Monday, September 24, 2007
Some People Will Do Anything For Free Cookies
First off, can I just say how amazed I am that this is a photo from my cheap ass phone. Remember when...never mind, it'll just date me even more than the Beard of Kilimanjaro you can see above.
That's me, of course, hooked up to a very creepy machine that sucks your blood out and either keeps it or spins it around until the creamy nougat flies off, which it keeps, pumping all the waste products back into your body. Seriously, I don't mind giving blood, but if you're going to take all the good parts, could I at least leave my crappy old byproduct blood behind? How about some plasma from 12 year-old Swedish gymnasts, is that asking too much?
This is like going to Jiffy Lube and getting an Oil Donation instead of an Oil Change. They would suck out your oil and spin it in a centrifuge until all the gunk and metal shards collect at the bottom. Then they skim the top for themselves and pump all the dregs back into your car! Outrageous.
But I guess folks do need it and it is true that there are free cookies. I've even been in the Blood Van (which I believe was one of Big Daddy Roth's inventions) and received free pizza and t-shirts. (The Blood Van is out there on the road, makin' it's own rules.)
If you've never done it before, I'd recommend just giving a pint of whole blood to start off. You're in, you're out and you can start bragging and feeling self righteous in under 20 minutes. After that, step up to platelet donation, which takes longer, but does involve being hooked up to a crazy machine with a lot of spinning pump heads and a fancy monitor, which is sort of a geek high, at least until you realize that all those tubes are filled with your precious bodily fluids.
An easier but more expensive way to trade good deeds now for bad deeds you've done or may do in the future (or, let's face it, are probably doing in basically the present tense) is to sign up to be a bone marrow donor. I just got my donor card in the mail and have already overcharged the karmic bejesus out of it. It costs $50 dollars for a kit. If you are doing this sort of thing to try and bring some moral/ethical balance to your life, at this point you need to weigh your History of Actions against the Cost of Partial Absolution. Those are fancy Conscience Economics 401 terms, I know, but you get my drift. For me, a bargain at twice the price, for others, yet another investment they may never see return. In any case, you do get like six swabs in the kit, with which to swab yourself for DNA! How cool is that? Talk about a geek high...
The really good part about this is it is no longer a painful procedure, I take it, to harvest your bone marrow. Or at least they knock you out now, or something like that. A smaller side benefit is that you will very likely, if called upon to do this, actually, really, no shit save somebody's life.
You do that when you give blood as well (it is singularly cool to be in an emergency room and see someone taking blood down the hall and be able to wonder if that's yours), but it's you and someone else and someone else. With this bone marrow thing, it's like giving someone a kidney, they will die if they don't have new marrow making new blood with a new immune system. (Or other reasons, I'm more interested than educated on this topic, but I know a few regular readers are educated and will chime in if I'm off base.)
I am watching this work on a friend of mine who has cancer, which is why I signed up in the first place. It's remarkable. THough she is still Ubersick, she just had her first clear PET scan in a few years and will probably be able to leave her house, start walking around the city and enjoying life in another couple months. All because some dude (she's not allowed to know who for a few years) swabbed his mouth with six different Q-tips and put them in an envelope.
BTW, if $$$ is a problem, they have ways of getting around that.
So, Heavy Karmic Burden or not, give it a shot, or if you can't (the list of "Do not donate if..." is crazy long) consider helping out with your local blood drive. It's really a lot easier than I thought it would be when I first started and at a quart low, it makes one a really cheap date...