It seems there is a blood donation drive on campus every month. Both the Red Cross and the Oklahoma Blood Institute show up for the drives (but not at the same time). Today's visit was by OBI. Being that they were setup in the Student Union Starlight Terrace right across from my office, I decided to use my lunch break to donate blood.
Instead of just a normal visit for blood donation, when a donor simply "bleeds into a bag", I opted for an apheresis donation.
From OBI's web site:
Apheresis (a-fe-REE-sis) is a special automated type of blood donation that involves collecting whole blood from a donor, but instead of separating components in the lab, the components are automatically separated online while you donate. Since the majority of patients are treated with only one particular blood component, an apheresis donation is more efficient and beneficial to the donor. Apheresis allows a single donor to provide more of the single component needed by a patient. By reducing the number of donors needed to meet a patient's need, the chances of a patient reaction or rejection are decreased.
This process took a little more time than normal - I was hooked up for about 35 minutes, as opposed to my normal donation time of 12-15 minutes. However, considering the result (... allows a single donor to provide more of the single component needed by a patient), the extra time is worth it.
I don't know where/when tradition of giving t-shirts to blood donors started, but the image above is the shirt that was being handed out today. I've got a few other donor shirts at home, and even had one on the day I broke my leg (which later lead to the amputation).
The nurses at the ER went to extreme lengths not to cut that shirt off, since they said they like people to wear donor shirts to get the word out to donate blood. And, after the fifteen (15) units of blood I received in 2001, I am grateful for blood donors as well.
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