Recently I made my 31st donation to the NZ Blood Service.
In fact only the first six or so were blood per se; I found that I could circumvent the painfully long, but apparently necessary for maintaining my own health, quarterly donation intervals, thereby raising my overall donor tally more quickly, by letting some plasma across the other two months – therefore for example, December: whole blood, January: plasma, February: plasma, March: whole blood, April: back to plasma, and so on.
Much as the nurses at the blood bank frowned upon this practise of mixing donation variety they did find my boundless enthusiasm and inexplicable – if not unnerving – penchant for giving up bodily fluids a difficult passion to stymie.
It was only once I was beseechingly told that, while half a litre of O-positive whole blood every three months is certainly useful, if that one month in three instead produced another 750 millilitres of plasma it would be several hundred percent better, that I became strictly a monthly plasma donor.
They don’t pay me as such – as well as treating donors to a bottomless supply of tea or coffee complemented with a superb selection of chocolate and other sugar-infused biscuits, rewards have included, a (self-promoting) key ring, a (self-promoting) water bottle, a (self-promoting) T-shirt, and the biggest one, acknowledging donation number 25, a flash as (self-promoting) umbrella – which I took home and promptly opened inside – along with the greatest reward of all…
A big old certificate assuring me that of all I’ve taken from New Zealand, I’ve given back a fair bit, too.
Article by Tim Walker
Edited by Gav Bach
Photography by Gav Blood