Bloodletting for an intern

Krones AG now stands revealed as one of the region’s most prominent bloodsuckers -and no one is doing anything about it. Interns and long-serving employees alike are being cannibalised, and nonetheless the Employees’ Council declines to take action. And all this is totally right and proper, as I found out first-hand (as one of the interns facing cannibalisation) on Monday, 9 February.

So there I am, feeling nonetheless a little bit queasy, making my way to the blood drive organised by the Bavarian Red Cross in the new building of the Krones canteen. Once a year, our own Christian Wallner fetches the Blood Donor Service onto the company’s premises in Neutraubling – thus transforming his employer into what is probably one of the region’s most notorious bloodsuckers. Much to the gratification of the Bavarian Red Cross, for whom each individual donor is vital, as I was repeatedly assured while I was giving blood.

I had always meant to get around to donating blood. And nevertheless, until today I had never managed to actually attend one of the approximately 5,000 blood donation events held by the Bavarian Red Cross. The fact that the Red Cross is today appearing directly at my workplace has proved motivational not only for me, but seemingly for a whole lot of other Kronese as well – something I realise when in the morning I arrive at the well-attended initiative in the new canteen. In the place where I otherwise enjoy my lunch break, today there are loungers, medical equipment and tables laden with pipettes, test-tubes and lancets. But catering has nonetheless not been overlooked – every donor gets a tasty snack when it’s over. That sounds to me like a really good idea!

Fortunately, it’s my turn before I get even more nervous. As a novice donor, the first thing I do is fill in a questionnaire on my personal data: including the medicines I’m taking, any chronic illnesses, any trips abroad in the past. Afterwards, I discuss this questionnaire in a small wooden cubicle with a doctor from the Blood Donor Service. She notes my blood pressure and my body temperature with an approving nod, and so I am sent on to the next round as a potential donor.

Another nice lady from the Red Cross measures the haemoglobin value in my blood, and in a quick test ascertains my blood group. “Hb value’s OK”, so that’s another hurdle overcome and I make myself comfortable on one of the loungers.

As soon as I’m lying down and the nurse is preparing the needle, my nervousness disappears. From now on, there aren’t any more questions or tests; I’m only responsible for keeping my arm still until 490 ml of blood have been extracted – this I can just about manage! After the tension has evaporated, I watch the nurse curiously to see what he’s doing, which he then proceeds to explain. Some of my blood is placed in a control test-tube, and will be separately analysed in the laboratory, in order to make sure that the blood I’ve donated is 100 % in order and can be safely used. The actual donation procedure takes only about ten painless, diverting minutes, then I’m told to take a short rest, and released to devour a hot dog. So while I’m recovering with my hot dog, plus a chocolate bar and a lemonade-and-cola, my blood is on its way to the Blood Donor Service’s logistics centre, to be examined and processed. And I firmly resolve to donate some blood again, after the prescribed interval of 56 days has elapsed.