Monday, May 3, 2010

Double Reds

(I really shouldn't be,) but I'm kind of proud of myself. I did Double Reds today, which in the blood donating world means you donate twice as many red blood cells but they give you the rest of it back. What it meant to me was that I had to sit there on the couch with that stupid needle in my arm for an extra 15 minutes, but more importantly they would hassle me half as often to come back and donate. Since I am told that I have to drive all the way out to the donor center (40 minutes away) instead of donating at a bloodmobile, that sounds appealing.

A brief explanation of why I can't go to a blood mobile: Apparently if you haven't had a fairly common virus (I think it's called CMV and roughly 50% of donors have had it) you can donate blood to babies. I haven't had this virus, and am a softie about babies, so I drive the heinous 40 minutes to the donor center to donate for the babies because they are better equipped to take baby eligible blood at the big donor center.

Then today I found that if you're willing to sit there for twice as long and - especially if you're O+, you can donate red blood cells only. I think others can do it too, but they told me O+ are their favorites. They call it "Double Reds" because you donate two pints instead of one pint, and they're skimming off the red blood cells and pumping whatever's left back into you. (ewww...) They use the packed red cells in the emergency room. When I told them I don't really care what kind of donation, which would they rather I do, they said "double reds" because O+ (which I am) is the best match. I said you drag me all the way out here for the babies. You've got me all sympathetic about the babies. Don't you need me for the babies? They said yeah, but O- is a better match with the babies. O+ is best for double reds, they'd rather have me for that. Oh, and by the way, sometimes the blood mobiles have the machine that does the double red thing.

Because doing doubles cuts my driving all the way down there half as often (every 120 days instead of every 60), and they'd rather have that, and I might be able to do it at a blood mobile, I told them I'd go for the double reds, even though it has you sitting on the couch for 30-40 minutes instead of 15-20. Which is unpleasant... it amused me they asked me to do an online survey about how much I enjoyed the donation. Are you kidding me? I DO NOT ENJOY the donation. I don't do this because I ENJOY it... it's not on the ENJOYABLE experience scale. It's on the UNPLEASANT scale. If I completely couldn't stand it I wouldn't do it, but I'd say it's not HORRIBLE, it's just UNPLEASANT. I don't really know why I do it... Then they told me that 3% of the eligible donor population actually donates. No way. Only 3%? (I just looked it up on the Mayo Clinic website and they say 5%.) Even 5% I find hard to believe. It sounds like they're fudging their numbers to gain sympathy. In any event if you're ever in an accident in this area I'm expecting a thank you card because the 3 to 5% of us are carrying the other 95 to 97% of the local population. DRIVE SAFE!! I can only donate so much blood at a time!!! Visions of vampire movies dance in my head...

I'm just so glad I'm not doing plateletts. A and ABs are the ones they want for platelets. Doing platelets takes between an hour and a half and TWO HOURS and you can do it as often as every other week. Now that's entirely more of myself than I'm willing to give.


  1. I am guilty of not donating blood. What made you start doing that?

  2. I dunno... I did it in high school once or twice... Then when I was in Arizona as the activities leader in church they needed someone to head up the blood drive, which for me was a great activity that all I had to do was announce, and show up for, unlike most of our other activities which required a lot of planning and effort on my part. I felt awkward pushing the blood drive without donating, so while I lived in Arizona, at least, I donated pretty regularly. I don't know if you remember hearing about my more famous announcement when I compared donating blood to going on a date, and saying I've had dates that didn't go as well as the blood donation... har har har. The killer was one of the guys who it had been torture to go out with recognized himself in the announcement and asked me about it. He wasn't stupid, just painfully boring.
    When I moved back here a couple years ago I went to a blood drive at the church once and they asked if they could test me for that CMV virus... sure, whatever. Ever since then they have been calling and pestering me to go donate since I'm CMV negative. And mostly to get them off my back, and because I feel like I'm increasing my karma, I suppose, I do it.

  3. I am still not sure I would do it. I hate needles.

  4. I still don't think I could donate blood. I hate needles too much.

  5. The old blood drive days! Remember how I tried to donate every time and was turned away because of my iron? Do you remember they told us the LDS people have the lowest iron counts? I still can't donate. At work they have donation days and I start taking iron pills a couple weeks in advance...still NOPE. Thank you for being a Double Red! I want to be able to donate someday! The announcement comments brought back memories!

  6. Gravity - I'm think you're in what they call the 'ineligible to donate' category. It's nice of you to try, but don't feel bad you can't. And yes, I think you might even remember who my boring date was... You probably haven't kept in contact with him, though, I expect he's too dull.

  7. You've inspired me to donate. I was looking for ways to deposit into my karma bucket and this is a great way. I tried a few times years ago at ADP's blood drives but my iron levels were too low. I think I am healty now and I should try. I'm going this week to donate! Thanks for the inspiration!!!


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