We have a little girl who has a rare little thing called Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency. It doesn’t sound like such a big thing, just a little deficiency, but it turns out pyruvate kinase is kind of important. It turns out that if you have red blood cells without it, your spleen breaks them down, and if it breaks down enough of them, you end up anaemic. So every three or four months or so, our rare little girl, with her rare little thing needs a bit of a top up. With blood. Maybe blood from you.
She always says she’s fine, and that she doesn’t need a transfusion, but sometimes when you’re six years old, the fear of the needles just might sway your thinking. We always ask her if she thinks she’s ready for a transfusion, knowing full well she is, hoping that the day will come when she is able to weigh up the advantages and realise that she does need the blood.
We haven’t gotten there yet.
So this morning we made the decision. The thing that parents all over the world have to do every day. To make a choice that your kid will cry and sob and plead for you to change your mind about, but one, that as the parent you know is in your kid’s best interests. It might be about getting some kind of surgery or medical procedure, it might be about eating vegetables, being home before dark, going to bed at a reasonable time.
Sometimes being parent is fun and easy and things just seem to flow along without incident.
And then sometimes it can be a bit hard.
Sometimes your little girl will look at you with her big blue eyes, her sclera all yellowy-green from the jaundice that heralds the end of this cycle of blood, with tears running down her golden little cheeks, and say, “Please Mummy, can I go to school today? I don’t want to go and get the blood cross-matched. My haemoglobins are fine.”
And your heart breaks open just a little bit. Partly because you know you can’t grant her wish of going to school today, like all the other carefree children her age, who right now, might have as their biggest worry whether to take the red or the green handball to play with at little-lunch, but also partly because you know she already knows too much about the workings of a hospital.
But mostly because you know that this is not the last time she will have a transfusion. She will have them again and again and again.
Hopefully one day it won’t be this hard.
The Red Cross ALWAYS needs blood. They don’t need it one day.
WE need it today.
You can call 13 95 96 to make an appointment.