Give blood – time #174, or so


bloodI decided to give blood again on January 27 at the high school. I’m not certain how many times I have donated altogether. It may have been 172 times by November 2018. Did I donate in 2019? I KNOW I gave at least once before during the pandemic, also at the high school. So this past event was at least time #174.

As NPR noted, “Some hospitals say they’re rationing blood products.” Nora O’Donnell, the anchor of the CBS Evening News, said she’d donate for the second time as a result of the blood crisis. OK, time to return to the ranks of donors.

The school is in the midst of construction, so I needed a guide from the entrance to the gym annex. I “passed” the medical check-in, with my iron at 15.6, my temp at 98.3, and my BP at 123/73. My pulse was 86, probably based on walking there when the air temperature was about 5F/-15C; the pulse was 57 when I was home. To give blood, it has to be between 50 and 100. I saw two of my daughter’s friends, each donating for the first time.

When I got to the table where I would recline, I told the phlebotomist about how I have had some difficulty donating in the recent past because of the scar tissue that has developed near the veins in both arms. They said, “Do you want a supervisor?” I said, “No, I just wanted you to know.” Nevertheless, I ended up waiting for another person.

This went well because she poked me beneath the vein rather than above. Or something like that. It took the usual five or six minutes – I still have it! I got up from the table…

Plot twist

…when the fire alarm went off. Apparently, this had happened before because Alicia, the LIBRARIAN who was in charge of the school side of things indicated that they were prepared for this scenario. The protocol was that we should stay in place, even as I could see students pouring out of the building into the cold.

In fact, my daughter was incredulous when I replied to her text that we were still inside. Finally, after a fire truck arrived and ascertained the building wasn’t on fire, the students returned to the building even as I was trying to exit it.

I’m planning to donate again in a few months, certainly not waiting as long as I did this last time.

Here’s a real sidebar. When I donated in 2018, I wrote inelegantly on Facebook as though I’d donated 172 times in ONE DAY. I was playfully teased, but one of my Binghamton/Dickinson buddies vigorously came to my defense. Not that it was needed, but it was quite kind.

Damn mad cow

My wife still can’t donate blood because she spent a semester in England in the early 1980s. “In some parts of the world, cattle can get an infectious, fatal brain disease called Mad Cow Disease. In these same locations, humans have started to get a new disease called variant Creutzfeld-Jakob Disease (vCJD) which is also a fatal brain disease. Scientists believe that vCJD is Mad Cow Disease that has somehow transferred to humans, possibly through the food chain.

“There is now evidence from a small number of case reports involving patients and laboratory animal studies that vCJD can be transmitted through transfusion. There is no test for vCJD in humans that could be used to screen blood donors and to protect the blood supply. This means that blood programs must take special precautions to keep vCJD out of the blood supply by not collecting blood from those who have been where this disease is found.

“You are not eligible to donate if, from January 1, 1980, through December 31, 1996, you spent (visited or lived) a cumulative time of 3 months or more, in any country in the United Kingdom (UK)…” Alas.

Gay male donors

But the rules aren’t quite as stubbornly awful towards potential LGBTQ+ donors.

“The FDA guidance Revised Recommendations for Reducing the Risk of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Transmission by Blood and Blood Products’ states, ‘Defer for 3 months from the most recent sexual contact, a man who has had sex with another man during the past 3 months.’ All U.S. blood collection organizations must follow this federal requirement.” At least, this isn’t the rejection of all men who had sex with a man even once since 1977.

“The Red Cross recognizes the hurt this policy has caused to many in the LGBTQ+ community and believes blood donation eligibility should not be determined by methods that are based upon sexual orientation. We are committed to working with partners toward achieving this goal.

“We continue to assist in evaluating alternative donor eligibility criteria and the expanded use of new technologies to work toward the elimination of donor eligibility questions based on sexual orientation that would no longer be necessary. However, as a regulated organization, we cannot unilaterally enact changes concerning the MSM deferral policy.”

A song

Pete Townshend 

Music Throwback Saturday: Fire

Three songs that are all in my collection called Fire, they are very different pieces of music.

October 9-14 this year is Fire Prevention Week in the US, “established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, the tragic 1871 conflagration that killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres. The fire began on October 8, but continued into and did most of its damage on October 9, 1871.”

Each year has a theme. 2016’s theme is Don’t Wait – Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years.

Watching the terrible fires in California, and elsewhere in the western United States, following the severe drought conditions, was sobering. Yet, as is often the case, it also reminded me of music. Specifically of three songs that are all in my collection called Fire, but which are very different pieces of music.

The earliest is a 1968 song, originally credited to Arthur Brown and Vincent Crane, and performed by The Crazy World of Arthur Brown. “The single reached #1 in the UK and in Canada, #2 in the US Billboard charts,” and Top 10 in Germany, France, the Netherlands, Austria, and Ireland.

Though its lack of guitars or bass guitar, relying instead on the Hammond organ, it was considered “an example of the psychedelic rock of the period… Mike Finesilver and Peter Ker successfully sued for co-credit and royalties based on melodic similarities to their song ‘Baby, You’re a Long Way Behind'”, which I’ve never heard. The song was covered on Pete Townshend’s The Iron Man collection.

Fire is ALSO “a hit song by R&B/funk band Ohio Players. The song was the opening track from the album of the same name and hit #1 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and the Hot Soul Singles chart in early 1975. It spent five weeks atop the soul chart. Fire was the Ohio Players’ only entry on the new disco/dance chart, where it peaked at #10. The tune is considered to be the band’s signature song along with Love Rollercoaster.”

Fire is ALSO a song written by Bruce Springsteen in 1977, which did not appear on his June 2, 1978 album release Darkness on the Edge of Town, because of its “inconsistency with Springsteen’s ultimate thematic vision for that album.” But it showed up in the live shows from the period, and as a live single nearly a decade later.

Robert Gordon recorded a version with Link Wray in 1978. But it is the inaugural single by the Pointer Sisters as the trio (Anita, June, and Ruth) that became the big hit: #2 on Billboard Hot 100 (February 1979), #14, and #22 on the magazine’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Adult Contemporary charts, respectively, and #1 in Belgium, the Netherlands, South Africa, and New Zealand, #3 in Canada, #7 in Australia, and #10 in Austria, plus Top 40 in Germany and the UK.

Listen to

Fire – the Crazy World of Arthur Brown HERE or HERE
Fire – Pete Townsend HERE or HERE

Fire – Ohio Players HERE or HERE (album version, I think)

Fire – Bruce Springsteen HERE or a different take HERE
Fire – Robert Gordon and Link Wray HERE or HERE
Fire – Pointer Sisters HERE or HERE

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