Thursday, December 10, 2009

Give Life

I’ve blogged about this before but I just felt the urge to do it again.
Every two weeks I go to the Red Cross and donate platelets. The process is called apheresis. First step is to stick a needle into each arm. Then they pull the blood out of one arm and centrifuge it to remove the platelets and a few other blood products. Then my red blood cells are mixed with saline and pumped back into my other arm. I’ve been donating pretty regularly for about ten years. The whole process takes about two hours. Just long enough to watch a movie. I’ve done it over a hundred times and I’ve gotten to the point that they all know my face and I know most of the folks at the donor center by name. I look forward to my bi-weekly appointment and an excuse to really help somebody out who needs help. And any time I can save somebody’s life by just sitting on my butt and watching a movie, sign me up. I really enjoy the feeling that I get when I walk away, knowing that I’ve done my small part to help relieve the suffering of a fellow human being.
Over time my body has compensated for loosing so many platelets every month and my normal count has gotten higher. Now they are able to take three different products from me in one sitting with no ill effects. And they have recently gotten a few new machines that only require one needle. This is a plus if you’d like to read or if just having both arms immobile for two hours is a little claustrophobic for you.
The last few times have been a little bittersweet for me. There really hasn’t been a lot of other folks donating. I’m not sure what the cause is. Perhaps with the downturn in the economy folks haven’t been feeling as charitable as they used to. Perhaps they’re just working too hard to make ends meet. Both of those situations I completely understand. However, the sick folks who need these products still need help.
I just got a reminder call. I have an appointment tomorrow after work so she was reminding me not to take anything with aspirin in it. I encourage the six people that read this blog to take a look at your schedule and see if you too can help out. If you can’t spare the two hours they just find a local blood drive and donate whole blood. As an uncle to wonderful niece whose life was saved by platelet donations I sincerely thank all those who have given and encourage those who haven’t to consider it.

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