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The Red Cross

I'm catching up on my unread mail tonight. In my pile of mail was a letter from the Red Cross. They seem to really like the fact that I go donate blood often and am part of their "Members For Life" program. So much so, that they're going to send me a gift of my choice. I chose the baseball cap.

I love donating blood. Almost every time I go, they give me a T-shirt. Now, it looks like every year, they'll give me something like a baseball cap. Of course, there's the real cool thing that my blood can be used by people who need it.

I guess one day, they'll come up with a synthetic substitute for blood. There's probably someone working on trying to figure that out right this minute. That would be pretty cool.

Last Night I Dreamed - Blues Traveler - Straight On Till Morning



( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 13th, 2006 04:03 am (UTC)
Congratulations. Did they tell you your number of gallons?

I've heard that they've actually been looking for blood substitutes for years, and that the problem has proven a lot trickier than you might expect. But it can't hold out forever. In another generation, kids may look on blood donation as the just one more unimaginable hardship people in the ancient past endured. Shhhh, don't tell them it barely hurts.
Mar. 13th, 2006 04:12 am (UTC)
Yeah, It's in my profile on the Members For Life webpage -- 26 donations, so that's 3.25 gallons.
Mar. 13th, 2006 04:13 am (UTC)
...and, yeah, I bet synthetic blood really is tricky.
Mar. 13th, 2006 06:31 am (UTC)
A quick websearch on "artificial blood" reveals much.

Actually, there was just an article on it in the Wall Street Journal a few weeks ago.

It's existed for quite a while, with mostly a lack of success. All you need is some capability to dissolve oxygen in heavy concentration and deliver it to cells effectively. Not too tough, theoreticaly. At least, the idea is simple.
Mar. 13th, 2006 10:57 am (UTC)
I have no idea the total I've donated, as I've donated for 3 different orgs (Red Cross in Raleigh, NYU med center, and Blood Centers of NY). And then the past year I started doing the platelet/plasma donation thing, which you can do a lot more often, and seems more useful when you're AB+. It feels weird. Not painful, just weird. When they pump your blood back into you intially, it feels cold.

I think I saw a site once that said the best donation use based on blood type, which is more pertinent for those of us with less common blood types.

Mar. 13th, 2006 12:27 pm (UTC)
I've got the common type of A+, so I think they're just happy for a whole blood donation. I did what they called a double red cell donation. They took out twice as much volume, ran it throuh a centrifuge to get the red cells out, and pumped the plasma and some extra saline back in. I can't do that twice as often, though -- in fact, I can do it half as much. I liked it, but, like you said, it's weird to have the fuid coming back in since it's had time to cool down while sitting outside your body.
Mar. 13th, 2006 02:49 pm (UTC)
A+ here too --- I actually did the platelet donation thing again yesterday. The apherisis unit at the WS Red Cross is neat, with a library of DVD's to choose from while you're strapped to a chair for two hours. Yesterday, I tried something different --- and took an audio book from Auidble.com. (I sure would love to read --- but those pesky needles in each arm make it a little tough to turn pages!)
Mar. 13th, 2006 11:16 pm (UTC)
I kind of soured on the Red Cross when I heard about all the mismanagement and questionable practices going on there. I donated as often as I could when I worked at a hospital several years ago that maintained its own blood store, though. Recently I was doing the plasma donation thing when I needed some extra money. I'm O+, so I'm a pretty good donor. I used to like the t-shirts, but you can only accumulate so many painting/yardwork shirts.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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