My attempt at donating blood at Good Samaritan Hospital on Tuesday was as successful as a sunrise sneaking past a rooster.
The New York Blood Center bus set up shop in the middle of the visitor parking lot from 10 a.m.- 6 p.m., inviting anyone who was willing (and eligible) to offer up a pint for someone in need.
Nancy Rogers, a phlebotomist from Port Jefferson Station, was one of the few workers onboard when Patch went for a visit just before noon. She said she has worked on the bus and for her company, Donor Specialist, for almost six years.
"It's been kind of slow, but they do employee blood drives here at Good Samaritan hospital very, very often," she said. "It's one of our largest accounts."
The blood bus travels to a different site everyday. Rogers said it'll travel to hospitals, businesses, and even personal homes. She said there were many benefits of donating blood, and not all geared toward the receiver.
"It's beneficial for people to donate it, a man especially, because it drops down your red blood cell count," she said. "We can't create an artificial blood, or an artificial plasma so we have to get it from people to donate for cancer patients, accident victims, surgery patients, to name a few."
The red blood cell count is also your iron count. And according to Kristie Long, M.D. of AssociatedContent.com, donating blood removes some of the excess iron which can cause free radical formation in the body.
"Studies have also shown that men who donate blood on a regular basis have a lower risk of heart disease," Leong says.
The recent tattoo on the upper portion of my right arm denied any chance I'd have at making a donation, as I found out. The FDA restricts a donation from anyone who has gotten a tattoo within 12 months of the particular time of the drive. However, oreo cookies and apple juice were a friendly consolation prize.
Elaine Gugler, 50, of West Islip, was at Good Samaritan filling out the proper forms required to go through with the procedure. It's become a familiar process for Grugler, who has been donating blood since she was 18.
"I've been doing this for a long time now," she said. "Whenever I hear of a drive going on, I'll usually make a donation."
Gugler said there are frequent drives at schools in the neighborhood and the 20-minute-or-so process is well worth it.
"Knowing that there's usually a shortage in supply...I like to contribute and help out the people who really need it," she said.