So I gave blood last month (one of those mobile blood donation clinics in a kitted-out trailer) and got a letter in the mail the other day from Mass General Hospital saying that I was part of a "special" group of people who are CMV negative. Cytomegalovirus is apparently not really risky unless you're a tiny baby or a cancer patient or otherwise immunocompromised. It's carried in bodily fluids (e.g. blood and platelets) and between 50 and 80% of the population has had it (it's just like herpes!).
The letter went on to ask me to become part of a special CMV-negative platelet donor group - the program is called Platelet Pheresis and I think I'm going to do it. Giving blood has never bothered me - I don't feel faint or grossed out and I never seem to be anemic; plus you get free cookies and orange peanut butter crackers! And I always rationalize that I've earned the cookies by giving blood and therefore they aren't fattening, they are just helping me replace the lost blood.
Apparently platelet apheresis takes about 2 1/2 hours - they take the blood out of your arm, grab the platelets from it, and return the rest to you. So you can donate every three days if you want. Not like I have that kind of time, especially given that it's about 45 minutes each way to MGH, but they do Saturday mornings once a month and I could totally manage that.
I know I use this blog to gripe a lot but I do realize that I have been super duper lucky, in my circumstances of birth and life to date. I've had all these huge advantages which in turn allowed me to land my nice well-remunerated interesting white collar job - so it would be nice to do something for someone else. Especially little babies and cancer patients! How can you not want to help them out? And I get cookies!
So that will be my high minded post for this year.