Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Blood Donation #100

After being delayed since last August, I finally reached the milestone of my 100th blood donation this morning. I was hoping that everything would be OK....especially with being over-tired from holiday and work demands, and sick people all over the place at work (stomach virus, colds, etc.) But I showed up at the 6:45 appointed time (after eating a hearty omelet from the cafeteria) and everything proceeded flawlessly: hemoglobin 14.8 (excellent), BP 108 over 78 (awesome), and I was still able to answer "NO" to the question that always makes me chuckle: "Have you had sex with a male who's had sex with another male for money or drugs since 1978?" I guess the regulations say they must ask these questions each time, but geez, after 100 donations, do you think I can skip the questions from here on in?

"Hop up in this comfy chair, Ruth and let's take a look at that vein." Normally I request my right arm because it's a much better vein, but this room was set up for a left arm draw and the technician decided the vein looked OK to her.

Donating blood is easy--I just never look at my arm or the needle. I just keep squeezing the little squishy thing in my hand and chatting about what's going on down at Mayo Clinic since I left there 7 years ago. Today we reminisced about all that's changed with blood donations since I gave my first pint in 1978. When I first started donating, we got paid $25 for each unit. That was pretty neat--$25 went a long way back in 1978--I could fill up the gas tank in my little Hornet Sportabout Wagon two times for $25! Mayo also used to give the donors a little shot of lidocaine to numb the area where that big bore needle was stuck in--that's gone by the wayside too.

After my Sissy got her RN degree, her first job at Mayo was in the Blood Bank. It worked out well that the week she was to start drawing donors, I was able to schedule a donation for myself, so I got to be one of the first donors she drew.

Here's my 100th unit of (A+) blood--ready to go and help a patient at one of the hospitals in Rochester.

Mayo also gives a special gift to donors who've reached the 100 Unit milestone. Unfortunately at the IBM donor center, they were all out of gifts today, so my technician made a call downtown to arrange for my gift to be delivered out to IBM. When I got back from dinner break, there was a message on my phone from Sean asking me to come down to the donor center at 1:30 so he could give me my gift. Wow, how pretty--wrapped and everything!

Here it is....a pretty little desk clock, commemorating my achievement.

I like donating blood....they always have free cookies and beverages! Of course, the fact that my unit of blood can benefit so many people in a multitude of ways is pretty cool too!


Robin (Bumblebee) said...

This is wonderful Ruthie! Good for you! (And great pix too!) How long did it take you to get to 100?

Reminds me of when I was dating Harry. I regularly donated blood cause they always needed O negative and made sure to call so I kept my appointment. I convinced Harry to come along, although he was very reluctant since he had never given blood before.

It was xmas time and, sure enough, the television news crews were out doing their annual "give blood" story. When they saw Harry in his Navy officer uniform giving blood they were ALL OVER him. Of course, he shows up on the evening news talking nonchalantly about how important it is to give blood regularly. HAH! What a poser!

Anyway, excellent post. Reminds me I need to get back in the habit...

--Robin (Bumblebee)

Lynne said...

Hurray Ruthie!!!

I'm a Medical Technologist and work in the blood bank of a trauma center hospital and I surely do understand the value of the generous gift of donated blood. A gunshot victim came in on my last night shift and used many blood products- including packed red blood cells, platelets, fresh frozen plasma and cryoprecipitate.
I've never known anyone who's donated 100 units of blood.

You are my hero Ruthie!!!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I give blood semi-regularly. I sometimes show up as anemic. At least for their blood drawing purposes. I think it a great thing. My DB also gives regularly. Such a simple yeat important thing to do.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Robin,
You're O-Neg!! I'm so jealous. My mom's an O-Pos and I wish I was an O, but I guess A is the next best thing.
It's taken me since 1978 to get to 100 units. I would've gotten there sooner but every time I got a new tattoo it was an automatic 1-year deferral; the hysterectomy was a 1-year deferral, and a lot of times prior to the surgery, I was close to anemic and couldn't donate either, so altogether there was probably at least 6 years when I couldn't donate.
"Harry the Poser" -- that was hilarious -- I can just see you in the background rolling your eyes....

