Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Got Blood?

It's 6:30 a.m., and I can hear Pablo and Jo Ann stirring downstairs. Normally these early morning hours are mine. Not even the d.o.g.g.s are up. This morning, Pablo is getting a four-hour premium oil change for cancer stars: a blood transfusion. The whole process takes over five hours—blood test, ordering the bag of donor blood, waiting for some guy with a stainless steel cart to bring it to the clinic, etc—so Jo Ann put Pablo to bed at 7:30 past night. Another one of her miracle moves: homie won't even go in the same room as a bed at that hour on most nights. All this bloody action (say that with a British accent please) reminds me that we have not put up our post about last week's blood drive at the Walther School.

Walther dad Peter making his debut donation

Hrach from Velo Pasadena smiling while pumping blood. Not surprising—you should see him hammer up a mountain on his bike!

Raul from the CHLA Blood Bank—our man! He helps Helen schedule our friends' directed donations of blood and platelets, and he cracks up at me when I freak out in the donation chair

over 50 people showed up last Thursday at The Walther School to donate. Plenty of current parents, lots of alum parents, some old colleagues of Jo Ann's from Crossroads, some music video production pals, some cycling pals, some people that we've never even met, who are dedicated Pablog readers, some hospital patrons—even Jesse who was hired to be the new Polly before Polly decided to stay and keep on being Polly.... Raul and his amazing crew of comforting and smiling CHLA Blood Bank technicians were able to harvest—I just love being able to use that word in this context—38 whole pints and three partial pints of blood. Let's call it 39 pints—far more than the the goal of 30. When CHLA has to buy blood from the Red Cross, it comes at a cost—a very high cost. Each pint the hospital buys on the market has a $1,000 price tag. So, the value of the blood drive was immense. And the spirit and energy was wonderful around the truck and the front garden at Walther when Peter and I stopped by. That's worth at least another $1k per pint!

It wasn't all fun and games though. We had one total black out. And they still got their pint on (good work Val!). A few ice packs were placed on some queasy donors—again, this didn't stop the bloodflow—who were turning odd colors while pumping out the goods. According to the Blood Mobile workers and coordinators, our drive was a smashing success for the hospital. They were hoping for 30 pints and we beat the goal.

There were rewards for the donors—very yummy rewards. Helen McCusker and Clare Crespo baked dozens of cookies for donors. I was looking forward to stopping by the drive just to snag some of those goodies.

The drive was such a success—and a great teaching tool for the Walther kids, who were able to go into the truck before the drive started—that Gloria Walther asked Jo Ann to make it an annual event.

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