Do you know what your blood type is?
I donated blood recently and the results are in. I’m an the most common of them all O+.
For those of you who have visited my site before you may already know about my Day Zero Project that I started on December 17, 2010. The general idea is to make a list of 101 things you want to accomplish in 1001 days. It seems easy at first thought, but just making the list is difficult and then following through with it is even harder. You have to make a conscious effort and even print it out and check it often to not only remember some of the items, but mark off what you may have done and since you last looked at it.
#57 of my Day Zero Project is to find out my blood type. This one seems very easy right? Wrong! At least for me that is. Now that I know what I know I could find it much easier but here was my method of figuring this out the hard way.
I first scheduled a physical since it’s not only good to get one every few years until you are 40, but because I’ve been going to the same doctor for a very long time to surely they would have this information. “Hey doc. What’s my blood type?” He says, “oh we don’t have that one file.” This seemed odd to me since if something was to go wrong you would think your family doctor should know what your blood type is? So from that I was sent on my way, but was told as part of my physical to go get blood work done at LabCorp. I made my appointment, went in, got my blood work done and before I left I said, “so since I have been here before and you guys have a record of me already could you tell me my blood type?” She said, “oh we don’t have that information on file because it’s a separate test and unless you have been hospitalized for something serious you would have to order that specifically.” Again, I thought to myself this is very odd that my own family doctor and the lab that does blood work has no clue of what blood type I would take in the even that I needed it. What I took from that conversation was “if you have ever been hospitalized before they would definitely have it”. Ah ok, I have been hospitalized and they would have to know my blood type because I had to get Plasmapheresis. I guess I should tell the quick story for context.
So in 2004 I went on Sticky Rice’s Cannonball Run event. It was their 4th year doing it and everyone always had a good time. It’s the classic get a clue, decipher it and get to the next location. We would compete in events, drink, figure out more clues, you get the idea. So we were at Chicks Beach in Virgina Beach, VA. The event was physical challenge which was right up my alley, however, due to lack of sleep, plenty of alcohol and no water, dehydration set in and took me down. What happened next was the kicker. I was given 4 Motrin and left to rest. As the day/night went on my body got worse. Pains in my back and stomach were getting unbearable and my team decided to take me to the Sentara Hospital in Virginia Beach where I was put in a waiting room and pumped with fluids thinking that’s what my body needed to recover. They blew me up like a balloon until I almost popped. I wasn’t peeing. At this point a few hours had gone by and the doctors still hadn’t admitted me. When they came in and noticed the fluids weren’t doing the job it became more serious. I was admitted and they discovered that I was close to having kidney failure. My kidneys were shutting down because of the exertion I had put my body along with taking 4 Motrins while being completely dehydrated. VERY BAD COMBINATION!
So the long of the story was that I was hospitalized for 10 days if I recall, was transfered to MCV to be closer to home and my family and had Plasmapheresis done for several days. Basically I was hooked to a machine that removed my blood, circulated it through a cleaning process that removed plasma and recirculated it back into my body. If this didn’t work they would have had to remove one or both kidneys so it was pretty serious. For a few days the news wasn’t good, but eventually my body kicked in and started fighting again. I remember the day that I peed for the first time and it was like I’d won the Superbowl. This was a very important step to recovery.
Fast forward to today and we are back to me trying to figure out my blood type. Yea almost forgot why you were reading this right? So with this info for sure Sentara or MVC would have my blood type. I called MCV and requested this information from their Medical Records Department. I was told I had to contact their 3rd party records company Health Port and would have to fill out a release waiver in order to obtain this information. So clearly our blood type is top secret information right? Not so fast.
I called Health Port and here was our conversation:
HP: “Medical Records how may I help you?”
Me: “I would like to know my blood type.”
HP: “Ok, you will have to fill out a release form that I can mail to you or you can come pick it up.”
Me: “So you can’t email it?”
HP: “No, we do not have it in email format.”
Me: “Really? Well go ahead and mail it to me please.”
HP: “What’s your name and address?”
Me: “Gave just that info.”
HP: “Ok, I will get it in the mail for you.”
So let me get this straight. I have to sign a release form to get my blood type, that you can’t email because you don’t have the form in a digital format such as MS Word of Adobe PDF and the only info you ask me to verify is my name and address. No SSN or any other personal identifiable information? I could have been Joe Schmo and just requested your info and gotten it mailed to my house. Not like it would personally do me any good to know your blood type, but if the point of this entire process was security what the heck kind of security was that?
This was much more than I had expected to do in order to find my blood type, but I’m no quitter so I’m seeing it through. If I was never hospitalized I would have to specifically request and pay for the test to be done in order to know. I will be sure to let you all know what letter I am as soon as I know.