Tag Archives: blood donation

Apheresis Adventure

As many of you know, my blood donation experience has a rather broad range. I have a 50/50 chance of going in and walking out fine or going in and passing out and having a seizure and throwing my pepsi all over the wall of the bloodmobile. I either stumble out with a case of the wooze or they have a defective vial pop-on thingy for the end, which breaks, leaks my blood all over (terrifying the new donor in the chair across the way, for which I whistle nonchalantly to assure that everything is just fine), clamps it shut, backs up with all the pressure, then refills a new vial, leaving me with an extra bad case of the wooze.

Anyway, even on my good donations, I’m generally useless for a day or two afterwards. My dad (who gave me the O neg blood which the Red Cross covets so) has suggested apheresis several times, because that’s what he does all the time. With that in mind, a cancer patient in need inspired me to go down to the Red Cross today for my first try donating platelets.

I must say, this is highly, HIGHLY preferable to giving whole blood. For those of you unfamiliar with apheresis, they take the blood out of one arm into a machine, spin out whatever part they need (in this case, platelets), then put the rest of the blood back in through the other arm. Because you don’t really lose any volume, you don’t get the woosies. On the other hand, it did take over an hour (but you get to watch a movie), and the blood going back in is rather cold (but they do good about piling you up with electric blankets), and your face gets all tingly (something to do with calcium?)

I still felt a little off, but on the whole, I might start doing this regularly. Meanwhile, here’s a little chart that shows the blood need in my area! I actually think it’s a trick, and always on urgent, because really, has the blood supply EVER been “excellent?”

Oh, bloody hell

By the end of finals week, I was fully rested and fully recovered, and a good thing too, for yesterday I got an email from an old high school acquaintance whom I hadn’t heard from since graduation. It seems her aunt was having a difficult pregnancy; they needed O negative blood and she found out from another friend that was my blood type, and asked if I could donate.

That was no problem (although I must say, it did kinda creep me out that old highschool friends know my blood type), so I put aside my Saturday plans to go donate. Us O- kids have to stick together.

Blood donations are somewhat up in the air for me, they can either be problem-free or really really bad, so it always makes me slightly nervous. One thing that puzzles me is how much the finger prick bothers me. It shouldn’t, logically, as I cut myself on a regular basis working with glass, it shouldn’t be any big deal at all. Strange.

Anyway, this time the donation went well, but I am always flustered at how slow it takes me. Perhaps it’s low blood pressure or low pulse, but two people sat down after me and finished several minutes before I was even close! Not fair!! Still, I was thankful that there were no problems this time.

And yet, a good donation does not get me off the hook, it still drains a lot out of me (ha ha!). Even after a good donation, I’m generally reduced to a shivering mass of protoplasm, unable to use the arm I gave out of for several hours. That doesn’t matter, though, as I fell asleep for at least 6. This is also quite unfair, especially when there are people like Nate, who can hop in, donate a pint, then go out and play a game of Ultimate Frisbee right away.

My dad suggested I look into apherisis, since I have such a problem with the donation affecting me, because you don’t lose any blood volume. He gives platelets quite regularly, so perhaps I’ll check that out.

At any rate, I’m still a bit drained and woosy, so I think I’ll go sleep for another day and a half. I am on break, afterall.