Superheroes Say: Give Blood for the Holidays!

Christmas-Ad-07-PinterestThis is a short post, because I donated blood recently and now I have to take a nap.  See how great it is to be a blood donor?  You get cookies!  You are instructed to “eat a hearty meal”!  You are instructed to avoid strenuous activity!  Interpreting this generously means the family gets pizza tonight and I don’t have to do any dishes and I’m napping.  Whee!

Why is it so important to donate during the holidays?  During the holidays, the need for blood often increases as more people travel and there are more accidents.  Meanwhile, illnesses and traumas that cause people to need blood continue at a steady pace. But fewer people donate during the holidays.  People get  busy and people get sick.  Here’s a few reasons to make time to donate blood during your holiday schedule:

1.  You can save up to three lives with your donations (one adult, three babies).  Not bad work for a lunch hour.

2.  You can save these lives while lying down and drinking juice, which is surely the easiest and most comfortable way to save a life possible.

3.  The life you save may be your own.  I had several blood transfusions as a child.  My aunt, my father-in-law, and my cousin have all had blood transfusions.  I can personally attest to what a huge difference blood donors make to the world.

4.  Donating blood is a geeky thing!  Here’s some trivia for you:

  • Spock had T-negative blood
  • According to Batman:  The Animated Series, Mr. Freeze’s wife and Batgirl have the same blood type (as seen in “Batman and Mr. Freeze:  Sub Zero”)
  • The first appearance of “Superwoman” in comics was when Lois Lane gained superpowers after receiving a blood transfusion from superman.  But it turned out to be a dream.
  • She-Hulk got her powers after getting a blood transfusion from Bruce Banner
  • Deadpool got his powers from Wolverine’s blood
  • And of course who can forget the healing powers of Harrison’s blood in Star Trek:  Into Darkness!

Review of Blood Work: A Tale of Medicine and Murder, by Holly Tucker

Cover of Blood WorkI’m due to donate blood again this week (yay?).  In honor of the fact that I can save a life during my lunch hour and get a cookie for it, I read the non-fiction book, Blood Work.  Guys, this book is so, so gross – but it’s also so, so good!

This book tells the story of the first blood transfusion experiments, in England and in France (most of this book involves France) in the seventeenth century.  It centers around the efforts of Jean-Baptiste Denis to successfully transfuse blood between animals of the same species, and then from animals to humans.  When Denis attempts to cure  Antoine Mauory of insanity, and Mauroy dies, Denis finds himself involved in a murder trial that determines the future of blood transfusion experiments for the next one hundred and fifty years.

I love books that tell me something about history and/or science in an entertaining and accessible way, this book fit the bill perfectly.  It’s amazing how many things find their way into this book – realistic automatons, philosophy, a pirate doctor (!), domestic violence, the Plague, the Great Fire of London, politics, dungeons, wars, mythology, science, and lots and lots of intrigue.  The steampunk crowd needs to check out the possibilities of expanding from the Victorian Era backwards into the seventeenth-century – it was an insane time and one in which science was a fad among the rich.  The framework of the murder mystery keeps the book moving quickly despite the large amount of information being conveyed.

You need to know that this book is page after page of horrific cruelty towards animals and not a little cruelty towards humans.  I was too fascinated by the story to be depressed – but not too fascinated to be appalled.  This was the age of dissection and vivisection, a common belief that animals could not suffer and had no souls, and horrific treatment of women, the poor, and the insane.  The book does not shy away from describing these horrors.

The last sentence of the book says, “Transfusion has become a gold standard in treating a broad range of illnesses and injuries, from chronic anemia to blood loss from trauma and surgery – so much so that it is impossible to tally the number of lives that have been saved or improved by the procedure.”  One of those lives has been mine, and I’m very grateful to those who donated blood for me back in my medically turbulent childhood days.  If you’d like to donate blood, check out these sites to get information, find a blood drive, or make an appointment:

The American Red Cross


BTW, if you live in California and you donate through Bloodsource this summer, you can get a free ticket to the California State Fair.  Bonus!

Donate Blood: Save a Life on Your Lunch Hour

Real heroes donate blood – not just when disasters strike, but every eight weeks, health permitting.  My thanks go out to Bloodsource, which has centers with fairly reasonable hours all over the country and sends me a reminder call when I’m eligible to donate again.  My heart is in the right place, both literally and metaphorically, but without that call I’m sure I’d never remember to go out there and get the job done.

Whenever there’s a disaster, whether human-made or natural, a lot of people rush to donate.  According to the Red Cross, Boston has plenty of donated blood right now, so if you are in that area, consider waiting a couple of weeks and then donating to replenish their supply.  According to my bank here in Sacramento, they immediately shipped blood to Boston when the explosions happened, so they are low and want me to come in this week.  I’d suggest you check with your local center to see if they need donations this week or if they’d rather have you come in towards the end of the month.  Most importantly, if your help permits, make this a regular part of your schedule.  Our hospitals need blood supplies all the time, not just in moments of national crisis.

Science fiction has conclusively shown that donating blood is heroic, but characters sure go about it in some odd ways.  Here’s three shout outs to blood transfusions in sci-fi:

Most bizarre technology:  Thanks to a tip from Sun, Jack performs a blood transfusion on Boone using a sea urchin spike for a needle in Lost:  “Do No Harm”.  Sun, you are a total badass for coming up with a way to perform an intravenous procedure using sea life, but don’t try this at home.

Most unbelievable cure for vampirism:  A veterinarian performs a complete blood transfusion (two, actually), in his garage, in Near Dark.  Long before she was collecting Oscars, Kathryn Bigelow made this movie about vampires who are truly scary.  It’s a great movie overall, but its finest moment is most certainly NOT a bleary Adrian Pasdar drawling, “Daddy, y’ever transfuse a person?”  Look at these far more interesting characters from the same movie – they can’t believe it either:

cast of Near Dark


Most touching blood donation:  Wash donates blood to Mal in Firefly:  “Out of Gas”.  Mal:  “Y’all gonna be here when I wake up?”  Yep, we’ll be here long after Fox tries to take away our Jayne hats.