52 and counting

I recently reached 52 litres of donated blood.

This time the event took place in Clane, a small but picturesque town some 15 minutes drive from home.

I arrived in Clane with 20 minutes to spare which was a good thing, because of course I couldn’t find the bloody place. Driven by pure logic, I went to the local hospital, where the lady at the reception desk was very surprised to hear that I was looking for a blood donation station. She even called some local chief superintendent, but he went quiet and she explained to me with an apologetic face that not only was there no blood donation centre in the hospital, but she also did not know where to find one.

After leaving the hospital I called the IBTS head office and explained that I had an appointment in Clane in 15 minutes, but I didn’t know where exactly. The lady told me to wait for a while and then explained that it was in the gaclub.

“Sorry, whut?”

“Gaclub, am I not making myself clear?”

“Errrr…”

“There is a gaclub on Prosperous Road, you’ll find it on the map. Goodbye.”

The mysterious gaclub turned out to be the local GAA club, which took me another five minutes to catch; luckily it was almost over the fence, and 5 minutes later I was already parked in the right spot and managed not to be late.

The mobile blood donation station was already waiting for me (I was the first donor that day) and for a start, apart from a standard questionnaire asking about my sexual habits and recent travels (mostly to the living room and kitchen, and to the broom closet at the weekend – everyone needs a bit of exotics), I received a small square box with a decorative gizmo clipped into a piece of cloth pretending to be satin – supposedly a ‘golden blood donor badge’ that the locals give to everyone who donates 20 times. This was my visit number 22 and I seem to have been given one before (as part of visit number 20, which was my last visit before the Covid-19 outbreak), but since that one got lost somewhere and IBTS apparently didn’t register it, they gave me another one now and I gobbled it stone-faced.

When sealing the wound with a plaster (after the haemoglobin test) I made my usual joke: “Don’t you have a Peppa Pig one?” Laughing politely, the man explained with an apologetic face that, although they didn’t have one with Peppa, I could get a lollipop on the way out. This turned out to be gobshite, as there was of course no lollipop at the exit, but I did not want to make a fuss.

Then the ol’ good “Stan, could you come over here, this gentlemen has tricky veins; I can’t do this on my own”. The said Stan (real name known to the editors) came up and told me to pump this rubber toy, after which he inserted the needle without any hesitation, on the first try and without a bruise. 470 millilitres later the nurse arrived, took the kilometre-long needle out of my vein, thanked me, told me to wait three minutes (in case of fainting) and off I went.

So, here I am, with the following:

  • 22 visits of 470 millilitres each in Ireland
  • I came from Poland with a balance of 42+ litres.

Let’s run some sums:

22*470=10340, 10340+42000=52340

Yep, 52+ litres and I’m not planning to stop any time soon. The show must go on.

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