Thursday, September 8, 2011

Blood


Everyone's heard of blood drives. Many have rolled up a sleeve and participated (I have, though I won't be able to ever again.). Some can't participate because of health reasons, while others are afraid of needles. Though it costs nothing, giving blood is a generous donation. Albeit an abstract one. You never see the person whom your blood benefits.

Thus far, I've received around 40 blood product infusions. That's 40 people who helped keep me alive. They did so without knowing me. I wonder if any of them thought about who they might be helping while they watched a nurse jab them with a needle (or looked away).

I wonder who they are. Whose platelets have been swirling through my blood stream?
A burly construction worker? A microbiologist who inserted her own needle? The man who screened my carry-on bag at the airport last week? I wish I knew, so I could thank them.

The result of my blood test Tuesday evening came today. My immunoglobulin level is 459 (the normal range is 640-1400), so no better than my level last week. Tomorrow I will receive the immunoglobulin infusion (IVIG). My doctors believe it will be beneficial for me to have the extra antibodies in my system before I start the Daunorubicin on Monday. Before the infusion tomorrow, my doctor will give me Benadryl to help prevent an allergic reaction and Tylenol to help prevent fever and chills. Since we don't know if I will have any reactions, Rob will be with me until the doctor determines that my body is handling it okay.

The infusion consists of antibodies from thousands of donors. That's a lot of faces to imagine and a lot of people I wish I could thank personally. The only way to thank them is by paying it forward. Unfortunately I will never be able to do so by donating blood.

But maybe the next time someone who knows my story sees a sign for a blood drive or passes a blood bank, she'll think of me and donate to help a person she'll never meet. Better yet, if any of my mom's high school students reads this, maybe they'll get extra credit if they participate in the school's blood drives this year...

Info About Donating Blood