Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Gift of Blood: Our Red Cross Experience

I shared my experience here on being a donor during a blood letting activity of Red Cross.

Recently, my family and I experienced being on the other side of the fence.

My dad got hospitalized last Friday from a recurring illness. I won't dwell on his sickness, maybe some other time when I'm ready. For now I will share our experience of being a Red Cross recipient.

Saturday morning, while we were preparing to go to the hospital, I received a call from my sister that Papa needed 5 bags of type O(+) blood to be transfused and that 1 bag was needed asap. The hospital can only provide us with 1 bag and time was of the essense.

Naturally, we were in panic. Of some sort, that is. We are the type of family that's likely last to panic in a war. So when we're frantic, it's not too obvious. I'm glad I belong to that family, no wasted energy and time on senseless hysteria especially during these time.

Immediately, I texted family and friends who offered to be blood donors and requested them to come to the hospital. A couple of them who we think will pass the first level of screening came. Nevertheless, we were thankful for everyone who espressed concern and extreme generosity. My heart swells with gratitude and you should see my Papa's face when they visited him in his hospital room. He was beaming.

That same morning too, Stephen and I decided to just go straight to Red Cross and prayed to the heavens that we can bring home good news. We practically gate crashed because we can't talk to anyone from their office over the phone. That was the day of Red Cross fun run (which I was supposed to join) so they may be busy.

The Red Cross Port Area facade. This chapter has the blood bank. 

Once we got there, we registered by the guard who gave us instructions on how to reach the Blood Center. It's on the same floor and won't be hard to miss. The blood center, a typical cashier setup with windows for blood request, donation and priority window for dengue patients. Across it is a waiting area surrounded by countless trophies and plaques of the institution secured in glass cases.

Blood Center area. All blood request/donation transactions are done here. 

We went straight to the window for blood request and quickly read the instructions pasted on the window.  We did the first step which was to leave our request form on a plastic tray and said a silent prayer while waiting to be called . The request form came from the hospital with the doctor's orders. No request form, no transaction. I also left my Red Cross donor's card which they to every successful donor during bloodletting activities.

As written at the back of the donor's card, the holder of the card is given priority when in need of blood but it does not excempt him from paying the fees to cover the request. Good enough for me. That card gave me the nerves too to just go straight to their chapter without a prior call.

When they called my father's name, I walked toward the cashier's window. The attendant asked my relation to the patient and said that they have O (+) rbc (red blood cells) but it's leuko reduced and asked if that's okay. *Geez, beats me.* He advised me to call the hospital's blood center and ask, which I dutifully did. The hospital gave it a go. Thank heavens.

I confirmed with the attendant that we will get the 2 bags available and prepared to pay. We actually needed 5 bags but the 2 bags got us through that day. One day at a time, our very apt motto in the coming days.

Each bag costs P1500 so we paid P3000 for the two bags. The blood is actually free but they charge for processing, storing, etc. I also found out that there are other crucial info that we need to know about the blood we need from any blood bank:
- blood type (A, B, AB, O, etc,) and if it's negative or positive
- RBC, WBC (white blood cells)
- for RBC, should it be leuko reduced or plasma.
- no. of bags needed.

I found this site with very helpful information:

Once transaction was settled, the attendant crossed off my blood donation entry from my donor's card which means we're quits. Note to self: need to donate more blood for future use.

Because we were in a rush to get to Red Cross we forgot to bring a cooler for storage during transit from the Port area to the hospital but the attendants gave us a box with a pack of ice. I can't explain how thankful I am for such institution. I hope they get more donors and financial support.

We left the center with so much gratitude in our hearts. As I take a photo of the box, I was thinking: hold on Papa, help is here. God is good.

We went straight for the hospital and submitted the bags of blood to their blood center. Then, we accommodated family member and friends who volunteered to donate blood.

This was our activity for the whole weekend but gladly we got 6 bags by Sunday :) One as back up in case needed before his endoscopy procedure.

As I write this, Papa already underwent endoscopy and he is homeward bound today :)


ZaiZai said...

Really great to hear your dad is well and is going home na :) It is also great to be of help to others, in any means, this one especially - donating blood :)

Swathi Iyer said...

Very touching post Janaki, Yes it is really hard when our love ones are in hospital. Giving blood is very good thing which can't put in words.

janakidiary said...

@ Zai - thanks. he's home na and I hope all goes well.

@swathi - most definitely, especially for our family. blood donation is so much more important than giving money in moments like these.

xoxoMrsMartinez | said...

Hey Jan
Read this just now. I hope your dad is doing ok now. God bless


janakidiary said...

Hi Che, he's much better now but still being monitored at home. Thanks :)

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