As I Live and Learn
 

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I'm Offering a Solid IOU

I need help from someone. It's about a year long commitment, maybe a year and a half. And I would totally owe you. The kind of thing where if you called in the favor I'd make it a top, right now priority, or I'd owe you like $1,000. I'm not saying we should figure out terms, I'm just saying this is a big deal... to me.

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Saturday, August 09, 2008

Monthly Blood Party: July

Platelet Donor July (2008) Pin Blood Party Date: July 13th

My Appointment: 10:45 am

Other Participants:
None


This month's incentive:
I'll get my once a month serving of red meat: A Big Boy!

Recap:
New nurse again, the one I saw once before and said she was a new nurse, but this is the first time she was my nurse I believe. Livonia is getting more new nurses, and I haven't seen Diane (D..?) in a while, hm, I hope she hasn't been transfered or got a different job! (Unless it's better for her.) Dot's been there the last few times, I guess that's a whatever. Though Dot is very upbeat, which is nice. She's just not in my top three or so favorite nurses at donating.

The donation went very well. I say that with some surprise because the nurse didn't have to slow the machine down and I didn't set it off at all! I heard my nurse say to one of the others that I was doing well and she didn't want to say thing about it to me because I had told her the machine would have to be slowed down. All I needed was some tums. I wonder if all the exercise I've been getting the last three or so months is responsible. I've been walking to and from work almost since I started the job back in April, and I've lost weight because of it. Why couldn't it also be helping improve my veins' and arteries' tolerances, or just my circulation in general? Nice.

At the recovery table, one of the other donaters was there at the same time, which happens occasionally even if it's a Sunday (only Aphresis donations). But this guy was an AT&T salesman, and I became his next sale. Ugh. He kept saying how he closed 90% of the time *rolls eyes*. Maybe it was partially my fault for asking what he did and then sounding interested in it to begin with. It got to the point I really wanted to leave, but you're not supposed to before your time at the table is up. Just, junk (which means, even though the product is good, leave me alone!)

Oh, have I mentioned yet that I've decided I don't like this year's pins? Maybe that's why this donation and last I wasn't as motivated. They're just, eh. Hopefully once we get out of the Summer months they'll get a little better. January's (which I don't have posted) was cute, and April's was cute enough. But I'm not sure they really can do a whole lot better with the design being used this year. I really don't like that they can't be put together into a calendar. I've just been lining them up vertically. *shrugs*

I've got my July pin now :) Almost time to schedule my September Blood Party. Want to come? Let me know!

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Monthly Blood Party: June

Platelet Donor June (2008) Pin Blood Party Date: June 7th

My Appointment: 10:45 am

Other Participants:
None


This month's incentive:
I'll get a yummy Big Boy again!

Recap:
This donation went smoothly, nothing out of the ordinary, didn't set off the machine (well, maybe once, before the nurse turned down the draw). I just don't understand why the nurses don't believe us when we tell them stuff about how we react when we donate. I always saw they will need to slow the donation down, and either get told that that occurs after the first draw and return or else the machine like doubles the time - fine, valid enough reason - or I get dismissed with an "everyone says that". Well, there are REASONS everyone says that. Because it's true! Sometime in the last year the machines started drawing faster than before, and some of us, if not a lot of us, have bodies that simply can't tolerate it! But I think what really gets me is I tell the nurse, the nurse acknowledges or dismisses me in some way, and then even if the nurse meant to follow my advice about myself, the nurse ends up getting too busy at the time needed or just forgets. So I start setting off the machine, or in the cases where I was dismissed even getting to point where the needle starts vibrating in my arm. *sigh gr*

Anyway, this donation was good. Got yumminess, got home, had typical reaction, except that I managed to not take a pass-out-from-donating-nap! Odd but cool. :)

I've got my June pin now :) Almost time to schedule my September Blood Party. Want to come? Let me know!

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Monthly Blood Party: May

Platelet Donor May (2008) Pin Blood Party Date: May 3rd

My Appointment: 10:45 am

Other Participants:
None


This month's incentive:
I'll ...

Recap:
I really thought I had notes on this one written/typed out, but I can't find them :( I know this wasn't a smooth happy donation, but I don't really remember anything about it anymore! Which is why I write these posts. *little pout* Oh well.

