A Blood Drive Expert #sol2015 Day 13

I got so busy with teaching, a grad class, and a diy project that not writing one day turned into almost a week! 

Today was my 18th and final Student Council sponsored Red Cross blood drive. After nine years as the Stuco adviser, I have resigned (effective at the end of the school year) because my younger son I graduating from the same high school, and I just cannot get excited about planning one more homecoming or prom.

I knew when I took over the council that I would have to supervise my students working at a blood drive once each semester. I had no idea what that really meant or what I would learn in nine years.

I consider my real job at the blood drive to be bouncer–I run the kids out that have spent too much time at snack table or who appear to be wandering wore no real intention of donating. And I’m pretty proud of the fact that the nurses thank me for running a right ship and that the majority of high schoolers know that they won’t get away with sneaking into my blood drive.

My other official job is to motivate my members to work–we have an army at school 30 minutes early to unload the trucks and set up the gym. This same army reappears at the end of the day to break down.

But I have learned more about the myriad aspect of blood drives than any English teacher should. I send students to the cafeteria to get breakfast or lunch before donating to avoid passing out. I know that the shorter the girl, the more she has to weigh (ages 19 and under) to again make sure it’s a positive experience. I know that the heat in the gym absolutely must be turned off, even in winter, but that the exhaust fans must be turned on to keep the temperature cool (and prevent the passing out).

I know the different shapes of pale that morph into waxy to determine who can go back to class, who should wait a little longer, and whose parents I should call to send them home. I know that drinking lots of water should prevent clotting during the donation. I know that if a pint is collected but then clotting occurs, then we have to ask a donor for permission to stick their other arm to fill the testing vials.

I have held the hand of the toughest girl on school, the most athletic boy, and the most scared teenager. I have locked eyes with a student or jabbered about the most inane topics to keep them focused on me and not on the needle. And I have dealt with a student worker having a full-blown panic attack, and a student donor who had the strangest reaction to donating that I can only describe as intermittent catatonic. 

And while not every donation was successful or positive, I think I’ve done my job well. Each school year we collect between 170 and 200 units of blood. And some alumni come back to donate during a high school drive just to let me know that they are still donating.

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2 responses to “A Blood Drive Expert #sol2015 Day 13

  1. WOW. I gave blood for many years but never have I been on the other side. You certainly remind us ALL that there is lots that goes on behind the vials of blood. I suspect you must run not only a tight ship, you have a heart the size of the gym.

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  2. I love the line, “I know the different shapes of pale that morph into waxy to determine who can go back to class…” and I laughed out loud because it paints such a vivid picture. When you get to the specifics about what you know now, it implies that you’ve probably learned these things the hard way, which adds to the depth in this story. And when you describe the relationships with those stereotypical high school students, it gives this post universal appeal. Glad to have you back in the #sol15 mix!

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