We Have A Blood Bank!

Now all we need is blood to put in it

The new hospital with the pretty silly name of H+ opened just a few months ago and has already established itself as the most sophisticated facility in Southern Baja. And now they have finally opened their planned for blood bank. Seems they are doing things deliberately there, inaugurating each nodule of a well run hospital in its own good time. Well, now it’s time for the blood bank.

We briefly had a blood bank back a few years ago, backed financially by the Los Cabos Children’s Foundation, but there were irregularities in the bookkeeping and the LCCF pulled their support. Since then, anyone running a quart low would have to fetch it in La Paz, and that was often a life threatening wait.

One Canadian tourist fell through a plate glass window in her hotel room, and because there was no blood nor even a vascular surgeon to sew her back together, she lost her leg. That won’t happen now that H+ is on the scene. If they don’t have the appropriate doctor on staff, they will send to one of their sister hospitals on the mainland for the specialist. This happened recently when a California woman had a stroke and needed brain surgery to relieve the pressure. Her husband, who happened to be a OB/GYN in La Jolla California, requested a neurosurgeon be sent, and voila! One was flown in on a jet he ponied up for. It saved his wife’s life. The doctor stayed several days and operated twice.

So, if you’re hit by a bus on the fourlane, try to wheeze out, “Take me to H+ before you pass out, and you have your best shot at waking up again on this side of heaven.

But right now H+ needs you. Yes, you, Bunkie, a foreigner. Because they need to get this blood bank filled with blood. Yours is sought after for two reasons:

One), North Americans and Northern Europeans are more likely than Mexicans to have the universal donor type O-. It is only found in 9% of North American donors and rarely found in Latin Americans.

Two) Trying to get a Mexican to donate blood is like trying to get blood out of a stone. They just don’t have a culture of donating their life’ juices. They are not so familiar with the procedure, and they think if they ever do need it, their family will pony up for them at that time.

So, Gringos, until this changes, as it surely will, you will need to get the ball rolling with your blood. And you can do this every 56 days, so hurry back. The cookies and juice they pass out after are delish, and this is the perfect time to get a tour of the spiffy new hospital, as they love touring people. H+ is on the fourlane at km 24.5 next to the Pemex and the new Hampton Inn. Tel 624 155 1483

cabobloodbank@yahoo.com or visit www. cabobloodbank.com


So, Do You Think You Have The Right Stuff?

The right blood, that is, and are you healthy enough to give? Here are some pointers.

Probably not if you have a fever or a productive cough, (you’re bringing up icky stuff). Probably not if you do not feel completely perky on the day of donation. Probably you should wait until you have completed antibiotic treatment for sinus, throat or lung infections.

Probably you’re still good to go if you have well controlled diabetes.

Probably not if you’re a man who has gotten it on with another man any time since 1977. Yes, even that one time when you were so drunk you were a bit gender confused. It only takes once to mess up your blood with AIDS.

You must be at least 17 years old and there is no upper age limit for blood donation as long as you are generally well with no restrictions or limitations to your activities.

High blood pressure is acceptable as long as your blood pressure is below 180/100 at the time of donation. Yikes! If it’s that high, they won’t need to pump it out of you,, it will gush out by itself as soon as they puncture you.  Medications for high blood pressure do not disqualify you from donating. Well, if you’re on pills for high blood pressure and it’s still that high, take another pill, hellloooo.

Probably not if you have had a tongue, nose, belly button or genital piercing in the past 12 months. (Genital piercing? They do that?) Donors with pierced ears are eligible. Now what’s the difference we don’t know. Seems like a poke is a poke.

You need to weigh at least 110 pounds because blood volume is in proportion to body weight. Donors who weigh less than that might keel over from giving a whole pint.  Well, why don’t they just take a half a pint out of a half pint? They need us to think of these things?  There is no upper weight limit as long as you don’t weight more than the donor bed or lounge you are lying on. Huh? What’s that have to do with the price of tea in China? Who makes up these rules anyway?

 You should eat a full meal at least four hours prior to donation and drink plenty of fluids.

So go. Seems like they will take almost anyone, and anyway, if they turn you down, they do it so sweetly, they about kill you with kindness. And you still get the box of juice and the cookies. And you still get the tour of the cool new hospital. What’s the down side?

Does This Give You The Willies?

For starters, a squeaky clean sterile needle is used only once for each donor and then it’s tossed.

The whole process is a simple four-step deal: registration, medical history and mini-physical, the blood draw, and then the treats.

Every blood donor is given a little check up, looking at your temperature like your mom used to do when she thought you were faking the flu to get out of school. Then your blood pressure, pulse and hemoglobin are taken. The first two are no big deal, and the hemoglobin test is just a little needle prick, nothing like you’re going to get if you pass all the tests and they go for that pint of your blood they’re after.

The actual blood squeeze typically takes about 10 to 12 minutes. For the entire process, from the time you arrive to the time you leave, plan on about an hour and 15 minutes. They don’t like you to squeeze and run, as you could become a little light headed. They ply you with cookies and juice and expect you to dawdle over that until they’re sure you’re up for driving home.

The average adult has about 10 pints of blood and they only take about one pint. That’s 10% Bunkie. A healthy donor can donate red blood cells every 56 days, or double red cells every 112 days and a healthy donor can donate platelets as few as 7 days apart, but a maximum of 24 times a year.

All donated blood is tested for HIV, hepatitis B and C, syphilis and other infectious diseases before it can be released to hospitals. But they do this later, so if you show up with any of these embarrassments, you don’t have to worry about a public shaming.

Donating blood is so safe that those who donate regularly may experience long term positive health benefits. Giving improves your health by reducing excess iron stored in your body and encourages your body to produce more, fresh blood.

There is no upper age limit to donating, and taking medications does not necessarily mean you are not eligible to donate.