Pawgust 2018

This August, Mayo (also known as “dog” on Twitter), Richard (also known as “partner”) and I are taking part in PAWGUST 2018 on behalf of Guide Dogs Australia. During the month of August, we will be walking at least 30 minutes a day for 30 days (that’s roughly 2km every day) to raise vital funds for Guide Dogs and support their puppies currently in training.

Oh. Yeah. This blog hasn’t been updated in forever. There was never mentioning of our buying a house, getting engaged, adopting a dog, growing older but not growing up and so on, huh. Well, there you go. We bought a house in Sydney and went into 30 years of debt, got engaged and are set to marry at the end of the year, and adopted my now-8-years-old, made-to-order, dream female Siberian Husky from the shelter.

Pawgust Selfie
Pawgust Selfie: Mayo really isn’t a fan of the camera

So anyway, this August, my dream dog best puppo ever Mayo and I will be walking 30 minutes a day for 30 days. Pawgust made a whole deal about it being in winter and dogs getting extra walk and all that, but truthfully, both my winter dog and I prefer the cooler season, and she on average already gets 45 minutes a brisk walk a day (two walks on Saturdays). The only effort I’m making is posting adorable-if-I-do-say-so-myself pup pics and asking for donations.

I imagine the donation page will go down some time after the event, so this is the blog post for archive of said adorable pup pics.

But there’s still time to support us! To do so, please visit our Pawgust page and follow the steps! You can remain anonymous and any donation above $2 is tax deductible. Even a few dollars help!

All in Vein

Alternative post title: The Day I Decided to Become a Plasma Donor.

In school, they taught us all the things about blood type compatibility; about antigens on the surface of red blood cells, anti-A / anti-B antibodies, Rh positive / negative, phenotype and genotype, how O- is the universal blood donor, AB+ the universal acceptor, so on and so forth.

My mother was the one who first brought me to a donation centre to donate blood, and over time, helping others via donating blood became my own passion. I’ve been a regular whole blood donor for a while, and donated every 3 months except during the period when I was iron deficient (I was donating regularly and restricting food at the same time; long story). Donors don’t get financially compensated in Australia, but the knowledge that my blood could save three lives, as Red Cross heavily promotes, was enough.

My blood donation centre of choice was the mobile centre near work. They would appear every 3 months, and because my boss also supported the idea, I could often pop out during work for a quick donation. Every time the staff at the mobile centre would make me feel like I was doing the right thing. They would thank me like they personally and directly benefit from my deed.

Blood Donation Jul 2015: Last Whole Blood Donation
Blood Donation Jul 2015: Quite possibly the last whole blood donation

Today, something changed. The finger pricking was done on a painful part of the fingertip. It bruised. Two staff frowned at me and asked if I’d made an appointment (I did), both at interview and the donation chair, and told me they wouldn’t normally take my blood type. They completed the procedure and hurried me along. It was as though I was wasting their time.

I was fully aware of the fact that my AB+ blood is only useful for the also AB+ population, the only ones who could take the blood type transfusion without ill effects. But it was only then, today, a staff handed me a brochure about plasma donation. People with AB+ blood are universal blood recipients because we don’t have anti-A and anti-B antibodies to react to the antigens that may be present on the red blood cells in other blood types, and for the exact reason our plasma has the opposite effect: AB plasma doesn’t contain anti-A and anti-B antibodies and can therefore be received by all blood types. So essentially by donating my full blood the whole time I’ve been wasting their time, my time, and my red blood cells.

ABO Blood Type
ABO Blood Type from the Wikipedia article

I was never taught anything other than blood transfusion in school; the theory was all there but I just never made the connection. Even Mum didn’t seem to know about the “opposite” compatibility until I told her for the first time. In some obscure way, I feel slightly more humble today realising that I apparently could only take AB plasma and nothing else.

But Red Cross really, really has to promote plasma and platelet donations as much as they do whole blood.

I suppose it is more effective to sell one message at a time. I suppose “save 3 lives” is less complicated a message than “make 17 life-saving products”. I suppose most people’s whole blood is far more useful than my own, which I only share with 3% of the world population. I suppose one of the criteria for plasma donation is having successfully donated full blood at least once within the last 2 years. I don’t condone making a donor feel unwelcome (it probably wasn’t even their intention), but I suppose it all worked out in the end.

From the next donation on, I’ll be giving my universally accepted AB plasma. It’s a much longer procedure and one that cannot be done at a mobile donation site, but helping other less fortunate, donating what I can, is my passion.

Today is the day I decided to become a plasma donor.

Australia Day 2015

In true Aussie spirit on this rainy Australia Day, I woke up super fatigued but still crawled out of the bed and eventually the house, and ended up partially helping a lady who spoke no English other than the words “Rockdale”, “Arncliffe” and “thank you” to get to her desired destination, Arncliffe, and later, rewarded myself with lots of protein, fat and sodium, mostly fat and sodium, at Richard’s friend’s barbecue.

Oh shit. What if I completely misunderstood Arncliffe lady and she didn’t actually want to go to Arncliffe?

Oh shit. I’m not even an Aussie. mindblown-alt

I Donated Blood, Oct 2014!

Been a while since I’ve written a blood donation post! (Had another unlogged donation in May.)

This time the snack pack came with the same brand of biscuit and Mars bar, but instead of the crisps like all previous times, I got a bag of pretzels. The lady at the mobile centre was also nice enough to offer to take a picture for me, too. smile