The last two donations, I just didn't want to write before them about the ones before. Once I barely had the desire to go donate, :\. But this time (August), I don't mind writing about the other, and actually want to. I just have to find the time!


I've got my May pin now :) Almost time to schedule my September Blood Party. Want to come? Let me know!

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Saturday, May 03, 2008

Monthly Blood Party: April

Platelet Donor April (2008) Pin Blood Party Date: April 12th

My Appointment: 12:15 pm

Other Participants:
None



This month's incentive:
I'll get a Big Boy! And since I didn't have one last time, double bonus!

Recap:
In Bloomfield Hills again! Ahh!

A couple Livonia nurses up there again, including the one who kinds looks like Donna/Diane, but isn't. She's really sweet though, I like her too. And it was a good thing, because I came in and told the teen volunteer at the welcome counter that I was here for Apheresis, and she clearly had no clue what to do about that but obviously thought she did. She told me to sit in the waiting chairs and when I got called to tell them I was here for apheresis. If that nurse (whose name I don't know) hadn't randomly walked into the waiting area and seen me, I would have been sitting there a while and missed my appointment! She even said so.

Anyway, once in, and the other nurses heard I was from Livonia, I was asked why I was way up there in Bloomfield Hills. I told them because Livonia has such an awfully planning and minimal schedule these days that it's very hard to get an appointment, but it wasn't like I wasn't going to donation just because of that! By this point I'd already made my May appointment, and even was able to get in on the only Saturday a month they are in Livonia. It seems the trick is to schedule over a month in advance. Of course that will only work until everyone figures out that trick, and then it'll be super hard again. It boggles my mind that the Red Cross doesn't realize they are loosing donations by doing this. Having cut the hours in the most popular donation center only cuts the donations because there are plenty of donors who are willing to give but not willing to go through all the hassle I and a couple other returning donors I know of go through to stay re-occurring apheresis donors.

Moving on from the re-occurring rant, :), I had a new nurse again. But it's a different center so that's to be expected. However, I thought I recognized her form the time I donated in Livonia on a Friday, and I was right! Her name is Susan, or Sandy, I can't remember any more (hey, it's been almost a month). Either way, I really liked her. She too started me off on much to low a time frame on the machine, and I told her it was too low, and she said something similar to last month, but added that they always have to slow down the machine (lengthen the time) for everyone, and that they do so after the first draw and return are complete.

Side note: a learned a few donations ago, I don't remember which, that the machine is slow for the first draw and return as it gauges it's set up to the person. I also learned on the donation before or after that things work better if you do normal squeezing and releasing of your hand during the first draw but then stop during the first return (I was told that by my nurse at the time). I try to remember to do that, but sometimes forget.

Anyway, back to the donation. Sally/Sandy/Susan did slow me down some after the first draw and return, but not to my normal time frame. But to my surprise, she made the shorter time span and my donation work just fine! It was around 75 minutes, and I nearly set off the machine a couple times, but didn't quite. I might have set it off once, I don't quite remember now, but that was it. Good nurse.

I was the only one not donating whole blood. I asked about it, and was told that the first round of the day had been full, and this around was supposed to be also but I was the only one who showed up. Ah well, hey that meant I got all the nurses to myself! Which I do enjoy.

I stopped for only about 5 minutes at the recovery table, instead of the normal 15. One person almost bothered me about it, but I reminded them all that I had a 1/2 drive ahead of me and only 15-20 minutes of guaranteed okay time before I started crashing. So I got shooed out the door, and made it to Big Boy and then home fine. :) I actually did very well after the donation for quite a while. I did end up crashing, but not for maybe two hours! And it wasn't a very big effect this time, a little nap - which was interrupted by my real estate agent for a planned meeting - and a little sitting and I was near fine again in about another two hours. Woot.

I've got my April pin now :) Almost time to schedule my June Blood Party. Want to come? Let me know!

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Monthly Blood Party: March

Platelet Donor March (2008) Pin Blood Party Date: March 25th

My Appointment: 02:45 pm

Other Participants:
None



This month's incentive:
I'll have a girl's party afterwards! Only I didn't. But I got some me time in the middle of the week.

Recap:
Since I was switching jobs and had two vacation days to take before I left my current one, I was on a little home vacation Monday and Tuesday. And since making appointments in Livonia has gotten ridiculously stupid and hard to do, the ONLY time that fit for them and was still in March was Tuesday afternoon. I tried real hard not to put the donation on my vacation, but oh well.

