I realized that I haven't posted for a while. This is a post that I finished and never posted, from July 17th of last year.
When I was younger, my family participated in community theater a whole lot. We were always auditioning and doing shows. It was a lot of fun.
One of the theaters that we performed at quite a bit is undergoing major renovation. It's going from being a cute little old time theater to a big performing arts center including a diner and old style ice cream bar. (All to the tune of...oh, seven point something million dollars.) Anyway, they've been working on it since before I left on my mission, and it's getting close to being finished. My parents were invited to an open-house/ barbecue with the theater people.
At the event, my parents sat with someone who works at The City of Hope, which is where we donate blood and platelets. She said that lately, there's a major shortage of blood. The Red Cross even approached the City of Hope, asking if they could buy blood from them (usually it's the other way around.)
(As an aside, it turns out blood is quite expensive to process and purchase. I'd always thought it was a matter of $30 per pint, or something...actually, it's about $700 per pint. $100 of it goes to the special plastic bag and tubes and whatnot. Who knew?! )
So mom called to set appointments for us. They asked, did we want to donate blood or platelets? Turned out, they especially want O positive blood. They still really need platelets, too, though, so since we're B positive they preferred our platelets. Fine.
On the way to the hospital, my mother and I saw the coolest thing. It was a 16 wheel truck with nothing on it...just a...flatbed? A long, empty truck. Except! There was a kid's dump truck strapped on. It was funny because it was a huge truck carrying nothing but one child's toy. (Whaaaat....?) Mom said she'd seen one like that a few days ago. Except the one she'd seen had a Big Wheel strapped on. It was bizarre.
So I called the truck company as we were driving next to it. A lady answered. I told her, "Um. We just drove past one of your trucks. It has a toy on the back of it..." She laughed. She explained, "Oh it's just a good luck charm; to get 'em home safely." I thanked her and told her to have a good day. And explained to my mom, since she was curious about it, too. How cute. [Note, 6/28/07 - Mom actually called me this week to tell me she saw another truck with a toy on the back. I forget what they toy was this time, though.]
So we got to the hospital. And I passed all of their exciting tests with flying colors: living in Italy was okay. My iron was okay. In fact, they liked my blood so much that they wanted to take twice as many platelets from me.
Except, see, the way that it works with platelets is, they take blood out of my right arm and put it back in the vein on my left hand. My mom is able to have all of that happen in one needle, on one arm. She explained to me the first time that they did it that they could only do it if you have extra strong veins. If they try to use the one needle system on someone whose veins can't take it, it can collapse or burst or something and cause big problems.
So when they told me that they wanted a double-donation, were going to use one needle, and that they would do it in 75 minutes, it made me nervous. It usually takes me two hours to do one donation.
I spent an intense 75 minutes worrying that my vein was about to explode. I survived, though. And they even gave me a thing for free In-N-Out, for my time. How nice.