In what seems to be the most perfect timing I received an email from my beautiful and wonderful friend Fiona on the day of Ethan’s birthday.
Fiona wanted to share a video with me because she knew how much it would mean to me. Sending it on Ethan’s birthday may have been an unconscious decision but it was the right one.
As I watched the opening of the clip the familiar images of ventilators, humdicribs and naso gastric tubes cook me back 12 years to the time when my baby was born. Two months in a neonatal intensive care unit leaves quite an impression.
When Ethan was about 6 weeks old he required a blood transfusion. When the doctors told me that he would need the extra blood I freaked a little. Okay I freaked a lot. I was rather er, anxious during that time and it wasn’t so much the idea of the blood transfusion (I knew that his blood levels were low and he really needed it) but it was yet another procedure he would need to endure.
When they came to administer the transfusion I remember looking at the tiny little bag of blood – not one of those big saline things from every medical drama I had seen, but a miniscule little bag – around 3mls of blood. I remember thinking of my dad and his very regular visits to the Blood Bank in South Africa to donate blood and silently thanking him and all the other amazingly generous people who make blood donations so that other people could survive. It was only a few millilitres that Ethan needed. A few millilitres that made a huge difference to him. A few millilitres that someone had donated so that he could thrive.
Medical science is an amazing thing – my son wouldn’t be here without it. While I will never be a doctor and I don’t have any great scientific or academic contribution that I can make to medicine, to science or to research – I can and will give my blood. I hope you do to.