I got there, and had a new nurse, or was it an old one I hadn't seen in a very long time? Okay, it's early May now and I've forgotten a lot of this, so I'll just try to be short. It was either a new nurse surrounded by nurses I didn't know or hadn't seen in a long time, or Donna was there also in the background. (Turns out her name is Diane! I think... my memory back this far is hazy, but I remember going back in after my donation to get the complain to phone number for a co-donor who was upset about the donation schedule - or lack thereof - too, and asking D and since I was calling her by name I asked what her name actually was!) Anyhoo.

I had I nurse that didn't know me. But she didn't listen to me either. She set the machine WAY to fast, and when I told her I needed to be in the 90-99 minutes range for a good donation, she said that they always start people this low and make adjustments as needed. I tried to warn her, but she wasn't having it. And then, of course, I started setting off the machine, and the needle even vibrated in my arm a few times. Something which hasn't happened in a long while. These things happened more than once because she wouldn't drop the machine to the time range I told her, just incrementally make little changes until we reached there. She could have saved us both some hassle, but no. >:p

Anyway, the donation was fine otherwise. Got out. Had some nice conversation with other donors (whole blood, not who came with me). I've been having good conversations at the recovery table post-donation lately. It's nice.

So I got home, and called to let peoples who were supposed to be coming over know I was ready. They were coming to my house because we knew I wouldn't be able to drive or do much of anything but sit and talk for hours. But it turned out that didn't matter. One of the family's had to cancel because they didn't start doing their errands for the day until shortly before I called... at 5 in the afternoon. *sigh* And the other family then had to cancel because the Mother couldn't drive out here with her baby alone as the baby hadn't been doing well at all in car rides and needed someone sitting next to her. Sad me.

But good for donating! And I had a good/nice vacation otherwise, even if I did a lot more cleaning up and such than I had to and less of the stuff I really wanted to.

I really actually was not bitter. Just temporarily disappointed.

I've got my March pin now :) Almost time to schedule my June Blood Party. Want to come? Let me know!

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Monthly Blood Party: February

Platelet Donor February (2008) Pin Blood Party Date: February 10th

My Appointment: 01:00 pm

Other Participants:
None



This month's incentive:
I'll get to have a Big Boy! Yummy!

Recap:
I managed to get in on the last Sunday appointment only a few days before due to a cancellation. Woot!

New nurse. I think I've seen her once before, though not in Livonia. I was a little tinsy-bit worried, because of last month, about a nurse who doesn't know my typical donations. Donna was there, I believe she's become my favorite nurse. She knows me by name without the chart now too! She called me by my name before I was even in for check-in and physical and getting the chart out.

Anyway, things went flawlessly! I apparently scared the new nurse when she put the needle in when I sucked in through my teeth to counter the pain, but being a professional she didn't even flinch until after it was in. I checked to make sure the timing on the machine was set right for me, and it was very close. I watched to make sure the blood pressure cuff wasn't put above 20, and she didn't. I had to ask for a blanket, but that was it. She even set me up with a tray right next to me for my book and cookies, and checked if I needed juice near the end of the donation. The only thing that showed she didn't know me as a donor was that right after I was hooked up she asked if I'd need Tums. Used to be I did, but not since switching to platelets only. It was correct of her to ask me, not knowing me. She was great.

Before the donation, on an off chance, I asked Donna if the January pins had come in. They had! She said just a week before. She said they were the January pins for this year, not last, and the February ones were in too. It turns out there's a whole new set of monthly pins for this year! (As you've probably already realized if you've looked at the pictures with this and last month's posts, heh.) Now I have a new collection to work for. Nice. :)

I did get hit with the after effect this time, pretty bad. It lasted well into the evening. Then again, I donated a lot later than usual - I wasn't on the machine until 1:40pm - so perhaps it just seemed later because of that. Jim was very nice and brought me green grapes (I started craving them) and soda (I was out of), because I felt I couldn't be sure of safely going to the grocery store. Fred came along with him, and we had a nice time talking for about half an hour before they had to go.

I've got my January and February pins now :) Almost time to schedule my March Blood Party. Want to come? Let me know!

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Monthly Blood Party: January

Platelet Donor January (2007) Pin Blood Party Date: January 20th

My Appointment: 10:00 am

Other Participants:
D.V. - Moral Support



This month's incentive:
We're going out to lunch afterwards.

