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Blood donation

Blood donation

Well, as always when I have the chance I donate blood – well, until today I tried anyhow.

After the wonderful survey, which was changed since I last took it, in addition to being an oral survey, not a written one; I was asked what blood type I had. After confirming it I was asked if I would consider donating 2 pints to blood, or which the red blood cells would be taken from and the rest pumped back into me.
In the last 4 years while I volunteered at the blood drives I had seen these machines, which I can’t recall the name of, used plenty of times on other students. However my blood type was never one they were looking for – until today.

So after I was asked I agreed, even thought it mean waiting about 45 min for a machine to open up. I had nothing I wanted to do… Mechanics of Materials can wait a bit.
Anyhow, the nurse was very thankful I was willing to wait, and she seemed very surprised that I was willing to wait that long. Little did we know this was only the start of the waiting…

After about an hour I was finally able to sit down and get all the tubes hooked up into the machine, and then the machine started up. That was about the last thing that went right.
After about 10 min the machine started beeping, the kind that you know the meaning of before you look, the kind that means ‘something is wrong’. From where I was sitting I could see and read the machine, it was a warning about a weight issue. After the nurse came back over and pushed some buttons the machine started up again. 30 seconds later the same warning sounds. And again. And Again.

So it becomes apparent that the machine is doing something not so right, and I’m hooked up into it still. The machine starts pumping my part of the separated blood back into my arm, which has cooled a bit from being out of my body – that’s a weird feeling, you can ‘feel’ the cool liquid moving threw your body. Meanwhile, the part of my blood that I’m supposed to be donating, the red blood cells, seems to be stuck in the centrifuge.

Out comes the Red Cross cell phone – and the nurse is calling the help line for the machine. Long story short, after about 20 min it is determined that the machine was somehow set into the wrong mode for the type of donation I was giving. Anyhow, they figure out how to empty the centrifuge, which held a pint of so of my blood – back into my arm. That was even colder than the first rush of stuff.

Now, this is where the federal laws come into play – an attempt at a donation, like I had just tried, counts as a donation – which them means you need to wait the 4 weeks until you can do it again. So, even though I had ‘gotten back’ everything that was taken out I was ineligible to donate ‘again’.

So, nothing gained, nothing lost – right?
Not really, I managed to have the neat experience of knowing what the feeling is when cool blood is put back into your arm, which I had heard described a few times.
But the more important part was the impact I seemed to have on the nurse.

This nurse seemed to be awestruck by my wiliness to stay the extra time to donate on the machine, and even more so by my reaction when things weren’t going so grand on the machine, even more so when I was nothing but smiles about the whole ordeal.
I said “Things don’t always work out the way we intend, but at least we tried”, or something along that line, I don’t quite recall. I think she had a bigger smile on her face than most people would have thought possible.

I’m sure that not everybody would have reacted the way I did. I waited for about an hour just to get on the machine. I was hooked up to the machine for over an hour – and for the vast majority of the time it wasn’t doing what it was supposed to be doing, and for half the time the nurse was on a phone trying to find out why.

I just wish I could hop on the machine and donate ‘again’.
After all – nothing lost, but a lot gained – I’ve got plenty of give.

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