Monday, October 11, 2010

Type A Positive

That's my blood type, folks.

I don't think I'm giving away too much personal information by telling you, the three readers of this blog, that information.

I am a regular whole blood donor. And as of this morning, I have voluntarily donated 72 pints of whole blood. For those keeping score, that's 9 gallons of whole blood donated over the course of the last nearly 20 years.

There's not a lot of things in my life that I am too proud of, but that's one of them.

72 pints means I've helped save the lives of as few as 72 people, and as many as 216 (each pint of whole blood can save from 1 to 3 people. By the law of averages, that's 2 people per pint. Not too shabby.)

Also please remember that the average adult human body contains approximately 6 pints of blood. So I have now donated the equivalent of 12 times my total blood supply.

I was also once what the American Red Cross calls a "CMV Hero", meaning my blood did not contain the antibodies formed when you contract what is called Cytomegalovirus. This is a virus that causes a mild fever in any normal healthy person, but can cause severe danger to persons with compromised immune systems, like premature infants, transplant patients, or cancer victims (like my mom was, God rest her soul), for example. I don't know if I still am one (most people never even realize they get this illness, since it is so mild in any normal, healthy person) but it gave me a good feeling when I learned it. It still does, to some extent.

I encourage anyone reading this to become a volunteer blood donor. It only takes about an hour out of a normal day. The process is completely safe. And it really doesn't hurt as much as everyone thinks. Of course, if you donate as often as I do, you tend to develop scar tissue on your vein, which makes it hurt more than normal.

But that is a small price to pay. And you get a good feeling when you realize how easy it can be to save someone's life. Believe me, I know.

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