Recap:
D.V. wasn't feeling too well, so things were a bit odd in the having someone with me department. And we ended up going to P.F. Chang's instead of the Thai place we were supposed to go to. Sad. Oh well. At least we had some decent talking.

On the donation side, the nurse I got was one I hadn't seen in a while. One of the two "flaky" type nurses. I haven't had problems donating like this time in QUITE a while. Needle vibrating in my arm. The machine alarm going off a bunch. Getting more cold than the heating pad could stave off. The nurse was also having a problem with the blood pressure cuff, it wouldn't hold pressure. She eventually used the special tube scissors to seal the tubes on the cuff so it'd hold air pressure. I made her take the pressure down to 20 though, anything higher was just too tight for the length of time I'd be on the machine. Two nurses also gave me happy hand-warmers for each hand, one two keep in my left hand next to my chest under the blanket. (I donate using my right arm.) Those helped, some. :)

Eventually I realized the underlying cause for the problems I have having. The machine was set too fast. For the last many months I've been donating 2 platelets in 90-99 minutes on the machine (usually closer to 95 or 96 I think). This nurse had me set at 70-something! When she finally got me set at the right level, and the problems subsided. Except my arm, elbow to wrist, got to really hurting towards the end. But I can't move my arm or it could dislodge the needle, or worse, tear the artery. The nurse helped me kinda reposition, and I was able to deal with the discomfort until the end of the donation. Except the nurse ended me early too. Not too much early, only like 2 - 5 minutes. I was up to the 2 platelet minimum, so it didn't really bother me. Just, odd.

Lastly, they didn't have any January pins. *pout* So my calendar isn't complete. They said the January pins were never sent to them. I wonder if some other center got any.

But my nurse from December kept her promise, and there was a December pin waiting for me. Happy. :)

Have to remember to schedule February's donation, even though the pin collecting is over. Wonder if I'll keep up being so stubborn about getting in a donation each month without the pins?

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Rare Blood Types

Everyone knows there are three standard blood antigens that tell you what your Blood Group is: A, B, and O. Which can combine to form one of four possibilities: OO (called O), AO and OA (called A), BO and OB (called B), and AB.

And, of course, everyone knows that after the letter(s) there is a positive or negative. That + or - stands for whether or not your blood has the Rhesus (Rh) antigen.

But there exist rare blood types outside of the standard eight.

Here appears to be a comprehensive list of rare blood types. I had no idea there were so many! I knew about Duffy-negative, which is primarily found in people with strong African ancestry. I also knew about U- and Jk(b), which are also found only in Black Americans. But it turns out there are a whole lot more: MASTER CHART of RARE BLOOD TYPES

Though I just found out from the Red Cross's website that "there are more than 600 known antigens besides A and B that characterize the proteins found on a person's red cells"! No wonder there are so many rare blood types! Makes me wonder how the eight dominate got so. One in A Million: The American Rare Donor Program

Life Share blood centers have a chart of the rare types for African Americans, and the probability of finding them in our population: Blood Facts | Rare Traits

Lastly, here's something never heard of before: someone's blood type actually changed. Following a Liver transplant, not only did this teen's immune system completely accept the organ (VERY rare), but her blood type had changed to match the blood type of the donor!! Transplant 'miracle' for teen

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Monthly Blood Party: December

Apheresis Donor December (2007) Pin Blood Party Date: December 28th

My Appointment: 08:45 am

Other Participants:
None



This month's incentive:
I'll get to go to work late as it's on a Friday!

Recap:
Yup, that's right, I donated on a Friday. Due to the holidays, I had no time on the weekends that matched available donation times. I didn't know the center (in Livonia) was open on weekdays! Normally that wouldn't matter, but an early Friday appointment between Christmas and New Year's was pretty good.

Happy to be back in Livonia donating. Things went well. I had been concerned they might not let me donate since I had been SUPER sick with a cold the week before and through Christmas and had just gotten over most of it a couple days before the donation but still had a stuffy nose. The nurse said so long as I didn't have an active infection - fever, running nose, or cough - I was okay to donate (apheresis). 2 Platelets again, as it's been since having to switch to Platelets only. Only, just like last time, my arm really hurt by the end of the donation. It was the second time in a row, so it made me think the last time wasn't just a weird side effect. In fact, I figured out at the end of the donation that the new pain was due to the blood pressure cuff they kept on all during the donation. I didn't realize until the moment the nurse deflated the cuff that it had been slightly inflated (at about 20) the whole time! And then I recalled they had done the same thing at my last donation in Riverview. So it wasn't some weird thing done in Riverview, but apparently a new practice at all the aphresis donation sites.

