giving blood

despite not being a big fan of needles, i’ve been giving blood since they started doing blood drives in university, back in the day. after moving abroad, we started doing them once a year, our christmas vacations back home always punctuated by a detour to give blood, followed by a trip to the dentist (in that order, otherwise no blood donation!).

ever since moving back though, we’ve been doing them more often, helped by the nearness of faro’s hospital and the nice people that work in the blood department there. although we barely know them, the regularly spaced meetings and intimate questions help to quickly break the ice. even if the boy isn’t giving blood on that specific day (sometimes they don’t need his “special” blood), the doctor will still ask how the husband has been doing… quickly followed by a very pro forma “and have you had sex with anyone else lately”? XD

besides the good karma and not having to pay medical fees, after giving blood 10 times one also gets a mini-diploma… although, in true bureaucratic fashion, it ends up arriving much later. still, it’s pretty neat and this week it was my turn to pick up mine!

i know it’s just a piece of fancy paper, but it still feels like a pat in the back for a job well done. besides, now i’m a certified people’s saver! :)

speaking of which, did you hear the news about mr. harrison, the man with the golden arm? he has a rare antibody in his blood, from which a treatment for rh incompatibility could be made in australia. he retired from blood donating last week at 81, after 1173 donations — and after having saved over 2 million babies with the “vaccine” made from his blood — the same vaccine that my mom took after having me, as our bloods’ rh types are incompatible.

hurray for science and blood donors!

4 comments to “giving blood”

  • Nathalie says:

    Congratulations! You might not end up saving 2 million people, but a few at least :D

    I don’t know if they give diplomas here, I don’t remember how many times I gave blood already, I might not have reached 10. I also started giving blood at the university, but when I moved to Finland I could not anymore, because they refused any kind of foreign identification. As soon as I learned that this ridiculous rule was removed (now one can give blood with a combination of foreign identification and Finnish social security card), I went to give blood as often as I could. I also laugh at their questionnaires – “Has your partner had sex with someone else in the last 12 month?”, well, I hope not :D

  • Nathalie says:

    Oh, and have you heard of Henrietta Lacks? She was an African American woman who died of cancer. Some of her cancerous cells had been harvested and cultivated, and they proved to be immortal, which was invaluable for medical research. They have been widely used are still used today, so that they probably helped saved numerous lives, but the poor woman was never asked for consent or even informed of the cell collection. There is a great book about her and a movie based on the book.

  • Eva says:

    I used to give blood when in Spain. But, since I live here, it is more difficult, and the frequency of donations is lower. But I’m going to move to Spain soon, so I guess I’ll be back to donating regularly.

    And, among the questions they ask you, I think that question is more neutral. Something like: “Do you have a regular sex partner?” :D

    I’d like they give diplomes too! Is there anything cooler than a certificate of people’s life saver?

  • Lynda Carrington says:

    In Canada we have blood drives. There will be big posters in some store windows and on the street every month or two telling you where and when the blood drive is. Each month the Blood drive sets up in the local union hall or the Masonic hall. They bring in portable cots and can have upto 25 people at a time giving blood. They do a screening of everyone who comes in to make sure they are allowed to give blood but they take all kinds of blood since we live near several big hospitals that can always use it.
    In Canada the questions are very intrusive but are asked by a nurse. You are sitting behind a screen in one corner of a large room where no one can overhear you. In the early 1980’s Canada had a problem with blood being tainted by HIV. That is why the questions are so detailed. For health reasons I haven’t given blood lately but I do have a card that they will mark each donation on.
    I have given blood more than 25 times. I didn’t get a diploma but I did get a special pin. After giving blood they make you wait around to make sure you are ok and while you wait they give you apple juice and cookies.

    Ana I am A+ and my mother was O-. This was before Gamma Globulin shots so I am lucky to be alive.

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