Friday, August 14, 2009


Yesterday was my day to donate to the Blood Source. This might be considered a generous act, and perhaps it is, but I have to admit to ulterior motives!

First, when you are my age, there isn’t much of you that people want any more – I’m too old to be even tested for bone marrow, my eyes are dim, my donatable organs have been pretty much used, although I proudly carry my donor card. The blood bank loves my blood – and they love my platelets even more. They call me up when its time for me to donate, they thank me profusely even before I have made the appointment.

Yesterday, as I walked in to be interviewed, I was handed a certificate for a “pint for a pint” of Baskin Robbins ice cream. ( I now have almost enough to have my own ice cream social. All I need are the strawberries, bananas, chocolate syrup, whipped cream, pineapple, nuts and cherries. I have a stunning variety of tee shirts from the blood bank! Then, since I am a platelet donor, I get weighed. That is, perhaps, for me, the hardest part of donating platelets. They never weighed me when I gave whole blood. They took my word for my weight, which remained unchanged year after year, despite all visible evidence to the contrary. So I take off my shoes, glasses, watch, etc. and close my eyes while they do this.

Giving platelets takes longer, from one to two hours depending on how many they are taking. They settled me in and gave me a choice of movies – a huge choice of movies. Yesterday they were doing one unit of platelets and one of packed red blood cells, so I didn’t think 67 minutes was time enough for a movie. Retired people are particularly valuable platelet donors – because we have the time. With platelets we can give more often. There it is – another senior advantage. It is not every day I get the chance to lie back and read a good book for 67 minutes.

Blood bank people are amazing. The phlebotomists (great word!) have never missed with me. The 67 minutes pass quickly.

Then comes the really good part – the donuts. Only when I give blood can I justify eating a wonderful, sinful, donut! As I sit savoring each bite, I pick up a heart shaped sticker that says “Be nice to me today, I gave blood”. I attach it to my forehead for the ride home.

I have now given 79 units of blood. (You get extra credit – two for one – for donating platelets or packed red cells.)(Women are no longer allowed to give plasma at our blood bank). One more pint of blood and I will have given ten gallons – and will be eligible for the Blood Source’s annual dinner. Fred has offered to take me out to dinner for no blood, and I must say I’ve taken him up on that lots of times – but this dinner will be special. I will wear a blood source tee shirt!