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Saturday January 1, 2022
Long ago, I read an article about doing a year-end review. It said that if you could look back over the last year and find three good things to celebrate, you’ve had a good year.
As I recall, that had not been a particularly good year. I felt more inclined to focus on all the things that had gone badly. No need to go into details.
Every year since then, I have deliberately and consciously made the effort to list the good things that made the year memorable.
This year, one good thing particularly stands out for me. I became a plasma donor.
Categories: Sharp Edges
Tags: blood, plasma, donor
Sunday July 4, 2021
I wanted to be the first person to donate blood plasma at the new Donor Centre in Orchard Park.
Over the 12 years that my wife Joan had leukemia, she received a plasma transfusion every month. She had no immune system left. So she needed what they called intravenous-immunoglobulin, IV-IG for short. It comes from blood plasma.
Plasma is the clear fluid left after a centrifuge filters out all the solid stuff circulating in your blood stream – red cells, white cells, platelets, etc.
In Joan’s case, she needed the antibodies that she couldn’t produce for herself. It can take 1,000 plasma donations to get the right mix of antibodies for particular needs.
Twelve years, at 12 transfusions a year, times 1,000 donors, meant that I owed a debt of gratitude to around 144,000 people for keeping my wife alive.
Tags: Canadian Blood services, plasma, blood donations
My wife would probably be dead by now, if it weren’t for blood donors.
I can’t prove that assertion, of course. It’s almost impossible to prove that something didn’t happen, that could have happened. Safety regulations can argue that traffic controls reduce the total number of accidents; they can never claim that they prevented a specific driver from having an accident.
But consider the facts.
Ten years ago, my wife was diagnosed with leukemia. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia, to be precise. In those ten years, she’s had seven different chemotherapies. Six have failed; her white cell counts came down, for a while, but they wouldn’t stay down.
Here’s a vastly oversimplified explanation of a very complicated process....
Categories: Soft Edges
Tags: blood donors, leukemia, immuno-globulin, plasma