Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Proud B+

I gave blood at Red Cross today. If you ask me I'll tell you off the top of my head I do it about every 6 months or so. In fact every time I actually get in there it turns out to have been 18 months at least.

I am always grumpy at the blood bank. Do these people realise I am not a person who comes into town? I do not "shop" - there is just no time, for one thing. Being downtown during the day, on a weekday no less, is a freaky alternate universe to me.

[I look around myself at the other people on the go, and think "too old for school, too young for a Seniors Card, too neat for Centrelink - what are you doing here?" It must be awful to have a business that relies on passing trade, when most of the passing trade has either a schoolbag, a walking stick or Fallout Boy hair and multiple facial piercings.] OK - now remember stereotypes are OK as long as they are within square brackets. Let's move on.

So anyway, here I am, convinced that my time is precious, and I have to wait to be given a form to fill out, then wait for someone to grill me about what I wrote in the form. Having visited my doctor once since my last blood donation, I have to try to remember why, and what was prescribed and when I  finished taking it. (Do people remember this stuff? I just can't.) So then sometimes we have to call the doctor's surgery in case the pharmaceuticals I took for a sore toe 12 months ago might be still making my blood fizzy, or green, or gelatinous - (or whatever).

So I am cranky as hell by the time I get plopped in a La-Z-Boy, and they start draining my vital fluids into a bag to give to strangers. By this point I have been asked my DOB and full name about 6 times. Have I convinced anyone out there to donate yet?

Anyway, the reason I was there today was that I saw a story in the paper that blood stocks were low. The whole country has 2 days' supply, and it should have 5. Usually the room where the donating happens is pretty quiet, but today it was flat out. And while I was sitting there, I had an attitude adjustment. This is a good organisation, and what they are doing is very important. The red tape that had been driving me up the wall made sense.

The people getting this blood aren't lucky people like everyone there giving - you can't donate unless you are healthy. Even if you develop a sniffle the next day you need to call the blood bank, and they could well discard your blood. This is because the people getting the blood are seriously ill, injured, weak - they really need your blood but they can't fight your germs. It's a big deal really. And of course if they are not very careful about identities, and they put your B+ blood in a B- person, I think that person explodes. Or something.

It's a great thing to be able to say "I'm a lucky person to be healthy, not recently tattooed and working in a job/living in a location where I can get to a blood bank when its open." And unlucky people, all kinds of unlucky people, get to take advantage of my luckiness. It's like a luck transfusion. And at the end, Red Cross Australia give you a muffin and a chocolate milkshake.

So I am now going to try very hard to give blood every 12 weeks, and I urge you to think about doing it too. Here is a quick quiz to establish if you are eligible to give blood in Australia. If it helps, focus on the milkshake.

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