It wasn't a big problem, but they didn't have my pin. :( *pout* It was so late in the month they had run out! But my nurse promised to have one for me by the next time I came in to donate. As a side note, my nurse was not one I've seen in Livonia before. I wonder if it's because there's a different staff on weekdays than weekends. Except I recognized most of the other nurses. *shrugs*

I went and got my Big Boy yumminess, then home to work from home during the day. This time, as with last time, I didn't get "hit" (affected) by donating hard like has been usual. Though last time, it was the next morning while working in the ER for my EMT class that the donation affected my negatively. Oddly enough. I had to go sit down and take several deep measured breaths, was feeling a bit nauseous too. But it passed after I drank the water the cute, nice other student working with me brought me.

So I don't have my December pin yet. *pout* But I earned it, and that's really the point.

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Monthly Blood Party: November

Apheresis Donor November (2007) Pin Blood Party Date: Novemeber 17th

My Appointment: 10:45 am

Other Participants:
None



This month's incentive:
I'll take people for food, before we go help Kevin move.

Recap:
So because of that same awful scheduling, I had to travel all the way out to Riverview this time. Where the heck is THAT?!? The woman in Detroit who schedules my appointments sent the Riverview center's phone number along too so I could call them and get directions.

I got plenty early to go pick up P.M. at his college house in Detroit and then get to the center. I spent 10 - 15 minutes trying to wake and/or find him knocking and calling (on the phone). Finally I had to give up so I could make my appointment on time. Got there, no real problem.

The donation itself I don't remember having any issues with (though it has been two months). Despite the distance, there was still one nurse I knew from Livonia. *shakes head* Just odd.

I got my pin! I then worked to get to Kevin's new place as he was moving that day. I knew I wouldn't be able to carry anything to help, but I figured there might be something else I could do. Or at least just be there for moral support (heh). The only real concern I had was would I be able to get there before the donation hit me? I was supposed to have two people along with me this time, but one had to cancel due to work, and the other I mentioned above.

My other problem was finding a Big Boy to get my now traditional after donation yummy "meal" since I was in an area I'd never been in before. It took a few minutes, even with some guess of guidance from people at the donation center, but I managed to find one! And I managed to get back to a highway I knew would get me to some place I knew, then to Kevin's. It was nice seeing people. :)

I've got my Novemeber pin now :) The January Blood Party is scheduled for the 20th. Eventhough it's a Sunday, I always like company. Want to come? Let me know!

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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:
None



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

Recap:
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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Monthly Blood Party: September

Apheresis Donor September (2007) Pin Blood Party Date: September 23rd

My Appointment: 10:15 am

Other Participants:
None



This month's incentive:
I bought myself my new favorite sandwich from take out: A Big Boy.

Recap:
I wasn't able to find anyone to go with me. Turned out that was okay. Livonia doesn't do whole blood donations on Sundays, only Aphresis! I didn't know that, so if I had someone with me they would have only been able to sit with me.

My first time since women are denied being able to donate Plasma. I asked about being able to do a double Platelet donation. The nurse said it depends on my platelet counts from previous donations. According to the numbers, I was allowed! Turned out, I actually had the count for a triple platelet donation, but they only did a double, seemingly for two reasons. 1) I was assigned as a P2 incorrectly, should have been a P3 according to the nurse who checked me in when she checked on the nurse who was hooking me up. 2) I had not given more than 1 amount of Platelets before, so jumping to three could be cause for concern.

I don't remember much else about this visit. It's been too long and I've had another one since then, so memories get confused (which is why I've been blogging about these between each donation, until now). I do remember that the young waiter at Big Boy was very kind, or thoughtful if you with, and brought me a big cup of water with my sandwich because he saw my "Be Nice To Me I Gave Blood Today" sticker, and probably because he saw me looking not well while waiting for it.

I've got my September pin now :) October was right around the corner. Onward.

