Thursday, May 28, 2009

Ain't Nothin' Like the Real Thing, Baby

..sadly enough.

Northfield Laboratories, one of two U.S. companies making great strides in the development of artificial blood, is closing its doors, while the other company, Biopure, is allegedly struggling financially. While the science is still far from perfect, I have high hopes for the technology and hate to see this extremely important research suffer such setbacks.

Our country's blood supply is in a perpetual state of critical shortage. Sure, you've heard it last month. You've heard it last year. You heard it a decade ago. But with more stringent screening policies and donor refusal guidelines, and an aging population, it's truer than ever. And the stuff gets used more than you might think. Not just for traumas with acute blood loss, but for conditions from severe anemia to cancer to clotting problems.

Y'all may know that I don't exactly have the best track record with blood donations. Most embarrassingly, I got sick a while back at a blood drive hosted by a local veteran's lodge. It was my fault, I forgot to eat before I went down there...but retching into a wastebasket near the snack table while poor little old war veterans fluttered around me in a mild panic was not one of my more dignified moments.

But this is what I'm saying. I've got uncooperative veins and an occasional tendency to get woozy, and I can show up every 8 weeks. What's stopping you?

Eat a hearty meal before you go - saving lives is a great excuse to break that diet for just today! And drink, drink, drink, both before and after. Heck, drink a big bottle of water just before you go in. It takes about 45 minutes to an hour from start to finish.

And you'll be my hero.

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