Blood Donation Saves Lives

                                                               A Football Brother's Note

February 21, 2014 at 10:43pm

Ray, thanks for sending me a bracelet. I've been a long time blood donor, starting back in the late 90's when I was in college. It just always seemed like an easy way to give a whole lot to those in need. I used to talk my college buddies into giving blood with me when the school would do blood drives by using the "incentive" that you can get drunk faster after you give a pint of blood. Somehow, that was incentive enough for way too many people in those days! Little did I know at that time, some of my family members would be the recipients of blood products much further down the road. My oldest son, almost 5 years old, was born with dangerously low platelet levels and had to have platelet transfusions multiple times a week for the first 3 months of his life. He only needed 1 or 2 donor packs of platelets because my wife was a perfect match and would donate 2 units per week until his condition corrected itself. But regardless of how many units of donor platelets he needed, there was need. Less than two years later, and less than 3 weeks after our second child was born, my wife had to be rushed into open heart surgery to have a tear in her aorta replaced and to have a valve in her heart raplaced. She required several units of blood and packed red cells. A story more near and dear to your heart may be this..... Last spring, I was in my final semester of respiratory therapy school. We obviously do the majority of our critical care rotations at Maine Medical Center. Several of my class mates did their rotations while you were in the SCU there. Some of them even took care of you while you were in there. Every Monday, we would have a class clinical rotation meeting where we would discuss our rotations from the week before, what we saw, what we learned, etc. We also had a senior year case review, where we'd have to present a patient, go over ventilator setting/vital signs/treatment course/etc. We would have to present to our peers, other respiratory therapists, nurses, doctors, etc. One or two of us would do this presentation each Friday. We would review the case on Monday during this clinical meeting for those that couldn't attend the case review the previous Friday. Your case, being the most significant case of sepsis that we encountered that entire semester was a recurring topic for a few weeks in our Monday meetings. The week before you started to come out of the woods, one of my classmates did his case review on you. So, a silver lining to your situation is that you case was great learning experience for a lot of us in the varying medical fields! During the whole time you were in the hospital, Shaun was keeping us posted on your condition through our Flag league's Facebook page. A bunch of the guys on our team wanted to put together a package for your family. Food, money, gifts for the girls, etc. Whatever you wife said she needed. Shaun told us that the only thing that your wife wanted us to do is donate blood. Ironically, the Monday that we reviewed your case study, SMCC was hosting a blood drive. So after my classmate presented your case, I stood up and explained that the person we just presented on was named Ray Poulin and that you are a friend of mine with a wife a two beautiful daughters. And all they were unselfishly asking for as that people donate blood in his honor. Unfortunately, only a few people in my class followed me down to donate, but it was a few more than would have otherwise. Like I said, I've been a proud blood donor for over half of my life and will always continue to do as much. I'm very excited about what you're doing with RaysUp. Please, reach out to me if you need any help with anything you do with the organization. Above donating blood, of course! After we went through all of the stuff with my wife a few years ago, we realize now that every day is a gift. I'm glad that your family can realize that as well. And I'm glad that you are carrying that idea through with this organization! Much Love! -Sal