I have a brother-in-law who donated a kidney to his brother-in-law. Not sold. Not lent. Not rented by the hour. Donated. Free! He’s a good guy.
Now I hear that he gets blood platelets drawn every 2 weeks. I didn’t know that was even a thing. But the first thing that came to my mind was “How much does it pay?” Am I a bad guy? (#1)
For your information, he gets nothing for it. The difference between donating blood plasma and blood platelets is that red & white blood cells are retained by the donor when donating platelets only. Of course, my immediate thought was that donating complete plasma > donating blood platelets only. Am I a bad guy? (#2)
It turns out that my brother-in-law donates the platelets only because that allows him to donate more often, every 2 weeks. From the Red Cross website, I see that blood platelets can be donated every week. I wondered why my brother-in-law wasn’t donating more often. Am I a bad guy? (#3)
I guess I can cut my brother-in-law some slack since he only has one kidney. The bottom line is that he’s a great guy. I don’t even donate blood because … I’m diseased.
I suffer from Gilbert’s Syndrome which is a benign, inherited condition manifesting as the terrifying description of unconjugated hyperbilirubinemia without any other comorbidity. The bottom line is that I have elevated levels of bilirubin in my blood which may make me tired after exercise. May? Duh! I can barely get out of bed every morning.
But blood with elevated bilirubin levels may indicate liver disease, so that blood is discarded. I am comfortable that I am not a bad guy for not donating blood that will be tossed.
I did just learn that Gilbert’s Syndrome may actually extend my life. From the National Institute of Health’s National Center for Biotechnology Information comes an article about Gilbert’s Syndrome from author Viveksandeep Thoguluva Chandrasekar. I know, easy for me to say. Here’s an excerpt from the article …
“Bilirubin is known to exert an anti-oxidant effect, and in individuals with mildly increased bilirubin levels such as Gilbert syndrome, it may offer a protective effect due to that. Patients with Gilbert syndrome have a lower incidence of ischemic heart disease due to decreased production of advanced glycation end products which prevents endothelial dysfunction and reduces progression of atherosclerosis. Studies have also shown a reduction in the incidence of Hodgkin lymphoma, endometrial cancer, and cancer-related mortality when compared to the general population.”
But there’s even more good news …
“In fact, the all-cause mortality rate is lower in individuals with mild hyperbilirubinemia due to Gilbert syndrome compared to the general population.”
How I interpret that quote is that I may very well be immortal. I may start drawing blood, bottling it, and selling it as an elixir for immortality. Am I a bad guy? (#4)