Be nice, give blood

NEEDLES ARE NEEDLES
I’ve got a co-worker, Catherine, who won’t get a flu shot, so I was especially intrigued this afternoon when I saw her making a donation at the Red Cross/Tribune blood drive. Fascinating, I thought, because I assumed that perhaps she was fearful of needles. But no. Miss Martin is simply opposed to getting a flu shot; she’s sure that her young’ish immune system will ward off influenza and its many incarnations. However, I tried to convince her that we get the flu shot for the people we love, not for ourselves. While she might not get sick because of her (hypothetically) superior immune system, she can still carry the “bug” to, oh, an immune-compromised grandmother or a small child.

The guilt trip didn’t work. So instead I told her that the size of the needle they used to drain a pint of our blood was waaaaaay bigger than the needle that injects influenza vaccine. That made her face get a funny yet queezy look.

YEAH, ONE MORE THING
I was in the pre-jab position on the blood drive bed (it’s more of a chaise lounge) as the above-mentioned co-worker slipped off her bed and headed for the delightful blood drive snacks. As Catherine passed, I asked her to sing “Soft Kitty.” She didn’t, but I think she understood the reference.

When my pint-sized donation was finished, the blood tech who got the life-giving liquid flowing from my arm with one stick –kudos to Olivia for that — asked if I needed anything. I replied, “Will you sing ‘Soft Kitty?'” She didn’t.

So here’s “Soft Kitty” for everyone.

REVIEW
One more thing to think about. We have the technology to produce vaccine to ward off influenza. (Although not 100 percent “guaranteed” to keep you from getting the flu, it does an amazing job of averting potential pandemic outbreaks.) By some estimates, influenza has killed more people throughout human history than any other disease. It was the ninth leading cause of death in the United States in 2010.

By contrast, science and medicine cannot produce a synthetic product to replace blood. The only place where blood is “manufactured” is in our bodies.

Be nice, give blood.

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Filed under A reporter's life, MIP: Memoir-in-progress

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