October 19, 2011

Don't be Such a Wuss

Before the end of the month I have to stop by the Red Cross and donate two units of blood so they can give it back to me should I need it during the bone marrow donation surgery.  They call it an autologous donation.

Well....saying I have to "stop by" to donate is a bit of a misstatement.  I have two appointments to donate.  The first donation appointment was 8 AM this morning.  I haven't had to be anywhere at 8 AM in quite some time.  Here in Boise I'd rather have a 7 AM or a 9 AM appointment (or beginning of my work day).  Traffic is usually nuts approaching 8 AM.

I used to donate blood regularly.  I had to stop somewhere around the 1 gallon mark because there was some concern that I may have Mad Cow Disease.  Basically you have a permanent donation deferral if you lived in Europe during the late 80's to the late 90's.  Since I stopped donating regularly I seemed to have become much more of a wuss.  Small blood draws leave me light-heated and I loathe the feeling of that needle in my arm.  It isn't the stick I dislike, it's the feeling of that metal in my arm.

The last two blood draws have been trouble-free.  I've made sure to be well hydrated and had a good meal before I came in.

I roll in to the local donation center when they open.  Drink in hand and a full belly.  One of the first things I notice is that the ARC now has some sort of "loyalty card" program.  Seriously?  Donate whole blood, get X number of points....plasma gets you a lesser amount.  You can trade in your points for various crap, or you can donate them to the troops.  I have no clue what the "troops" need with red cross points or crap, but hey....if it gets you in to donate blood, I'm all for it.

Since I haven't been in to donate in the last decade I'm not in their system so we have to go through the normal "new customer" type setup.  It isn't a big deal and I make plenty of small talk with the ......the....heck, what do you call these folks, a phlebotomist?  I tell her I haven't donated since 1999 since the Red Cross is worried I have Interrupting Cow Disease.  She doesn't bite.  I was expecting her to say something in response so I could interrupt her with a loud "Mooo!"  Yes, it is a cheap joke and I was going to go for it, but it fell flat.

The actual donation went by quicker than I expected and after a few errands I'm home to walk the dog and see the wife off to work.  I'm surprised that I'm a bit more tired than I expected to be.  Well...last time I was more than 10 years younger and in better physical shape.

Great...I go back in a week.  The normal timespan between donations is eight weeks and it takes at least four to replace the red blood cells.  I'll be upping my iron supplements until my donation.