Sunday, January 8, 2012

Soldier Field welcomes back fans

Readers of this blog (and you know who you are) know that I like professional football, especially the Chicago Bears, and that I donate blood regularly.  Yesterday I was presented with a stellar opportunity to donate blood at Soldier Field and not have to pay for parking.  There would be members of the 1985 Bears present, signing autographs and posing for pictures.  Yes, of course I went.

Because I am not a perfect human, I'd made an appointment to donate blood at 8 a.m. at my local donation location, then made breakfast plans with my friend at 8:30, having forgotten about the donation.  I was planning to go to the donation center and apologize for the mistake when I saw a news item about the Soldier Field event.  Even if I'd not messed up the appointment time, I would've blown off the local center and gone downtown.  Yes, I did go to the center.  Yes, I did apologize.  Yes, the very nice person she didn't blame me for wanting to go to the remote location.

What a glorious day!  January temperatures in the 40s!  Blue sky!  A light breeze off the lake!  FREE PARKING AT SOLDIER FIELD!!  I had to shell out $19 for parking when I attended the Bears Expo in the spring.

While I am a regular donor, I am occasionally rejected for low iron.  They usually have to stick me twice to get an accurate reading.  I eat meat and leafy green veggies, eggs and beans, so I am always stumped when I am sent packing, but it happens about every other year.  Naturally, yesterday was the day it happened.

I hate having my finger stuck more than anything and while the first technician did a pretty good job of it, the second one was a lovely sadist whose roughness yielded a small bruise.  (I see the cut-and-bruise thing about once a year.)  I advised the first technician this might happen so she said, "Oh, hey, you were right," when I didn't pass the first time.  I didn't want to be right;  I just wanted to donate blood because it's important.  "If you want snacks, please have a seat and help yourself," the technicians said.

Snacks are for blood donors.  I don't partake of the white cheddar popcorn and apple juice unless I have donated.  My life is otherwise devoid of white cheddar popcorn.  (It's either the WC popcorn or cheese and crackers, peanut butter and crackers, or pretzels.  One can also have mystery orange juice and apple-raspberry juice.  One wants none of those as one likes her post-donation routine.)  You will never see me fail the donation and then tucking into something crunchy because I feel at that point I should just leave.  I have nothing to contribute so I don't get any benefit.

Shaun Gayle, looking fine
Still, I had to break my rule because checking out some of the 1985 Chicago Bears was a non-edible treat and, frankly, my reason for driving downtown.  I joined a group that went down to the visiting team locker room where we met Michael Richardson and Shaun Gayle, sitting at a table, signing pictures and having their photos taken with fans.  They were looking good and were as sweet as pie to all of the fans who were also very sweet and polite.  It was really a great thing:  1985 Bears being nice to nice people who'd taken time out of their busy lives to donate blood and meet their heroes, even if said nice people had failed due to a day of low iron.

As I was heading to my car, I signed up to be a marrow donor.  I could be still be rejected but I'd like to help.

I can't say it enough:  If you are able, donate blood and sign up to be a marrow donor.  If you or a loved one needed either, you'd be relieved to have them.

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