The Curse of Less Than Zero (O-)
This is very commendable! I'm proud , guys!
When it comes to pints of blood, 'tis better to give than receive.
The donation went as smoothly as it normally does. The other donors were staring at their glowing rectangles without saying a word. The phlebotomist asked me where my cell phone was. I said that I’ve never owned one. (That caused the other donors to look up from their devices momentarily with a shocked look.) She said she only has one to text with her high school aged daughter. She thinks they are a curse.
She said that her daughter has a hard time verbally communicating face to face with people. Because of all the texting, the daughter’s writing skills have deteriorated as well. Grades at school have also dropped. The daughter only lives for the dopamine rush from the phone’s bell ringing to indicate a new message has arrived. (What would Pavlov say?) It certainly is an addiction.
Being a man, my instinct is to fix whatever is broken. I’ve learned over the years that sometimes women just want to talk about what’s bothering them and they really don’t want advice. It sounded like she was at wit’s end and so I offered my opinion. I suggested that she set some goals for her daughter and use the cell phone as a reward for meeting those goals. Take the phone away until homework is satisfactorily completed. Take the phone away while eating meals. Take the phone away when at social functions. Since sleep is interrupted by incoming texts, take the phone away at night and return it in the morning. As soon as the daughter can manage her real life, she deserves more leeway. Until that happens, there’s a new sheriff in town.
By then, my donation was completed and I went to the canteen to get some grape juice and a bag of trail mix. On the way out, the phlebotomist came over and thanked me for talking to her. I sure hope it works for her.
I am impressed. Although I have given for many years I do not believe I come close to matching your total.
Have the phlebotomists not suggested that you give through an apheresis donation (run the donor’s blood through a machine to remove platelets or plasma)? When they saw I was a regular they requested that I look into it. A benefit for them is that they get the blood elements they really want. Another is that a donor can give more frequently than with whole blood. Not what you need given your totals, but a consideration.
Blood type is likely an apheresis selection factor (I am AB+), but you may wish to check it out.
You are an inspiration. Thanks.
Thanks for the kind words! It is good to hear from another regular donor. Keep up the good work!
According to this Red Cross web page, you (AB+) are an excellent candidate to donate plasma and platelets. In fact, you are the universal plasma donor. My blood plasma (O-) has both the A and B antigens so it would only be useable by others with type O blood. For me, whole blood has the best bang for the buck. I tried a double red cell donation once. I felt run down for a few days after and decided to stick with the standard donation. I had forgotten that I gave a double and went in 8 weeks later to give a single. Although I wasn’t technically supposed to contribute (I should have waited 16 weeks,) nobody caught it. My iron levels were were at my normal range. I felt fine afterwards.
It turns out that I’m cytomegalovirus (CMV) negative as well. CMV is a type of herpes virus that infects about 50%-85% of the population. Once you get it, it stays in your system. It can be spread through transfer of bodily fluids – including blood products. Apparently, it doesn’t affect adults as much (cold-like symptoms,) but it is potentially deadly for infants. As such, my blood typically gets earmarked for infants.
About a week after the donation, the Red Cross sends an e-mail to let me know where my blood was used. They keep the names private but tell me the location. They assure me that local needs were met first. My blood has gone to locations across the country. Even though I’m not fond of traveling, my blood doesn’t seem to mind. 😉 It does feel good to know that someone benefited.
- All blood types, except for type O negative and type B negative, are encouraged to try platelet donation. Type O negative and type B negative can make the most impact for patients in need by continuing to give whole blood or a double red cell donation.
- If you are type AB you can make the most impact by donating plasma. It’s similar to donating platelets and is offered at select American Red Cross Donation Centers. When you make a plasma donation, you can donate up to three times the plasma that would be collected during a regular blood or platelet donation, allowing you to make more impact with fewer donations.
Can I donate plasma at the same time as platelets?
- Yes, if you have type AB blood and your local American Red Cross Donation Center does not currently offer plasma-only donations, platelet donation is your next best option. You can give a platelet and plasma donation at the same time.
- Only 4% of the U.S. population has type AB blood, which makes it extremely rare.
- Type AB donors are the universal plasma donor, meaning any patient can receive your AB plasma, regardless of their blood type.
Today’s donation went smoothly. Leading up to it was a different story. I was out running errands last Tuesday (a day before I was eligible) and stopped by the blood bank to see if they’d bend the 8 week rule. After all, I’ve been receiving lots of e-mails and calls from Red Cross due to a critical shortage of blood. I waited my turn for the mini-exam and then was told the computer wouldn’t allow me to donate. Sorry, Grover.
My next available free time was Friday. I looked at the website and saw that the blood bank was open until 7 PM. Unfortunately, that was only for plasma donations. The whole-blood donation section closed about an hour before I got there. I misread the information.
Third time was the charm. Both of the failed attempts were my fault. August 6 is the earliest I can donate again. I’m making a note of that. 😉
Smooth as normal. My pole beans are producing like crazy so I brought a grocery bag full of just picked green beans with me. That was a real hit as usual. The retired volunteers who handle the login and canteen were especially grateful. A warm smile is a wonderful thing to see.
I hadn’t had enough water to drink and my blood didn’t want to squirt through the tube. I beat the arbitrary deadline clock by several minutes, but I should have known better. Drink plenty of fluids and the donation goes much more smoothly.
After the donation, they strongly encourage the donor to go to the canteen and drink some fluids and eat some snacks. The canteen is usually staffed by an older volunteer. Today’s volunteer was a retired lady. She said she was conducting an informal poll (probably to start a conversation – if so, it worked.) She set the scenario that I knew I only had a couple of hours to live and asked me where I wanted to spend those last few hours. Without hesitation, I said, “in the woods with my wife and dog.”
She said that most older folks had an answer that involved communing with nature. The younger crowd would be happy on their smarty phones or in the mall with their friends. I asked her where she would spend her final moments and she said, “by a waterfall.” Apparently, nobody answered, “stuck in traffic on the way to work.” Yet most of us spend too much of our lives in that situation. Hmmmm!
Still working on giving away my weight in blood. If it weren’t for pumpkin pie, I’d be closer to my goal.