By Christy Peters, American Red Cross Regional Communications Manager
I haven’t spent much time in casinos, but I’ve heard many of them have no clocks or windows visible, on purpose. With no concept of hours passing, much less whether it’s day or night, it’s much easier to part with one’s money. I recently discovered another, much less fun place where time flies by but also stands completely still – a hospital waiting room.
A week ago, my father underwent open heart surgery to replace his mitral valve. My father is
very healthy and has never had major health issues, so it was difficult to wrap my head around him having such a major surgery. As we waited with him before he was taken to the operating room, he mentioned that he was asked by the nurse if he would take a blood transfusion, should the need arise during his surgery. He found it ironic, since his daughter works for the American Red Cross. All I could think of was the number of times I’d told someone “You never know when someone you love may need a blood transfusion.”
The winter months are always a difficult time for the Red Cross to collect blood. That difficulty increases when you consider the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is predicting a serious spread of flu, already reporting an early spike in cases in several states. When seasonal illnesses increase, the number of healthy donors tends to decrease, leaving the Red Cross blood supply vulnerable to a potential shortage over the holidays. Donors − especially those with type O blood and those giving platelets − can help bolster the blood supply now by making an appointment to give in the coming weeks.
Thankfully, my father’s surgery was a complete success, and he didn’t need a transfusion. I know that is not always the case. My dad was one of hundreds of patients going into surgery that day, many probably facing a procedure more complicated than his. And I was one of hundreds of daughters, sons, wives and husbands hoping that, if the need arose, blood would be available for the person I love. Available because a stranger I didn’t know took an hour out of their day to give blood. So, to all of you who give and will give, thank you. You each make the long wait in a hospital a little easier for families like mine.