14 April 2010

THAT is what makes it all worth while

I have been feeling pretty good in the last 24 hours. I do not wish for what I am about to relate to be seen as something extraordinary; I do not wish to blow my own little trumpet; but yes, I do feel good. Because things have come full circle, in a nice, quiet and very unexpected way.

It all started in April two years. Only a few weeks after Cathal’s birth, still under the shock of the diagnosis of Down Syndrome, and the diagnosis of his very sick little heart. As I was coming home after seeing him in the hospital only a couple of days after his first heart surgery, I saw a poster advertising for a blood donation clinic. And I thought to myself: “if Cathal had needed blood during this surgery, if he needs blood for the big open heart surgery that is still to come, someone has to give it. So why don’t I give blood too?” I felt so helpless at the time, this was the only concrete, useful thing I could do.

So I did. It was so easy, that even ME, the very squeamish one, could do it – a previous post tells that story here.

And in the back of my mind I hoped that, against all odds, a child might beneficiate from my own donation.

Yesterday evening I attended a blood clinic, as I now do every 3 months or so. I was just finishing the pre-donation screening process when the nurse started saying “hummm... yes... hummm...” while checking her computer screen, my filled-in and by now signed and witnessed questionnaire, my records. Then she excused herself, went off, came back with a doctor who had a quick chat with me, checked the form, then nodded and said: “yes, I agree”. And then he went off... I was seriously starting to wonder if there was something wrong when the nurse said: “it’s all good, you can donate... And you might like to know, your blood is going to a baby.”

What was that?

I mean, I did not think we could know to whom it is being given. I thought it was going in storage to be used when needed

She then explained that they had just received an urgent request for four or five units of blood type O+ for a baby going for surgery, and my donation would be one of those units. She put a special mark on the form and on the ID labels, and that mark indeed followed me and then my little bag of blood once the donation was made.

I have since done a bit of research – it helps to work with a nurse who has experience of these things - and it turns out that, although blood has a shelf life of about 1 month, the longer it is stored, the more it deteriorates. So when a very young child needs a transfusion, priority is given to “fresh” blood (or as my colleague put it “hot” blood) donated only a few hours before, so the child has all chances stacked in his or her favour.

My little, back-of-the-mind, secret wish has come true. Full Circle.

I do feel good! And I hope this child, whoever he or she is, is doing well.

PS: I have some serious catching up to do, what with 2 awards received in the last 2 weeks or so, and me lazying around and not coming up to the challenge??? OK, another few days and I’ll get on it, I swear!


Mel said...

What a great story. I really should look into this, especially as I am O-.

Kelly said...

How wonderful! Sometimes it's nice to step outside our (squeamish, I am too) comfort zones to give to those in need. And how rewarding knowing that you helped save a life:) Thanks for sharing this story!

Jeffrey Goble said...

Some people will go out of their way to be called a "Hot Blooded Mama." ;^)>
What a great bit of karma.

Syncopa said...

Oh, Wow! What a great feeling, and oh, how I enjoy the fact that you got your wish! Best wishes for that baby from me, too.

jazzygal said...

Nice story Nan P. How special to know where your blood went....and to a special little baby too :)

Well done "Hot Blood"!! xx Jazzy

Cheri said...

Ohhh that is really neat!

Anonymous said...

Not only did you donate blood but tremendous love and positive regard........you have done something very special welldone.