The Curse of Less Than Zero (O-)
I've got less than zero. I've had less than zero all my life. In fact, I was born with less than zero. I've tried giving it away, but it always comes back. You'd think that something like this – oh so negative – would be difficult to give away, but anyone can take it. In fact, the more dire the emergency, the more valuable it becomes.
I'm talking about blood. I'm O negative along with about 7% of the population. Anyone can use my blood if needed, but I can only take blood from another O negative donor. That's the curse. Last week, I was informed that I was about to donate my 150th pint. That's a quart shy of 19 gallons. It went pretty much like the other 149 times – noneventful.
To find out more, go to http://www.redcrossblood.org. You can even find a convenient location and make an appointment. Once there, they check you in and give you a pamphlet to read. Then, they give you a mini exam and ask you to answer questions (in private on a computer) about your history and medications. If you meet their requirements, you sign a form and get escorted to a donation chair. They then sanitize your arm, stick a needle in and out flows the blood. (If you're squeamish about needles, you don't need to look.) Afterwards, you walk over to the post donation area to drink some juice and eat some cookies.
I'm not posting this to toot my own horn. The phlebotomist told me that only about 1/7 of the O negative people actually donate. She didn't know if that was regularly donate or have ever donated. If you have the same cursed blood type and haven't donated, you really should consider doing so. We universal donors need to rely on others with the same type. If you don't know your blood type, this is a good way to find out. As long as you meet their minimum requirements, they'll gladly take any type of blood.
When you go, tell them Grover sent you.
I just got back from donating my 151st pint – uneventful as the others. The staff told me that during summer, the regular donors aren't as likely to be available. This is one of the busiest travel weekends and unfortunately has a larger than usual share of accidents.
The red cross will take anyone's blood as long as it is deemed safe. They have stringent rules to keep the blood supply safe (as you would hope.) As long as you meet the criteria, you are eligible. If you have any questions, go to their website http://www.redcrossblood.org.
If you don't know your blood type, you can donate a pint and they'll tell you. Believe me, it will come back.
I just donated my 152nd pint today. That is 19 gallons. The donation itself was uneventful, but I did something different this time. I had lots of green beans in the garden and picked just under 30 lbs (3 plastic grocery bags) to give to the people at the Red Cross. The volunteer at the front desk told me she lived in an apartment complex with low income seniors. She asked me if she could share a bag with them. I said, "that would be great."
Word spread quickly and the other 2 bags were quickly divvied up. Seems like everyone had a story from their youth about green beans. The phlebotomist (self described "blood sucker") told me how she would pick beans with her grandmother. I could see her waltzing down memory lane. I enjoyed watching.
If you haven't given blood to the Red Cross, please consider doing so. Your gift is the life blood of the community (literally.)
I just donated my 153rd pint today. The donation was uneventful. The Red Cross is trying to streamline their process and make the donator screening questions available on the web. It should be available by year end. The questions can be answered any time within a day of the donation. That should shave about 10 minutes out of the office process.
If you haven't given blood to the Red Cross, please consider doing so. They'll take all blood types, but their favorite color is red.
This is getting tedious. Listen really hard and you'll hear the sound of one hand clapping. Believe it or not, January is "National Volunteer Blood Donor Month." I don't know why they singled out January. Blood is needed throughout the year. I liken it to the ubiquitous mattress sales – hurry! Sale ends Sunday! When aren't mattresses on sale?
The Red Cross is trying to keep a safe and adequate blood supply at all times. They need donors who are willing to part with a pint, but they need to minimize the risk of collecting infected blood. They have determined that certain behaviors, travel histories, and medical prescriptions aren't conducive to a safe blood supply. They haven't gotten the questions on a web page yet. The volunteer at the donation center didn't know when it was scheduled to be done. Meanwhile, here is a FAQ that helps to answer questions of eligibility – http://www.redcrossblood.org/donating-blood/eligibility-requirements/eligibility-criteria-topic. If you have specific questions concerning your eligibility, you can call 1-800-RedCross. A phone volunteer will be happy to answer (or find an answer.)
I wish I could do it all myself, but I can't. Please help.
I just donated my 170th pint to the Red Cross. I still have the accursed O-. My attempts to give it all away have been totally unsuccessful. It keeps coming back.
Remember that if you're cursed like me, you can only take blood for an operation or emergency from an O- donor. Why not do something for the rest of us?
I hit a personal milestone at 168 pints. That was exactly half an oil barrel of blood. Woo Hoo! I doubt that I'll be around to completely fill the other half, but I'll keep working on it.
My goal is to give away my weight. One way or the other, I'll reach that goal. Either I keep giving blood, or starvation will be so rampant that my weight will drop significantly enough that I'll reach it that way. [cue the cackling morbid laughter.]
I had some fun with the phlebotomist today. I asked her to say, "The Lord" as she stuck the needle in my arm. Afterwards, she asked me why? I said, "so I could take the lord's name in vein." We both laughed about that.
Just finished most of the summer honey-duties. Got a call from the Red Cross that they have a shortage of blood. (When don't they have a shortage of blood?) In and out in about an hour. I'm one pint closer to my arbitrary goal.
I just gave number 174. While there, I always talk with the phlebotomists. One of them was in the process of closing on a house. She said, "I'm getting closer to my home." So this song started running through my head: