Monday, 9 April 2012

The Blood Donor

When H and I first met he was already a Blood Donor, and being in the first flush of romance I decided to join him on a Blood Donation session. Perhaps I thought he would be impressed, as I wasn't too keen to partake. We both lay side by side on some couches with our arms out, hosting a needle in our veins, attached to a tube leading to a pint bottle receiving our blood.
Before you could say ‘Jack Robinson’, H’s bottle was full with his arm bouncing up and down, whilst mine was only ¾ full. The attendants then came over to me and started squeezing my arm to fill up the vessel, and I thought ‘blow this for a lark, this is not for me’ pressing my arm to drain out my blood!
H being the fellow he is has continued to give blood throughout his life. At the start he gave 4 pints a year, now revised to 3 pints. If in the interim he had travelled to somewhere like Africa or South America then he could only give a pint when 6 clear months had elapsed following his return home.
I mention all this because in the last few days H gave his 75th pint of blood – known as the Emerald Award. Now he is not looking for rewards, but has noticed fellow donors walk off with crystal plates and decanters when they reach the top echelons of the blood donation world. When his blood had been taken, H mentioned to the attendant that he had been expecting some comment. She pointed to a box lying on the end of the stretcher, and said ‘that is yours, you can open it when you’re having your cup of tea’.
He decided to bring it home and let me open it. Because the box was so light I wondered if it was a T-shirt - given the blood got the T-shirtperhaps it was a scarf with blood donation symbols of hearts all over it!
When the box was opened out came this very small ring sized box, and inside was revealed an enamel lapel badge.
It was a non-event, and not a moment to savour.
On further investigation we found a little note tucked away in the corner of the box saying he would be invited to a presentation, so maybe there is more to come!

22 comments:

  1. What a fantastic man H is to give his blood away.
    Have a lovely day Rosemary.

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    1. Dear Marijke - I think you are right, the way he has religiously given blood for all of his adult life. 75 pints is a lot of blood.

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  2. I am not a blood doner, partly because it takes a while to get a phial out of me, and they don't want me, oh!!!!!!!!!

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    1. Dear Bob - I think that they are very fussy about who they take blood from now. It is all so different from the old days. The blood goes into a machine which separates the red and white blood cells. The red are then used in transfusions following an operation or accident. and the white are used to fight infections and given to patients suffering from life threatening infections who are not responding to antibiotics.

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  3. Dear Rosemary, My husband has given blood for over 35 years. He would receive a cookie and canned orange juice (so he wouldn't faint as he walked out the door). Thank you for sharing this wonderful story about your husband. He has saved many lives. He has made this world a better place.

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    1. Dear Gina - both of our husbands are very compassionate and caring people, we are fortunate.

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  4. What a cool guy! My 17 year old son just gave blood for the first time this year. I think he will be interested in H's story. 75 pints- awesome!

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    1. Dear Lisa - that is really nice to know. So many young people get a bad label these days when it is not deserved, he must be a kind and caring boy.

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  5. Let us hope so, Rosemary! Congratulations to your husband, and thanks from someone who has had her life saved by some anonymous donor who gave me eight precious pints of blood. H deserves something significant: one cannot put a price on life. Let us hope the presentation comes up trumps!

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    1. Dear Kate - that is really nice to hear that you had your life saved by being given eight pints of blood. H does not really expect anything, we were just having a bit of a laugh about it, all a bit tongue in cheek. His aim now is to give 100 pints, which is a diamond award. I do not think many of those exist.

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  6. Donating blood is such a good thing! One of my sons has a cardiac anomaly and was in need of blood when he had his surgeries done. My husband donates blood every year since he is 20 years old. I would have liked to the same but as I am a diabetic since the age of 10 I am not allowed to. Also my son who had the surgeries is not allowed. My younger son will only be able to donate when he turns 18 (this year). BUT we all are carrying badges with us who would in case of death allow to take our organs for transplantation. We have been talking about this issues among the family and we all know from each other that we would want to do that. We are having friends and had friends who are living with transplanted kidney and liver. I myself work in the hospital where we have many patients waiting for a new kidney. Afterwards they can live a nearly normal life whereas before they go through very, very difficult times. Of course, nobody should be urged to something they would not like to do. I think you are both doing a really wonderful thing! Thank you. Christa

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    1. Dear Christa - You raise a very valid point about organ donations. Both H and myself are on the organ donation list. On the whole, although I know some people would definitely not like to give an organ, I can see no reason for not doing so for myself. When you are dead, and if your organs are OK, then why not help someone who is still alive to have a better quality of life.

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  7. Seventy-five is an enormous gift. The number of ill patients he has helped will never be known. In my career, as a nurse, I used to give packed red cells one after another to leukemia patients. We sometimes had to search the country for red cells that were antibody free for these patients. Then they would react to the blood anyway. It was incredibly frustrating. Then the patients usually died after all their suffering. I stayed depressed. No wonder I retired early. Neither Joe nor I are able to donate due to meds we take.

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    1. Dear Olive - 75 pints is a lot, and as I mentioned previously he is hoping to make it 100. He religiously goes to the donation centre every 4 months, and if we are away then he makes sure he goes when he gets back home. It is just something he has been doing since he was a student.
      Hope you got your photo problem sorted out.

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  8. Dear Rosemary,
    Congrats to your husband, what a great thing to do.
    Wish you a wonderful evening.
    Mette

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    1. Dear Mette - I think what he has done over the years is admirable, but he thinks nothing of it himself, it is just something he does every 4 months, and gets on with it. Many people would not do it as they do not like needles struck in their arms. However, we all know that it is important that some people are prepared to give their blood.

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  9. I commend you both. Its a great deed to give blood. So many sick people are in need of good healthy blood, for transfusions.
    My ex husband M. had Falciperum malaria ..he caught it while working in Angola. He was brought home by medical assistance on a special flight and was admitted to the Lisbon Tropical disease unit. there he lost consciousness.. We as a family were asked to give blood. I will never forget those awful weeks.. and especially when we went to give blood, It could not be accepted.. Its many years ago now. Thank god M. is well and fighting fit. But none of us can give blood. I never really found out why.. At that moment, we were so concerned that M would regain conciousness and be with us again. I must find out again why we cant give blood. There is a unit that comes around every so often here in the country, where doners go to give blood.

    75th session. My Rosemary. Mr H indeed deserved a Medal.. a gold medal.. who knows what the next gift will be.. how exciting.
    best wishes
    Val x

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    1. Dear Val - first of all I do not give blood, so definitely no credit is due to me. After that first experience, I decided that was enough, which on reflection was rather selfish.
      I am so pleased that M recovered well from malaria, that must have been a very difficult time for you all.
      The reason you are not able to give blood may be because you spent many years living in S. Africa, I cannot be sure, but that is probably the reason. It would be interesting to find out the correct reason though.
      75 pints is a lot of blood, especially if you picture 75 bottles in your mind.

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  10. Congratulations to H! I used to give blood regularly, but in one session had a vein collapse. The attending nurse told me not to come back (with a pained look) and that was the end of that!

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    1. Dear Mark that sounds awful, I hope you did not have any repercussions as a result. The nurse may have had a pained look, but I wonder if it was painful for you?

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    2. No, in fact I did not feel a thing except the sting of rejection!

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    3. I am very pleased that you did not have any problems as a consequence.

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