There was a time where I thought that being an educator was enough of a contribution. Waking up at 6 o’clock in the morning to deal with snot-nosed and at times very disrespectful kids was my contribution to society. I mean, a kid threw a scissor at my head!
If that’s not community service, I don’t know what is.
But that was then. I was 22 years old and selfish. My priorities were partying, tequila, Drunk Monopoly, partying, boys, healing from heartbreak, and more boys. Now, at 34 years old, I want to help others. I want to give back. I want to motivate individuals and contribute to society just because.
On Veterans Day, I did just that.
I went down to the Jewish community Center to donate blood. I heard about the blood drive on Election Day. There was a news story about Hurricane Sandy and how there was a shortage. The Red Cross was pleading people to donate, particularly those who are universal donors due to their blood type. I happen to be a universal donor.
I don’t know if it was the excitement of Obama’s reelection, but I wrote down the information and was excited to possibly save a life. That’s why I waited an hour and a half outside yesterday, shivering from the Autumn breeze. My hands frozen. My scarf covering my nose. My body rocking from the cold. Still, I didn’t move. I was there on a mission. Besides, what was I going to do? Complain that I was cold? It seemed silly compared to the suffering that others are experiencing at the moment.
Once inside the warm bus, I completed a form, where there were a multitude of questions about my medical and travel history. The nurse then took me in to check my hemoglobin levels and review my answers.
“What country did you travel to the last year?” She asked.
“I went to the Dominican Republic last November,” I answered.
That’s when she told me I couldn’t donate blood. Apparently, I had to wait an entire year to donate since I had gone to the Dominican Republic. Other countries are also on that list. I didn’t take offense. I get it. There is a health risk.
So, I wasn’t able to donate my universal blood. Next time, I’ll do a little more research and be prepared. I tried to give and that’s what counts.