A couple of weeks ago I got matched as a potential donor for a 20 year old male who needs a donor bone marrow transplant. Once you are initially matched, you have to do some further blood testing to see if you are a true match. The likely percentage that you actually are is a depressingly small amount. Our good friend Oliver just recently went through a donor bone marrow transplant and he was the first person I called when I got a call from the registry.
FIRST, I will tell you that you should join the Be The Match Registry. You could save someone’s life by giving something that you won’t even miss and you only need to order a swab kit and send it in to get registered. You should do that right now. I’ll wait. I’m good at waiting. I’m a first grade teacher.
SECOND, now that you’ve registered, I’ll tell you about my blood sampling event today. I had to go to an office for a company that basically just takes blood and urine samples for various reasons and then sends them out to another company for testing. Blood and pee. All day. Blech. Anyway, when you get there you sign in and they had this cool contraption where the paper is in this plastic thing that you pull down a little shade over so it is supposed to be confidential who signed in before you. Luckily for me, the guys who were sitting in there before me didn’t do this so I knew they were in there for drug testing. I really wanted to stare at them and write stories about them in my head, but I didn’t. Mostly because it made me think of the time in high school that I had to get an ultrasound because of a possible hernia and when I was sitting in the ultrasound tech’s waiting room, there was another girl from my high school there. We did not run in the same circles and we just pretended that we didn’t know each other. HOWEVER, what I REALLY wanted to do was to go up to her and say, “No, really. I’m not pregnant. I might have a HERNIA. Not a BABY.” But I didn’t because I just wanted to pretend that she wasn’t there so I did the same for the drug guys.
When it was finally my turn, the girl took me to this back room with this horrifying looking old leather doctor’s chair that was plugged into the wall for an indecipherable reason. I told her it was horrifying. She didn’t make me sit in it. She started taking my blood and we were talking about the registry and I started feeling faint. I do this when I try to give blood. I’m not afraid of needles, but after a while of having that damn needle in me and the blood going out of me, I start feeling like passing out. I told her so. She told me to let her know if it was getting really bad. I yoga breathed my way through it as long as I could, but my body finally just got irritated at my deep breathing and made me break out in a cold sweat and my ears start to ring. I told her it was getting bad, but it was a little slurry. She stopped, (and said we had enough thank God), and got me some water. AND a sucker. I woozed out for a while as she waited to make sure I was okay and then I asked her why that happens to me when my mom has given buckets of blood through blood drives. She said it just has to do with how your body adapts to shock. I asked her if that means that I’d be screwed if I ever get mauled by a bear. She just laughed which means, yes- you would be screwed. It is good to know though, because I’m pretty good with pain and I can punch and run well, so I just know that I’d have to scrap my way out of a bear fight BEFORE it came to the blood thrashing.
Do yourself a favor. Sign up to donate marrow. And find out how you would need to prepare yourself for a bear fight as an added bonus.