Friday, 6 January 2012

The Blood is The Life

I am pierced and tattooed. I have suspended from hooks that were pierced through the skin on my back.  And yet, I have this tremendous phobia - I can't bear the idea of someone sticking a needle in my vein and either sucking out, or injecting fluids.

Whenever I go to the dentist, I'm in tears. Literally.  If I need to have blood taken, I'm in tears.  And if I need to get vaccinated, I'm in tears.

And yet, I plan to donate blood as soon as I can.

The thought has been running through my head for quite a few months now - it seems like the fact that my Creature might someday need a blood transfusion has done the trick for me.  I've made him/her my Number 1 priority - so I am willing to face my fears in order to help him - and anyone else whose life might depend on a pint of my lifejuice.

For the past 3 days, there have been articles published on local newspapers trying to bring to everyone's attention that BLOOD IS URGENTLY NEEDED - in particular Type O Positive and Type O Negative.  Much to my horror, on the first article I read there were people posting comments as to why they are "boycotting the system" and "refuse to donate blood".  Three days later - and no one has answered to the appeals.

SERIOUSLY?! Are you really willing to allow another person to die just because you want to defy the system?! What sort of person are you??

Yes, there are some restrictions which are archaic and stupid within the blood donation system.  In fact, I am hoping that I will be allowed to donate blood.  I'm O Positive - meaning I'm a Universal Donor.

I'll briefly explain the differences in blood types:

There are 4 blood types - and each blood type can be said to be either positive [ +ve] or negative [-ve].  These are Type A +ve/-ve, Type B +ve/-ve, Type AB +ve/-ve and Type O +ve/-ve. 

  • Blood group AB individuals have both A and B antigens on the surface of their RBCs, and their blood plasma does not contain any antibodies against either A or B antigen. Therefore, an individual with type AB blood can receive blood from any group (with AB being preferable), but can donate blood only to another type AB individual.
  • Blood group A individuals have the A antigen on the surface of their RBCs, and blood serum containing IgM antibodies against the B antigen. Therefore, a group A individual can receive blood only from individuals of groups A or O (with A being preferable), and can donate blood to individuals with type A or AB.
  • Blood group B individuals have the B antigen on the surface of their Red Blood Cells [RBCs], and blood serum containing IgM antibodies against the A antigen. Therefore, a group B individual can receive blood only from individuals of groups B or O (with B being preferable), and can donate blood to individuals with type B or AB.
  • Blood group O (or blood group zero in some countries) individuals do not have either A or B antigens on the surface of their RBCs, but their blood serum contains IgM anti-A and anti-B antibodies against the A and B blood group antigens. Therefore, a group O individual can receive blood only from a group O individual, but can donate blood to individuals of any ABO blood group (i.e., A, B, O or AB). If a patient in a hospital situation were to need a blood transfusion in an emergency, and if the time taken to process the recipient's blood would cause a detrimental delay, O Negative blood can be issued.
- quoted from Wikipedia

So, what does +ve and -ve mean?
This refers to something called the Rh [Rhesus] blood group system.

Wikipedia describes it as follows:

"The system (including the Rh factor) is one of thirty current human blood group systems. Clinically, it is the most important blood group system after ABO. At Present, the Rh blood group system consists of 50 defined blood-group antigens, among which the 5 antigens D, C, c, E, and e are the most important. The commonly-used terms Rh factor, Rh positive and Rh negative refer to the D antigen only. Besides its role in blood transfusion, the Rh blood group system, the D antigen, in particular, is a relevant cause of the hemolytic disease of the newborn or erythroblastosis fetalis for which prevention is key."

How is this relevant to my pregnancy?
If you notice the last sentence in the above paragraph, it is quite important actually! Hemolytic Disease of the newborn or Erythroblastosis Fetalis occurs when there is an incompatibility between the blood types of the mother and the fetus. There is also potential incompatibility if the mother is Rh negative and the father is positive. When any incompatibility is detected, the mother receives an injection at 28 weeks gestation and at birth to avoid the development of antibodies toward the fetus. These terms do not indicate which specific antigen-antibody incompatibility is implicated. The disorder in the fetus due to Rh D incompatibility is known as erythroblastosis fetalis.

The above explanation is extracted from Wikipedia - for more details, clicky here.

How do I know whether I can donate blood in Malta?
Most of the information you need can be found here.  There may be restrictions not listed on the website [sexual orientation, stupidly enough, being one of them] - however there is no harm in trying to donate.

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