It all started last week when Alice’s Bucket List went viral. For those of you living under a rock without an internet connection firstly, how are you reading this?! And secondly, Alice Pyne is a 15 year old girl in the UK who has terminal cancer, she started a humble blog for her friends and family to document some of the things she wanted to do in her final months and it spread across the internet like a [good] virus (hence the expression ‘it went viral‘ get it Mum?!). Anyway, number 1 on Alice’s list was to get everyone to sign up to be bone marrow donors. So I did. But first you have to give blood so they can take a sample to determine your tissue type. Which is how I ended up at the Caulfield Blood Donor Centre this morning.
Man was I smug. All week it was “Coffee on Tuesday morning? Wish I could! I’m actually donating blood then…”, “Lunch on Tuesday? Gee, will have to see how i’m feeling after I donate blood…”. I was high on my own sense of self righteousness. I couldn’t help it! When I booked the appointment the lovely Red Cross woman told me I could be saving up to 3 lives! 3 LIVES!
However when I went for my appointment, I realised I was on the lowest rung of the donation ladder. “That man over there” the nurse tells me “is donating plasma, which takes 45 minutes to an hour”, “the woman in the corner? Platelets. Up to an hour and a half”. Suddenly I wasn’t so smug about my 470ml of whole blood. Apparently donating is a competitive sport. Blood is like Little Athletics. Organs are the Olympic Games.
When it comes to whole blood (as opposed to plasma and platelets), it’s all about timeliness. The soccer-mum in her Lululemon leisure-wear next to me did 470ml of blood in a lightening fast 5 minutes, the Usain Bolt of blood donation. As she got up she said to no one in particular “And that’s what drinking 1.5 litres of water every day does for you”. Snap. It took me 11 minutes. Apparently my lack of intense hydration means I have an underachieving blood flow.
Donating blood isn’t painful or scary. I urge you all to make an appointment to donate, it’s hugely important as 1 in 3 people will need blood but only 1 in 30 currently give blood. I’ll be there, in the corner, donating platelets with a wry smile and disgusting sense of self entitlement. God help my friends and family if I ever get called up to donate bone marrow.