Hi Lynne,
I knew you would appreciate this story as I remember you worked in the lab and also that you encouraged us all to donate blood after the bridge collapse.

Hi Lisa,
I always make them check the hemoglobin first because mine still is low sometimes (I try to eat more venison steaks and broccoli in the week before my donation). My spousal unit donates about once a year and those girls always make such a big fuss over him. He has huge veins and his pint bag is full in about 7 minutes.

Trixie said...

EXCELLENT! You deserve more than a clock. I was well into my third gallon when I was told I could no longer donate. Sigh.... They are worried with Hughes Syndrome, that I will have a clot or stroke or something. Now, if I could just get the DH to pick up the mantle. Otherwise, I am going to have to wait for Z to reach the right size and age.

Ruth said...

Hi Ruthie...good for you! I used to donate blood when I was a university student. The Red Cross clinic was on campus but I have not been near a convenient clinic since. Does your workplace have a clinic? In Canada there is no payment for blood donations, but that may be a good thing.

Anonymous said...

Yea! You made 100 pints of donated blood, that is quite a feat. You know I give only at the Red Cross Blood Moblile that comes a few times a year in our area. I've given a lot with time out for a year for surgeries, 3 hands, 3 hips, 1 knee, 1 hysterectomy and some others. I can't give until next October, I wish they didn't make you wait so long. My hemoglobin is always good and so is my blood pressure 90 over 60. I've only fainted once.

Mary said...

Ruthie! Congratulations! I'll probably never reach your milestone. For many years when I was in my early twenties, I didn't weigh enough to give blood (can you imagine that?) Now I give twice a year when Red Cross visits the college. It's no big deal. I did nearly fall of the stretcher once and needed a transfusion. Just joking. A little OJ helped me out the door.

I'm impressed with your dedication. What a lovely clock.

You go!

Jayne said...

Congratulations Ruthie!!! I also used to give several times a year, but have only one decent vein in my left arm. It's starting to look like I am a bit of a So, I decided to take a break for a while.

Blood donation is so very important. I think I am up to around 9 gallons or so over the years. Years ago, I also singed up for the Marrow Donor Program though our local blood bank. I'd love to be a match for someone someday.

Richard said...

WTG Ruthie. 12.5 gallons and still going. You're my new hero.

Richard said...

And we got a bonus too. A couple of good pictures of you.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Trixie,
I bet you were a good & faithful donor too, but it's good they have your best health interest covered.

I had a heckuva time convincing my spousal unit to donate blood. He didn't give his first unit until 2 years ago! He just hates to take the time to sit still for any length of time.

Hi Ruth,
I'm fortunate that my workplace has a small blood donation area (2 chairs). I think there were enough people here who wanted to donate, but couldn't make it downtown to Mayo during their hours of operation.
I think it wasn't clear in my post, but we don't get paid for blood donations anymore either--that was discontinued in the early 80's.

Hi Mom,
Yeah, you've had a lot of things to defer you from donating too. A year is a long time for each of the surgeries you've had. I think if you faint at Mayo, they put you on a permanent deferral.

Hi Mare,
I have never had the underweight problem!! :-0
In fact, yesterday the technician didn't even ask me if I weigh over 100 lbs. (I guess it's too obvious!)
It's nice when you can donate right at the workplace--makes it much easier than having to schedule and drive somewhere.

Hi Jayne,
I'm signed up for that Bone Marrow Donor Transplant program too! I think I signed up 6 or 7 years ago, but have never gotten a call yet as a matching donor.

Hi Richard,
I can donate every 8 weeks--at least there's one benefit to being a boring, clean-living, overweight, Midwestern girl! Onward to 13 gallons!
BTW, we get a pin for each gallon we donate too. I'll have to ask the next time I go what's the highest gallon pin they've ever given out.

Larry said...

Good for you Ruth.-It's great that you're willing to do that.-I've only given blood a few times.

Larry said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Meggie said...

Ruthie: What an awesome achievement...100 units of blood! Such a wonderful gift!