Monday, April 25, 2011

Giving blood

Today I will have my first experience ever of donating blood:  I'm donating it for my own use when I have knee surgery three weeks from today.  
There have been many times I wished I could donate blood for someone, but it wasn't allowed:  I once had hepatitis A.

"Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus. Hepatitis A is one of several types of hepatitis viruses that cause inflammation that affects your liver's ability to function.You're most likely to contract hepatitis A from contaminated food or water or from close contact with someone who's already infected. Mild cases of hepatitis A don't require treatment, and most people who are infected recover completely with no permanent liver damage.Practicing good hygiene — including washing your hands often — is one of the best ways to protect against hepatitis A. Effective vaccines are available for people who are most at risk."
I didn't even know I had it until after the fact; I never got very sick, and wouldn't have figured it out except that as newlyweds, we went camping and Cliff spent the whole time in the tent, vomiting.  When we got home he went to the doctor, who looked at his yellow eyeballs, asked him a couple questions about his red urine, and said, "It sounds like you have hepatitis; Who were you with four weeks ago that could have given this to you?"Well, as it turned out, I was the culprit.  We recalled that one Sunday when we went to my parents' house for dinner my mom had exclaimed, "Look at the whites of your eyes!  They're just as yellow as can be."  She mentioned that my skin, too, had a yellow cast.  I had an constant uncomfortable feeling in the pit of my stomach at the time, but since I was slightly pregnant, I figured that was the cause.    
Although my case of hepatitis was mild, Cliff's was scary-awful; the doctor wanted to hospitalize him, but we didn't have insurance and Cliff begged out of it.  I didn't know anybody could upchuck that much for so long, and it seemed like it took him forever to recover.  To this day, there is no medication to take for hepatitis.  
By the way, we've all heard of certain diseases a person can "catch from the toilet", and some of those stories are myths.  But any doctor will tell you that you can, indeed, get hepatitis from the germs in a public facility; this is another reason why you should wash your hands after using the rest room.  You can also get hepatitis A from eating contaminated food in a restaurant; all-you-can-eat buffet, anyone?  
So today, for the first time, I'm giving blood.  For myself.  And I'll be charged the same price as if it I were using somebody else's blood.  
The trouble with having had hepatitis A is this:  When you mention you've had hepatitis, doctors tend to freeze in place as though you said, "I have leprosy."  Then they carefully quiz you until they are 100% sure it was the "A" variety of hepatits that you had, because they don't want to mess with someone whose had the other varieties.          


  1. Lindie7:45 AM

    The only time I ever received a transfusion was many years ago when I gave birth to my first child. I have had many surgeries since then and never needed a transfusion and you most likely won't either. I don't think I can give blood since I take so many types of medications. I should ask my doctor that. I have a friend who has the most rare blood type and she donates every few months.

  2. Once again I've learned my something NEW for today from you. Who knew they would make you pay for using your own blood. I always thought that was why people gave blood before having a surgery. I hope all goes well for you today.

  3. Good luck on your surgry. I have a friend who had knee surgry and is back to riding horses. The physical therapy seems to be the hardest and most important part. I'm told the results are great and wish they had done it sooner.

  4. It seems like it should be cheaper though; I know they have to charge for giving you the blood, but the blood itself should be free. I've had the Hep A shot and booster(when I went to Africa) so I won't get it. The other kinds scare me way more.

  5. Yikes. Good luck on your surgery. I have no doubt you'll be up and around in no time. And hey, at least you know whose blood you'll be getting!

  6. I guess I missed the post where you said you decided to have this done. Good for you. I hope it goes smoothly. I am sure you have done all the research : )

  7. Glad that you are able to use your own blood. Helen

  8. I knew there had to be some reason I despise public restrooms. I have very low blood platelets so I don't think I could donate but my youngest daughter used to donate regularly when she worked for the IRS. See they are good for something.

  9. Hope the experience of donating was good. I'm glad you'll have some of your own blood for surgery if you need it. I had a transfusion once and it helped save my life.

  10. Glad you are using your own blood. If I needed a surgery I would do the same thing. I didn't know that much about hepatitis so learned some things today. Is that what the Judd's mother has? I know she was very sick but is doing fine now.

    Are you having any flooding? I heard on the news that Missouri was getting something so was hoping it wasn't in your area.


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