Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bloody Hard Times

One good thing about an economic downturn is there is a lot more blood being donated, especially at Christmas. Cap'n Ergo and I are going to see about donating some plasma to raise some much needed cash.

This is something of a big leap for me as I suffer from an irrational fear of needles. As a kid I got allergy shots that were administered by my mother who had the gentle touch of a pro wrestler. I was always afraid that the needle was going to break off in my arm and the blood would spurt out like a geyser.

In the past I have tried to donate blood three times, but I was always turned away as my temperature was one degree above normal. They put it down to me fighting off a cold while I chalked it up to nerves.

I don't mind having blood drawn, as long as I don't have to watch, because I would like to think that it is going to someone who really needs it, perhaps some wounded soldier in the field, a mother having a hard time in childbirth, or even someones grandpa who is having his heart worked on so he can have a few more years of bouncing grandchildren on his knee. I have so very little of anything to give but this, and I may as well, as I'm making more everyday.

It is the same reason that my driver's licence sez I'm an organ donor. If I am in a position where I don't need my organs any more, I may as well give them to someone who does. They are welcome to anything I've got, but I wouldn't recommend taking my heart, lungs, or liver as they have all have been hard used. My kidneys however are in perfect working order as they have filtered many gallons of beer and are perhaps the strongest organ I own, barring one*.

I know my blood type is O positive and that seems to be something of a universal type as most people can stand to use it to the best of my knowledge. Forgive me. My name is Doc but most of my medical knowledge extends to first aid and triage and whatever I have learned from M*A*S*H reruns. I was named after a character from Steinbeck's "Cannery Row" who was a marine biologist, not an MD.

So Cap'n Ergo and I are making an appointment for Monday at the local plasma clinic to see if they want what we have to offer. He is doing it to raise money for his kids and I'm going to try to scrounge some extra cash to pay an unexpected hospital tab. It used to be that the sweat of my brow was the way to pay bills, but in hard times, it takes a little more. I hope they don't mind if it comes with a slight flavor of Pabst Blue Ribbon.


*I'm not certain that my tongue counts as an organ but I read somewhere that it is the strongest muscle in the body after the heart.


  1. Just think of the warm n' fuzzy feelin' your donor will feel with a slight PBR buzz right after surgery or skin graft from a burn treatment.

    and, BTW, I've donated over 4 gallons of whole blood and about 10 units of platelettes and i've got track marks in my elbows from donating (and 'cuz I scar easily) and *I* don't lookit the needle, either, so you're in good company.

  2. It's the best gift anyone could give.

    I'm the rarest of rare blood type: AB- universal receiver in the negative.

    With two British blood transfusions in my system, the people at the blood clinic would hold up garlic and a crucifix if I ever tried walking through their door. We - the British transfused - are banned because they fear we have Mad Cow Disease

  3. I haven't sold my blood for a long time. Around here, I'm not even sure where I'd go for that.

    One nice thing, you'll get a way better buzz from your post-donation beer.

  4. Good on you for trying again to donate. I have a regular 3 month appt at Childrens hospital to donate, I am not sure where I am at the gallon level now, but over 17 years it is pretty substantial.

    And, I am waiting on Flan to weigh in on whether or not your tongue is that strong...

  5. I'm O+ as well, and I donated pretty regularly for about 40 years. I quit about 2 years ago, after 113 donations, when I couldn't register a temp above 35ºC (=95ºF). I guess that's nature's way of telling me I'm already dead.

    Also did the hemoglobin / pheresis thing about 7 times, which requires needles in both arms and takes 100 minutes. The unsettling thing about that is almost certain that you are saving a life, for a while at least, and it's the life of a specific person who is targeted to receive your platelets. You don't know their name, but you know that their life depends on your donation. I checked in once, and could see a middle-aged couple paying way too much attention to me in the next room. I found out later that they were the parents of a teenage girl with lukemia, and I was there to save her life. That's a shitload more knowledge than I needed.

    Cap'n E,I always watch the needle. It's a point of pride. And I've got the same scarring issues you have. Only my right arm would be usable now, if I ever managed to heat myself up enough to donate again. Doanting made me prouder than anything else I've ever done.

  6. We have the same blood type. :^)

    Yeah, totally lame comment. Sorry.

  7. When I was in college, I donated plasma for $$$ twice a week. Once, I went immediately to the store afterward to buy groceries, and when I picked up the bag on my way out of the store, I fainted.

    Oh, and I always feel like my blood type is nagging me. It's B positive.

  8. I'm going to get off my ass and do this. It seems like the perfect holiday gift.

  9. B negative here.....I also have the RH factor in the blood, always had to get that damn Rhogam shot while preggo.

    Just in case you needed to know that info.......


  10. Over half of the 100,000 Americans on the national transplant waiting list will die before they get a transplant. Most of these deaths are needless. Americans bury or cremate about 20,000 transplantable organs every year. Over 6,000 of our neighbors suffer and die needlessly every year as a result.

    There is a simple way to put a big dent in the organ shortage -- give organs first to people who have agreed to donate their own organs when they die.

    Giving organs first to organ donors will convince more people to register as organ donors. It will also make the organ allocation system fairer. People who aren't willing to share the gift of life should go to the back of the waiting list as long as there is a shortage of organs.

    Anyone who wants to donate their organs to others who have agreed to donate theirs can join LifeSharers. LifeSharers is a non-profit network of organ donors who agree to offer their organs first to other organ donors when they die. Membership is free at or by calling 1-888-ORGAN88. There is no age limit, parents can enroll their minor children, and no one is excluded due to any pre-existing medical condition.

  11. My roommate in college use to give plasma all the time for beer-drinking money. I would just sell back books that I still needed. I'm more intellectual like that.

  12. I donated for years to get extra money, as a poor college kid it was a second income.

    The only thing I would beg you and the Cap'n to do is start taking vitamins every day and drink lots more water. It's easier to get sick when your immune system is being compromised like that, but it's not a problem if you keep the body replenished.

    my $.02 worth


Write your beer-fueled ravings here...