While working out early on the elliptical at the Coastal Fitness gym, Hannah gets a call that her noon blood donation appointment is cancelled; an appointment, I might add, that was set up two months ago. The rep from the American Red Cross leaves a message that they overbooked and he will help her schedule a new appointment. What! Overbooked! Bummed, I jump into action for my lady.
Since Hannah’s spasmodic dysphonia makes it difficult to be heard on the phone, I call to found out what the hell! and am ready to cancel my appointment, since we give blood together every eight weeks. When I get the ARC staffer on the phone who had cancelled Hannah’s appointment, he tells me that one worker called in sick. Now, that is totally understandable and a good reason to cancel an appointment. Just tell us the truth. We can handle the truth (in most cases).
When I mention that my appointment wasn’t cancelled, he seems surprised since he responds that he tries to cancel couples at the same time; he just didn’t notice my name. Really! Hannah and I both had 12 noon appointments and we both share the uncommon last name of Rothermel.
Possibly because my tone was insistent, not belligerent or snarky, he adds that he usually gives himself the leeway of an extra appointment slot. So, he gives Hannah back her original appointment.
For that, I thank him. I’m a helluva guy, oui?
You see, I prep for our blood donations like a ninja warrior. I feast on Hannah’s kale casseroles, pop dried apricots, breakfast on fortified with iron Special K cereal swimming in almond milk, and spread raisins in my oatmeal, all rich in iron. As not a hard meat eater (i.e. no steak, prime rib, or roast beef), I need all the help I can get to reach the necessary hemoglobin level (iron) to qualify to give blood.
Required to wear masks, we arrive at Kittery Community Center to have our temperatures taken. We both pass with 98.4.
ARC setting up for business at the Kittery Community Center; it turns out it is where Hannah and I learned to play pickleball
Having answered the required 40 questions online earlier in the morning, we are ready for further medical checks. I pass the first two tests as my blood pressure is 110/64 and my pulse at 68. Now for the always dicey hemoglobin test.
The phlebotomist pricks the middle finger on my right hand, puts the blood in a slide, and sets it in her machine. Males need 13.0 while females need 12.5. Intently watching the machine, I am stunned, nay floored, that I come up with a 12.0. All that prep for naught.
But the ARC does allow a second hemoglobin test. As I wait the ten seconds after blood is taken from my left hand, I see… wait for it… Boom 13.9! What explains the variability of blood taken from different hands? Why is the blood on my left side iron-laden while the right is anemic?
In any event, I am approved and whisked to the table to offer up some of my finest A+ blood. All the while, Hannah flies through her medical questions without a hiccup. And does the ARC ever love Hannah! For she is O+, the universal donor. Everyone in need of a blood transfusion can use her blood.
After five minutes of flow, the needle is removed from my right arm. It’s my 29th pint. Hannah, a grizzled veteran and rock star in the blood giving game, comes in with, what I am guessing is a York County record of 110 pints!
The phlebotomist encourages me to double up on my fluids and do no heavy lifting for the next four to five hours. She adds that my blood will be tested for Covid antibodies.
Whoa! I had no idea that I’d get a test for the coronavirus. How cool is that! I’ll know the results in seven to ten days.
With no symptoms for the past seven months since the coronavirus came to America in January 2020, I am guessing I will have no Covid antibodies. But what if I did!
That would mean I had the coronavirus and was asymptomatic throughout. Am I immune to further Covid infection and of transmitting the virus?
Stay tuned. I’ll post my Covid antibodies results Monday.