As I Live and Learn

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Monthly Blood Party: October

Apheresis Donor October (2007) Pin Blood Party Date: October 21st

My Appointment: 8:45 am

Other Participants:

This month's incentive:
Yummy Big Boy again. It's extra Iron, and it's somewhat fast from take out as bonuses.

Again, a Sunday. I didn't even bother trying to find people to go with me, knowing they wouldn't be able to give Whole Blood. *sigh*

I got there, and the door was locked. Me confused. I saw the blood truck, but no other signs of donation being open. I tried calling the center, but only had the Detroit office number which I new no one would be at. A stroke of brilliance saved the day, however, when I recalled that the windows of the donation center look out over the back part of the side parking lot. I walked back there, and sure enough could see people - nurses and donors already in there, I had no idea how - and a nurse's familiar face. We pantomimed for a moment, and she motioned me to the back door. When I got there another nurse had it open for me, it was the delivery door through which the donated blood was picked up by the drivers. So I got into my appointment about 15 minutes late, and they unlocked the front door for other donors.

Checked in fine. But the machine I was to be hooked up to, the only one not in use also, was misbehaving. It took maybe 15 minutes to get it rebooted and working, which coupled with the check in time and me already being late, didn't get my donation started until nearly an hour after it should have. Oh well.

On a guess diagnosis of dehydration from my EMT teacher on the symptoms I get when I donate a lot at once, without telling him I was donating blood while having them, I had been drinking extra for 8 or so days before donating, with special attention to drinking a lot the day before. Happily, my symptoms were indeed much lessened! The minor shaking I did get I realized was sympathetic to the shaking of the machine which my body must have felt through the tubing over me and needle in me. Unhappily, because I was so hydrated, I REALLY had to pee. It got uncomfortable not too long into the donation, but I stuck it out for just over an hour to try and get the 2 units of Platelets done. I knew I'd make it to one unit, but two was quiet the challenge. I did make it however, yay! And my after donation symptoms were not immediately bad as usual, nor did the later symptoms set in as fast as usual. But the weakness did come, which is very much expected whether or not one is hydrated. Still, a good experience all in all.

I learned that even a donation of one unit of Platelets is a much needed thing over Whole Blood because to get one unit of Platelets from whole blood it actually takes at least 5 whole blood donations, and possibly up to 10! That means someone who needs Platelets is being exposed to at least 5 different people (blood sources that may be incompatible somehow or carry something harmful to the recipient) unless an actual Platelet donation is used, and therefore the recipient is only exposed to one person. That is very significant. And it makes me feel much better. I was struggling with not being able to give Plasma and the possibility of only being allowed to give one unit of Platelets sometime, and if I go back to whole blood the plasma part being thrown away but I'd at least be giving red blood cells with one platelet. Turns out I'd only be giving 1/5th a platelet at best! So, if I can give 2 units of Platelets, awesome. But if I can only give one, that's still good and needed too.

Lastly, the other notable thing I remember is that all the other donors were male. Both the three that were there when I arrived and the three that came in after me. A first. Mom and I were discussing a couple months ago how more women (appear to) give Apheresis than men. It's nice to see that after women have been removed from Plasma donations, men seem to be stepping up to fill the void. Perhaps if women knew that Platelet donations are still very important, as I just learned, they might not be dissuaded from Apheresis. Or perhaps this was just a fluke day!

I then went to my LARP, Caducus. Heh, after a few hours when my body recovered I was able to play more with them. Still, I had fun pretty much the whole time.

I've got my October pin now :) My November Blood Party has been scheduled, the 17th. A Saturday! And in Riverview, which is 30 minutes or so away, so I'm going to need a driving buddy. If you want to come, let me know!



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