Last week, there was an urgent need for B -ve Blood group, the second rarest blood group in India.
My own group was B -ve and I immediately said yes to donate some of it. After a quick dash across the town I was at the hospital.
After taking my samples, it was found that there were enough platelets for a successful donation.
From then it was a mix of emotions – happiness, sense of achievement, despair, helplessness, ability to make a difference.
It all started with a phone call to Kedar….
It was just like any other day, we were off to lunch. Kedar got a call from his friend, Kiran
Kedar: Keshav do you know someone with B -ve blood group?
Me: Yeah. Me!
Kedar: Kiran knows someone who desperately requires B -ve
I never hesitate when there is a requirement for B -ve. It is the second more rarest blood group in India.
A sample survey on a biker community.
Any excuses that I can come up with to avoid blood donation will just blow away in the face of a medical emergency.
What am I going to say?
Sorry. I’m busy. I have a ton of work.
Sorry. The hospital is way across the town.
Umm. I’m not feeling well.
My body is weak, it can’t cope up with this procedure.
My wife wouldn’t allow it.
I’m a family man.
Total BullShit. Your fear, commitments, lack of energy or time will always be secondary to a need for blood.
I asked Kiran, if I could come down after work. Although he agreed, just after lunch, he called to say it was needed right away.
I started for Yashoda hospital all the way across the town in Secunderabad.
I’m good to Go
On reaching the hospital, I was immediately tested for platelets count.
The nurses were very happy that my vein was popping out for a hassle free needle piercing . Ok good.
They had to run a series of tests to certify that my platelets count was sufficient. Then finally after a while, the Good News, my blood had a good count.
There was no immediate requirement, but they knew it was needed at sometime in the next 24 hours. I was asked to be available on call for the next 24 hours.
I agreed to be at the hospital any time they called me.
Platelets Transfer procedure
The Nurse told me the procedure would be a tedious one. A platelets transfer is 90 minute procedure where blood will taken out and pumped in for 4-5 times. Once started, cannot be interrupted.
This is very different. The other times I donated blood, they were quick 10-15 minute procedures where 1 unit (200ml) of blood was drawn from my veins.
I later realized that this was the same procedure, but done 4-5 times more without breaks.
After waiting for the call, I finally got it at 9:30AM, the next morning. They wanted me there ASAP.
I gobbled down breakfast, rushed through traffic, only to get stuck in rush hour traffic 1 KM away.
Finally, after reaching the hospital we rushed to the blood bank department.
After a 30 minute wait, the procedure was started.
They told me the details. A needle will go into my arm which will draw blood to a machine. The machine takes the blood, separates the platelets and then pumps back the rest through the same pipe.
Each cycle lasts 20 minutes, 10 for drawing and 10 more minutes to pump it back.
My job was to lie still, and squeeze a ball.
The only indication was an arm band, which tightened when blood was drawn and loosened when blood was pumped back.
The whole thing lasted for a little over an hour and by the time I was in the last cycle, my hand started hurting a little.
That was it!
Who was she?
During the procedure, Mahesh came to see me. It was his aunt, who required my blood.
That was the first time, I asked for details.
He told me that his Aunt was perfectly healthy until 6 days ago. She and her husband had a fever, and very shortly it turned serious for her.
She was brought to the hospital with many complications. The doctors still could not diagnose the actual problem.
I was disheartened listening about all her current problems. Things looked bad.
Wanted: B -ve
Two more male donors were needed with B -ve. A massive search was started by Kiran, nearly 3500 mails were forwarded, there was a scrolling Ad in the local TV channel.
Only two people were found. But sadly they were not suitable – one guy was underweight and for the other, the vein was not very visible.
Anyway, the doctors stopped all requests. Now she was under observation.
My part Done. Its Your Turn
The procedure was over. I said my goodbyes to Mahesh, wished him luck and walked away.
Kiran sent me a SMS
Thanks Mamu. you just saved a life. thanks a million.
I wanted to congratulate myself only when she got better. I did my best.
Now, it was now in God’s hands. I’m sure the family was fervently praying.
Back to Reality
I came back to work. Many of my colleagues knew (Kedar sent mails) and I was warmly welcomed back.
Back to work now.
It was Time.
I called Mahesh later in the night. His aunt was still in a coma.
Then came the message from Kiran, exactly 25 hours since I drew blood.
our efforts have gone in vain. aunty died an hour ago
She was just 51. Ten years younger than my own mom.
I was staring at the message. I realized that I wasn’t really surprised.
I did not reply to Kiran, there was nothing to be said.
I showed the message to a few of my colleagues. There were different reactions
One said – Oh! and went back to work
Another said a small prayer for her soul
One guy was shocked about the reality.
One became sad that my efforts did not help.
I went back to my seat, tried to start work. But everything was blank.
Finally, I too went back to work.
But a promise was made – to tell the world…
Our efforts will never be in vain
What was done
With every ending
There will be new beginnings
It never ends
It just turns
The circle of life
I too will,
Images from suman, Jennifer.
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