Editor’s note: Blood centers around the state are facing a decrease in blood donation appointments and cancellation of blood drives. Now that non-emergency surgeries are resuming, the need for blood is becoming critical. Click here for the Champaign-Urbana blood donor center; if located outside Champaign-Urbana, check out http://bit.ly/39XcocN to find a donor center near you. Don’t forget to wear your mask!
by Jill Gengler
On a normal day (remember those), I used to spend time reading gossip blogs while getting ready in the morning because I wouldn’t want anything too heavy before the day got started.
I would peek at news sites throughout the workday, but not click on anything too long because that wouldn’t be fair to my employer. I’d listen to the news on the radio while making dinner, but would turn it off as soon as the stories became “too depressing.” I’d pick up the paper at dinner (yes, I still get the paper and I still treat it as an evening paper as the universe intended it to be), but only read the stories about people or places that immediately affected my life.
But here we are today. My husband wakes up before I do and I ask him what’s changed overnight. My gossip blogs are forgotten while I move between news sites for updates and insights.
I find myself hunting for news updates on the radio, although this week’s This American Life entitled “The Low Hum of Menace” was a bit too much for my anxious state.
I had a similar reaction to 9/11; I inhaled the news. I needed to know what was happening in New York, in Pennsylvania, in Washington because I felt so scared by the events and so worried for my fellow citizens. I remember seeing the people of New York lining up to donate blood in the hope that it would make a difference and they could save someone, that they could make a real difference, and they could feel like they mattered.
While that sad chapter of our nation’s history did not allow us to help the people who were lost that day, we are now faced with a new challenge.
And this time, donating blood is something that can really help. Blood drives are being canceled across the country, meaning there are thousands of donations that just aren’t happening.
Given the demands our health care infrastructure is about to face, it is imperative that eligible donors get in now while they are healthy in order to build up the blood supply.
This is a real thing we can do to help, at a time when helplessness is threatening to overwhelm so many of us.
I made an appointment over the weekend to go to Community Blood Centers of Illinois. The online appointment system was as easy to use as you would hope and there were plenty of time slots for me to choose from.
I went in early Monday morning and was in and out in an hour and a half (that included time for me to consume multiple snacks, in the interest of my own good health of course).
The staff were kind and supportive, and very professional (especially when I apparently started to look a little green around the gills because I am a delicate, delicate flower).
Think of it this way: donating blood is a legitimate reason to leave your house and have some time to yourself in this very unsettling time.
The chairs are comfy, there are snacks, and probably best of all: there are no news stations on in the center.
Jill Gengler is a Champaign mom of three. This is her first article for chambanamoms, and we hope it’s not the last.