Suspense in Pt1 – continued from “The Day I almost Gave Up!”
Then, the other doctor said that the recipient of my latest platelets donation, a 7-year old girl; had broken into cold shivers, gone into shock and is in the intensive care ward. For a few long moments I was stunned. My heart sank. What have I done? This girl is the same age as my daughter. How could this be happening? This little girl’s life is in danger because of me. I kept searching my mind over and over again. I had not been on any form of medication, not even Panadol as my health was good. (1)
I asked if I could visit the little girl. The doctor said it was not advisable, especially since she was in intensive care. I can’t remember today if she was in critical condition, but it may have been so. She needing platelets meant that she was already in a serious condition before receiving my platelets.
The doctor did not give me any further information. I left the hospital; trembling, in a cold sweat; not knowing what else I could do. All the “I should have” and “I should have not” thoughts, together with regret that I donated on that particular day, was racing with fury in my mind, blurring any form of rationale thinking. All those people who constantly kept telling me not to donate too many times – were they right? How was I going to break this news to Jeannie and Laura?
I was a regular platelets donor by this time, donating platelets once every 14 days. The hospital would call me a day before just to remind me of my donation appointment which I make immediately after every donation.
That means for every full blood donation which is once every 3 months; I could instead donate platelets 6 times. And, there is an average of 2 recipients for each platelets donation. I would ensure that I never skipped even a day unless it was totally unavoidable. The driving force behind this thinking was that whenever I saw a full carpark (which was always the case) in the hospital; I said to myself, “there are a lot of sick people that would need help.”
The doctor called me 3 days later to tell me that the little girl’s health had stabilized. The condition that she went through, was not caused by her receiving my platelets. The other recipient of the same bag of platelets (usually 2 recipients to a bag) had no side-effects from the platelets and was responding well to it. The little girl’s trauma was caused by a reaction to the medication that she received. Time stood still during those three days. What a relief! That’s putting it mildly!
I have never met any recipient of all the 304 donations I made. This is a good thing because they do not need to feel indebted to me. There were offers of repayment in the form of cash and kind by family members of some of these recipients through the hospital but I turned all of them down as I donated without expecting anything in return.
One of the medical staff when looking up their records of the donations I made, exclaimed that hundreds of lives have been saved. That is something I never gave much thought about.
Sick people need help. Many times, I see and hear of people trying desperately to get platelets donors for a family member or loved one who is on the verge of dying. There are times they cannot find any due to the strict requirements needed in order to be a platelets donor. I remind myself that this could happen to me or a family member. So, my donating of platelets regularly is my way of serving mankind – the little I can do to help save lives.
I co-formed a standby pool of donors, so that whenever help was needed; we would do all that we could. We had many, many calls for donor help but we did not have the numbers to help everybody.
Not every one of the platelets recipients made it, unfortunately; including 5 year old Sandy (not her real name for privacy of her family), who had leukemia. Young children can only receive platelets of the same blood type. She was responding well to the treatment, according to her father through messages to me via Whatsapp. But she succumbed to the illness in the end.
I continued with donations regularly, that was what I could do. I told myself that I cannot control the circumstances after the stage of me making the donation, that was left to the medical specialists and doctors.
304 donations. Record donor in Ramsay Sime Darby Medical Centre (formerly know as Subang Jaya Medical Centre). Should be broken by now, if not, soon. 7 time Formula One World Champion and 91 wins Michael Shumacher said, “I always thought that records are meant to be broken”. (3)
I was retired from “service” at the age of 60, the age limit set in Malaysia. 29 and a half years since my first donation.
The journey – a long and eventful one. When I think back to the very first time I donated for Vince Vasudevan on December 31st, 1988; the decision to be a regular donor; I never thought that I would be a donor for so long.
The experience – unique, yet can go un-noticed as it can be taken for granted. The meeting of many wonderful people along the way… worth it.
I hope this will inspire many to people come forward to become donors at a hospital near them.
The time is always right to do the right thing. (Martin Luther King, Jr,) (4)
“MaddieCottonSally Squaredress” and “CottonLily Squaredress” is just me, just having fun. Don’t really know if they are R2D2’s cousins, haha. Pictures were from times over the past 7 years.
- Panadol is the brand of paracetamol.
- ‘Cucuk-ed” is poke in Malay with an “ed”.
- Andrew Benson, Chief F1 writer, “Michael Shumacher ‘pretty happy’ if Sebastian Vettel breaks records”, BBC Sport, September 4, 2013.
- Martin Luther King, Jr; Oberlin College, October 22nd, 1964; quotepark.com
- Lee Chye Ewe, Facebook