Comments on life, the universe and everything from an aging Sixties survivor.

Location: Massachusetts, United States

Ummm, isn't "about me" part of the point of the blog?

Monday, April 22, 2013

What I'm doing today

By a fortunate coincidence, this is my platelet donation day. It's as important to donate  a few days after a disaster as it is at the time, because things like the Marathon bombing draw down blood supplies dramatically. That's especially true of platelets, which have a shelf life of just five days. One unit of platelets can do the work of six units of whole blood, which makes them useful little buggers.

About 11 percent of the American population is eligible to donate blood, but only three percent do so, and many of them don't do so regularly. That's why blood supply runs short of demand even in good times.

If you are eligible to give blood, and don't, you'll find most regular donors tolerant of the reasons you don't. I'm not one of them. That's due half to my native impatience, and half to experience. If you'd ever seen a Navy Corpsman lying down to give two units of whole blood at once, a desperate measure in desperate need, you'd get the experience part.

Fear of needles is a learnt response that one can unlearn.  So is getting creeped out by the sight of blood. As nurses say, it's just a liquid.  I wouldn't suggest that most people start by doing platelets. A whole blood donation takes very little time; the red tape takes longer than giving the red stuff. Platelet donations take (red tape included) a couple of hours and usually involve both arms. But where else does one get to lie on a heated couch in the middle of the day, under heated blankets, and do nothing but squeeze a rubber ball and watch a DVD?

The Internet has been afloat with people offering prayers for Boston this past week, and West, TX as well. Prayers be damned. If you can give blood, you should.



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