Friday, October 20, 2000

You see, I have always been healthy, and so has my family. I just never gave it a second thought. The representatives from many of the volunteer groups call occasionally asking me to donate. I just did not seem to be able to find the time. From this day on, I have made a commitment to always give blood to these organizations.

Eight weeks ago I was sitting at home reading the newspaper. I received a phone call that every middle aged child never wants to hear. Your father is in the hospital and will be having open-heart surgery in two days-valve replacement with a bypass. I flew down to McAllen, Texas to be with him. I could see the concern on what has always been a very strong face. He was scared, and we all shared his fear with him. This would prove to be the greatest fight of his life.

When the surgery was over we were informed that they could not stop the bleeding. For some reason he had a reaction to a drug that reverses the thinning process necessary for heart surgery. They were catching his own blood and would recirculate it directly back into him. For the next 12 hours he was also given over 30 units of blood and nearly 40 units of platelets from the blood bank. We were told later that they had exhausted the supply of platelets that was available to them. The doctors and nurses were finally able to control the bleeding. Today he is home and working toward a full recovery.

Thanks to the people that took the time to donate blood, our father is still with us today. The people who take the time to donate blood and platelets are not selfish people. Those people in Texas will not know that it took over 50 of them to help save our father.

You never know when an emergency will strike a loved one in your family. Please help keep the blood banks full. It is such a small inconvenience that could mean life or death for someone you know. Take the time to give the gift of life.

Doug Harjes

Polk City