Our new insurance policy is underwritten by Lloyd’s of London. For some obscure reason, they require us to submit our blood type. This turns out to be much more difficult than you would think. Back in middle school biology class we typed our own blood (a lab that no teacher in their right mind would consider doing now, for a number of reasons). Well, good luck finding an American doctor to type your blood for you. Fortunately I had a card from when I was pregnant with Alekka that showed my type. For Alekka, we had to convince her pediatrician to order a blood type test at a lab. I’m hoping our old insurance will pay for it; I suppose it will depend on the reason the doctor gives.
Andreas is having the worst time. His cranky doctor flat out refuses to order the test. So Andreas went to the Red Cross on the Friday before last to donate blood, because of course they check your blood type as part of the process. He had never given blood before. After an hour’s worth of screening, they couldn’t tap into a vein in either arm. They told him to go home and drink water all weekend and come back Tuesday. He drank gallons of water and went back Tuesday. Another hour of screening and they hooked him up. No go. Apparently he has an unusual “collapsing vein response” – probably a good thing if you are bleeding, but not so good when you want to know your blood type.
About twenty years ago there was a woman from Ikaria who needed a bone marrow transplant. The Pan-Ikarian Brotherhood supported a campaign to get Ikarian islanders (Andreas is one) to sign up with a registry in hope of finding a match among that small gene pool. Andreas remembered signing up, and after much searching he finally located the right organization. Alas, they also do not have his blood type.
On the Internet you can find kits for checking your own blood type, popular with the Eat Right 4 Your Type crowd. I think our next step will be to order one. Should be pretty easy – after all, a middle schooler can do it.
Update: I ordered the blood type test kit off the Internet. It comes with a mini-scalpel, a pipette, a printed card embedded with reagents, and all the other stuff you need. A bargain at $12.95. I was rarin’ to go but my patient kept putting it off – something about that sharp little lancet, I guess. But then one evening Andreas was making souvlaki and jabbed his finger with a skewer. “Quick, get the kit!” “Keep bleeding, I have to put drops of water in the little circles!” It was very exciting. And we got our answer.
Can’t he just get a routine physical with standard blood test and find out the type at the same time?
Nope. He did have a routine physical this summer, with extensive blood work, but no ABO test. Not unless the doctor orders it.
Hah! I can totally see it. Keep the posts coming!