Olsen is 17 months old and, in his lifetime, has spent over 200 days in the hospital. He has had more blood transfusions than I can remember. Our running joke is, "Olsen may be part vampire because he loves blood," but its true! Countless bad days in the hospital I would think, "maybe Olsen needs some blood." I've seen a blood transfusion improve Olsen's blood pressure, oxygen saturation, and overall appearance on numerous occasions.
Then, on June 26, 2019, our family experienced a crisis. Olsen was 2-3 hours post-op from a very successful open-heart surgery when he started bleeding from his chest. We were standing around his bed, saying prayers of thanksgiving for how well the surgery had gone and how good he looked, when he flatlined and we saw blood pouring from his chest tube. The nurses immediately started compressions and began running a code blue. Olsen's surgeon opened his chest in his hospital room to locate the source of the bleed. His hospital room became an instant OR. The whole ordeal took almost an hour. In that time I saw Olsen receive constant compressions, I saw his surgeon suturing inside his chest, and I saw a blood bank runner coming in and out of Olsen's room. Olsen was losing blood so fast he required almost constant transfusions. It felt like that hardworking blood bank runner could not bring the blood fast enough.
The doctors and nurses running the code saved Olsen's life, his surgeon re-suturing his heart saved his life, and donated blood saved his life. The compressions, the surgery, the medicine, none of it would have mattered if we couldn't have replaced the blood he lost. And he lost A LOT! Olsen received 2.45 liters of blood. To put that into perspective, an average 80lb child has 2.65 liters of blood in their entire body. Olsen is 22lbs. When you're thinking about donating blood, think about Olsen. Donated blood saved his life. His story is just one amongst countless others. The OSF Children's Hospital saves lives. They saved my son, but they can't do it without you. Donate blood!