At a rough estimate, I have donated platelets, plasma or whole blood over 400 times.
Three weeks ago it was my last donation.
Since losing my car, and still in mourning, I have been determined to get around Auckland without a replacement. Mostly this works fine. Namely, I walk. (Alas, our public transport has not yet been able to meet any of my daily requirements, and is a far cry from proper public transport the likes of which is seen in cities throughout Europe.)
One failing of the Auckland public transport is the inability to provide me with a cheap, quick way of getting to and from the Auckland Blood Donor Centre.
Fortunately, the ever friendly staff at the ABDC were able to provide me with taxi chits as required.
Then, this year, ‘management’ decided they’d stop providing taxi chits to platelet donors. So, for several months now I have come up with complicated arrangements with fellow, often unsuspecting, donors to take me there.
But now I’m out of donors (or specifically donor drivers).
While I could spend around $40 – $60 on a taxi to get me there and back, I feel having to pay for the privilege of being strapped to a plateletpheresis machine for two hours seems odd. Yes, by donating platelets I’m making a valuable contribution to society, and I hope my platelets have saved many lives. And yes, I appreciate committed platelet donors are hard to find.
Nonetheless, I think management at the ABDC need to reconsider their policy. For the last ten years I have always been available for both matched and unmatched donations pretty much on demand, regardless of whether it was a work-day, or public holiday. It’s been my way of helping make the world a better place. Thankful for my own good health, I’ve always been happy to donate every 2 – 3 weeks, or whenever required.
Now, I feel unappreciated. The new BDC policies don’t help either. I’m now forced to show ID, even though the staff know me by name, I have to state my full date of birth out loud in public, I’m made to read a pamphlet, which I have read 100 times before, and I am subjected to very rigorous questioning.
Whole blood and apheresis donors alike are no longer treated like volunteers who are going out of their way to help a stranger. Rather, one could be mistaken for thinking they are a potential crook, who must be analyzed with extreme skepticism, possibly due to all those fraudulent blood donations in the past. If they’re deemed worthy of donating, they’re cautiously taken in, strapped down, and thereafter their contribution is quickly forgotten, with little effort made to ensure they come back.
At this rate, the ABDC will run out of donors fast, and will need to resort to paying donors to entice them back. And then really will have a problem with fraudulent donations.
Sadly, for me, my regular visits to the BDC will be no more.
Maybe I will dedicate my now extra two hours a fortnight to writing my freecycling website instead.