Most people know about the different types of blood… A, B, AB, and O… positive and negative. This all has to do with the antigens that are found on your red blood cells, making certain people compatible with others.
As someone with AB+ blood, that means that I have all of the possible antigens in my blood: A, B, and the (+) indicates that I also have the Rh factor, a third type of antigen. This also means that I can, in theory, receive blood from every blood type: A, B, AB, or O and (+) or (-). I am the universal recipient.
You have probably seen characters screaming for “X units of O neg” on a medical drama — this is because in an emergency, if a patient’s blood type is unknown, O- blood contains none of the antigens listed above, and it’s relatively safe to mix with an unknown blood type. This is the universal donor.
That said, the best possible match will always come from a donor who matches the recipient’s blood most closely, both in terms of type and ethnicity of the donor. This is why, regardless of your blood type, you should always donate (assuming that you can), especially if you have a rarer blood type (AB+/- = ~5% of the population).
So now that we have that squared away… CMV.
CMV = cytomegalovirus. It’s a common flu-like virus in the same family as more well-known viruses like chickenpox and mono. By adulthood, approximately 50% of the population will come into contact with the virus and test CMV+ and by age 40, approximately 80% of the population will be CMV+… so most people have antibodies for it. The antibodies don’t matter so much as the fact that the virus can also remain dormant in the blood long after the donor is exposed to it, making a blood transfusion from someone with CMV+ blood very dangerous (and potentially fatal) for individuals with new or compromised immune systems.
Babies are the most common recipients of CMV- blood, but people with weakened immune systems are also commonly in need (think people undergoing chemo, receiving transplants, who are HIV+, etc).
My mom is CMV- like me, and she has been called a few times to donate directly to a newborn who matched her and was in immediate need of blood/platelets. CMV- blood is a very real need, and most people aren’t aware of it.
While your CMV status can obviously change over time, for now I am CMV- and AB+, which makes my blood very rare and very special, indeed, so I will just keep on draining myself every 56 days (or however often my iron levels will allow).
I pinched a nerve in my low back yesterday while running (lolol—YAY!), so I took today off in order to earn some Cheez-Its, and earn them I did!
New PR, y’all.
- 1 pint.
- 3.28 oz/min.
Bested myself by 3:36.
Phleb: How do you feel?
Phleb: [doubles over in laughter]
Me: Is that not a normal response from donors?
Phleb: [in between laughs] No, not at all.
Me: So what, people just pretend to feel fine, stand up, and then pass out?
Phleb: Yes. All the time.
Me: Well you just took a pint of my blood! I’d rather not concuss myself, too. I have enough working against me.
Phleb: Valid point.
Then she reclined my legs for me, cracked a couple of ice packs and placed them on my pressure points, and sat with me until I felt good enough to go grab a snack.
Before I got up, she told me that my bandage needed to be fancier, and she made me a bow for it.
10/10. A+ care. Would drain myself again for the betterment of others again.
[In all seriousness, accidents tend to increase in the summer months, so the need for blood also increases. If you’ve got a moment to spare on a rest day, you should go have someone stick you… assuming you’re eligible. You should be doubly quick to get yourself to a donor center if you’re CMV- like me! Because babies, cancer patients, and otherwise immunocompromised individuals in need of blood will love you extra.]
Tried to give blood. Was doubly thwarted by my iron. AGAIN. Only two times I’ve ever been turned away.
Oh well. According to the phlebotomist, my iron is in the “healthy” range, but it also happens to be just BARELY too low to donate today.
I blame my uterus.
I just wanted some free Cheez-Its.
|Lady:||This can't be right.|
|Lady:||Your heart rate is really low and somewhat irregular.|
|Me:||I run a bunch, which would explain the low heart rate.|
|Lady:||I'm going to check it again for a full minute.|
|Lady:||You have like... 3 slow beats followed by 3 faster beats. Has anyone ever told you that before?|
|Me:||No, but I ran a marathon (#humblebrag) two days ago...|
|Lady:||Hmm... It happened 8 times in a minute.|
|Me:||Should I be freaking out?|
|Lady:||I don't think so... OH. This tells me that less than 10 irregular beats is normal in athletes. I should have asked you that the first time around.|
|Me:||*thinks to self* HEY, YEAH. I'M AN ATHLETE. Also, learn your shit. You scared the crap out of me.|
Go donate blood. Certain types (mine included) are at emergency levels in the Bay State.
Sadly, I can’t donate for a couple of weeks yet, but I’m scheduled for November 8th. Kate donated recently, and I got a little jelly. :D
Every donation can save up to three lives.
If you care about the fight against cancer but can’t afford to make a donation, this is the perfect way to show your support.
After getting lost and arriving 35 minutes late, I finally got my blood on.
I know Red Cross has some questionable restrictions (the whole European mad cow disease thing, sex with an African, sex with a man who’s had sex with another man [or simply sex with a man if you are a man], being “underweight”, et cetera), but I can’t stress how important donating is if you are able. Here are some facts about your potential blood donation:
- There are four types of transfusable products that can be derived from blood: red cells, platelets, plasma and cryoprecipitate. Typically, two or three of these are produced from a pint of donated whole blood – hence each donation can help save up to three lives.
- Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood.
- More than 38,000 blood donations are needed every day.
- The blood type most often requested by hospitals is Type O.
- More than 1 million new people are diagnosed with cancer each year. Many of them will need blood, sometimes daily, during their chemotherapy treatment.
- A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood.
- Type O-negative blood (red cells) can be transfused to patients of all blood types. It is always in great demand and often in short supply.
- Type AB-positive plasma can be transfused to patients of all other blood types. AB plasma is also usually in short supply.
I’m AB+, and often people with my blood type don’t see the point in donating (we’re the universal recipient), but it’s incredibly important! It’s always better to have an exact match, which is especially hard to do with rarer blood types.
If you’ve tried and were turned away or were physically unable, I understand. But if you’re healthy, fit the Red Cross’s semi-insane requirements, and have never tried before, what’s holding you back? For most people, it’s a quick and painless process, though I admit to being tortured by a rogue needle and have passed out at the snack table. And look! I’m still here. No lasting harm, no foul.
Okay, off of my soapbox now. :)
Slow runner, slow bleeder.
That means that I am ~1 week overdue. THE HORROR!
Off to donate blood like a champ.
When was the last time you donated?
Why, thank you, Ms. Needle Sticker!
Just donated blood, so I’m feeling like a champ.
Run slow, bleed slow - that’s my motto for life. Running slow is just how I roll - can’t help it at the moment. Bleeding slow may mean more time on the table, but it also means that in event that I suffer a severe laceration or puncture wound, I won’t bleed out in 2 seconds!
Another memorable Ms. Needle Sticker quote: “Oh, you’re a squirter.”
Gosh, you know how to make a girl blush.