ate lunch Saturday in the Food Court, where I was unlucky enough to eat a meal contaminated with Salmonella, a serious form of food poisoning. I learned from good old Wikipedia that: “A recent analysis of death certificates in the United States identified a total of 1,316 Salmonella-related deaths between the years 1990 to 2006.”
I felt increasingly ill as the weekend went on. A friend came over to check on me and fixed some soup. She said later that I had seemed disoriented, but I don’t remember. The next morning, Monday, I awoke to very severe abdominal pain. I immediately took two ibuprofen, and an hour later I took two more, but the pain was intense. I called my doctor, who told me to go to the hospital. I could barely walk so a family member who lived nearby drove me.
We went to the Emergency Room and soon after I lost consciousness. My memories of Monday are confused and sketchy. There were tests and there was pain. They weren’t sure what was happening to me. They knew I was bleeding internally but not why. I kept losing consciousness, and blood, and they kept giving me more.
I spent the night in ICU and early the next morning, while the nurse was holding me up so the doctor could examine me, the dam burst. Or rather, the aneurysm in my abdomen did. They rushed me into an operating room where they worked on me for four hours, all the while replacing pint after precious pint of my blood. My doctor said later it had taken eleven pints of blood altogether. She also told me if I had not had so many people praying for me I would have died.
Over the years I have donated blood many times, and it has always been my hope that I could help someone else the way I was helped. I will also tell you that, without the love and the sacrifice of the eleven people whose blood now courses through my veins, I would not be here today to tell you my story of survival. I and my family are eternally thankful for their gift.
Wouldn’t you like to give this wonderful gift of life to another family?