Giving the Gift of Life: Donating Blood

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Every day in the United States, 38,000 pints of blood are needed.  That's a lot of blood.  And up until recently, I haven't been able to give blood.  But today I did, and I'm very glad I did. I haven't been able to give blood until recently because I was in Europe, specifically Germany, during the big Mad Cow scare in Britain.  Because of that, a moratorium was placed on all blood donors who were in Europe during the 90's.  Not that I was sad, mind you, because I'm not very thrilled to have a massive needle stuck in my arm.  Still, it's something that is needed, particularly as I have type O blood, which is in great demand.  So I did some checking, and it seems that the moratorium is only permanent if you lived in Great Britain.  For Germany, as long as I didn't live there for longer than 5 years (and I was only there a little under 2 years), I'm clear to donate blood.  So today I went down to the blood bus, filled out the necessary forms, and let them stick me with a needle.  Within 6 minutes I was done and ready to get back to work.  Some things that made the experience great for me was being well hydrated.  I had done quite a bit of bike riding since Monday, and with the increase in exercise I'd increased my water intake.  I rarely drink soda (unless I'm at home, or need a little bit of energy), so it wasn't a problem keeping away from that.  And when I say increased my water intake, it was over the course of three days, not just the morning before I got stuck, so I was well hydrated.  As such I didn't even feel light-headed when I stood up.But the best thing about giving blood today was the coupon for a free pint of ice cream from Baskin Robbins, which I am sure will be a hit with the family.  Not only do I get to do my part to save a life, but I get to enjoy free ice cream.  That's just awesome.