Blood Donation Friday

Today is my monthly blood donation day. As I have mentioned before, I go in for the apheresis machine which is the one that literally sucks the blood out of your system, takes plasma, platelets and sometimes red blood cells (if it’s been 4 months) and then puts back into your body whatever is left over.

Last blood donation entry I mentioned that they take more out of my body than they take out of a normal sized persons because I am so tall. What I didn’t say was how much because honestly, I wasn’t counting. And that’s because, apparently, there is no set number. It’s just that they can probably take more because our platelet count is higher or something like that. Now that I am blogging three times a week, both my readers (“Hi Mom and Dad!”) will be subjected to not just a blog about every time I go to the Blood Center of the Pacific, but a running total so that everyone knows exactly how much I have given which will hopefully compound your guilt and make you feel compelled to give blood.

Today I gave: 200cc’s of plasma (1 dose) and 10.1 x 10″ of platelets (3 doses. And I have no idea what 10.1 x 10″ means, but that’s what the screen said.)

I know the apheresis machine sounds intimidating and it does take a while (about 3 hours), but if it’s the only volunteering you do every month then it’s better than a lot of other ways you may be out there helping. Here’s some statistics from the Mayo Clinic to help illustrate just how important your donation is:

* Only 5 percent of eligible donors across the nation donate blood, but the number of transfusions nationwide increases by 9 percent every year.

* Whole blood donors can donate as frequently as every 56 days. A benefit from donating this often is that you receive a mini-physical once every two months.

* About 133,700 units of blood products are transfused at Mayo Clinic annually.

* Whole blood donation only takes approximately 45 to 60 minutes.

* On average, a hip replacement typically uses one unit of blood, a cardiac bypass
2 units, a heart transplant 2 units, and a liver transplant 10 units!

* Blood cannot be manufactured. It can only come as a gift from people.

* The need for blood increases during holidays and summer months. People are more apt to be traveling and active during these times and thus are at an increased risk for accidents.

* Statistics show that 25 percent or more of us will require blood at least once in our lifetime.

* The Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Program has to buy nearly a quarter (25%) of its blood products from the American Red Cross to help meet the needs of our patients and to prevent postponing surgeries.

So get out there and donate guys!

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