Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Blood Kin--Part II

One of my New Year's resolutions is to give blood more regularly.  Apparently the Community Blood Center has mind-reading capabilities because the number of mailings they've sent to me in the past two months has increased significantly.

The latest advertising onslaught concerns switching from being a whole blood donor to becoming a blood platelet donor, mostly because platelets can be given every two weeks as opposed to every eight weeks.  However, while I agree donating blood is important to help others, I cannot emphasize too strongly how much I hate needles.  The physical process of donating blood involves minimal pain, but it does involve having a needle jabbed into one of your veins. And, in my case, that means one vein in my left arm which is the only one the vampires deem acceptable.  Somehow donating four times as often offers little appeal, but I believe I have found a suitable rationalization which allows me avoid any guilty feelings.

About 50 per cent of the blood used in hospitals is Type O.  This explains why, although I belong to the eight per cent of Caucasians with Type O negative blood, the Community Blood Center finds my blood highly desirable.  Also, through no action on my part, I am also Cytomegalovirus negative.  This means that hospitals use my particular blood type for newborns.  Because of the prevalence of Cytomegalovirus amongst American adults, I accidentally fall into about one per cent of the population with the type of blood deemed suitable for babies.

Less than 38 per cent of the population in the United States is actually eligible to donate blood.  Less than ten per cent of these people donate each year.  If you perform the calculations, you can see why I am one of the popular kids--for the first time in my life--but only in the world of blood donors.  This places a huge responsibility upon me to get my act together and donate blood regularly.  Since such a small group of us can actually provide whole blood for babies, I believe I have found a justifiable needle-avoiding reason not to give platelets.

However, I can only avoid the guilt of not giving platelets if I donate whole blood.  So, somehow it seems wrong that I donate whole blood in order to minimize my contact with needles and to avoid feeling guilty if I do not donate any portion of my blood, but I guess the Community Blood Center will accept my donation regardless of my shabby motivation.

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