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Monthly Blood Party: August

Apheresis Donor August (2007) Pin Blood Party Date: August 11th

My Appointment: 12:45 pm

Other Participants:
P.M. - Whole Blood Donor



This month's incentive:
I'll take donors to dinner.

Recap:
Bloomfield Hills!? Yeah. SEM went on a new donation schedule, which sees all their phresis donation centers pretty much closed on weekends. The Livonia center, mine, is only open on Saturday a month now, which happened to be on a day I couldn't do, and by the time I called the only Sunday for August was booked. Gr.

But Bloomfield Hills was open on the Saturday I needed, so I took an appointment there. That center is about 25 minutes away from me. I went and picked up P.M., then we came back to my place in case anyone else would be able to come. No one else, so the two of us headed up.

Two of the Livonia nurses were there, which made me happy. Only to find out that Bloomfield Hills hasn't been open on a Saturday before! SO odd, why are they doing this wacky stuff? My nurses and I could have been in Livonia, much more convenient for all of us. At the end of the donation, they gave me a phone number I could call to complain, since I was minorly ranting about all this when I arrived. (I did eventually call.)

Being in a different center meant they didn't have my ongoing chart either... and why? I have no clue. There was plenty of enough time for headquarters to send my chart over. But instead there was a faxed over copy of one page of my chart. *sigh* On the plus side, that meant I donated 1 platelets and 2 plasma because they didn't have the chart which had the "1 platelet, 1 plasma" limit written on it! And the nurse attending me, eventhough a Livonia one, didn't remember. I didn't say anything, or even ask about that until near the end of my donation when I started feeling weird and realized what was possibly going on. Same symptoms as last time I donated 2 Plasma - shaking, feeling my face is being sucked downwards (Invisible aliens!), cold, etc. - but not as severe or long lasting. Thankfully. Since I was less than 5 minutes or so away from finishing the donation when I started feeling the symptoms of giving too much plasma, I happily finished out the donation.

I hung out around the cookie and recovery area extra time just to be sure. Bloomfield Hills had the best cookie selection I've seen so far! Every kind you could almost think of. Especially Oreos. Mmmm.

P.M. and I then headed back to P.F. Changs as is traditional. CHI-NA BIS-TRO! I was having to rest a lot, any exertion on my part demanded at least a few minutes of sitting and not moving. :p We had an experience on the way home that was awesome for me, but is a whole other story (and one I've already shared once too many).

P.M. and I had a fun time. We ended up staying up late together and talking, mostly because I didn't feel safe to drive until around 9pm and by then we were into deep important stuff. I enjoy hanging out with him, and look forward to doing it again! We'll try to leave the invisible aliens home next time. ;) Poor things got blamed for a bunch that day.

I've got my August pin now :) Almost time for my September Blood Party, literally, as it's tomorrow! I know it's short notice, but you can still come. Let me know!

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Monthly Blood Party: July

Apheresis Donor July (2007) Pin Blood Party Date: July 14th

My Appointment: 10:45 am

Other Participants:
D.V. - Moral Support



This month's incentive:
Free laundry and the traditional lunch at P.F. Changs!

Recap:
J.P. (formerly J.D.) called late to let me know she was Sick. :/ Bad stomach stuff, which had caused her to sleep in by about 2 hours (very unusual for her). Hopefully she'll feel better soon! D.V. called to let me know he was running late, but thankfully he arrived minutes before we had to leave for the appointment. Though that did mean we had to stop back at my place after donating before eating to get laundry in.

Got to the donation center. No problems getting in or anything. I almost did have a problem being allowed to donation though. I take iron fortified one-a-day women's vitamin pills each morning for the week before I donate because I typically have a low iron level, and I did so this week too. But despite that my iron reading came in at 38 instead of my standard 40 under those circumstances. The minimum iron level allowed to donate is 38, right on the edge! I've been turned away before for too low iron, very happy it didn't happen this time.

The only odd thing that really occurred was I sat back in the chair waiting for about 20 minutes while my nurse did the paperwork and labeling that needs to happen. Usually the nurse does all that after putting in the needle and starting the blood donation. Huh. The donation itself was pretty standard for me, I set off the machine a couple times, though not until later in the donation. But I completed it. One plasma and one platelet.

The man next to me was donating 3 platelets, I didn't know that was allowed! I thought 2 was the max. Makes me a little sad to not be able to give as much, though I did give a plasma also.

I noticed on my year-long chart that someone has written on the top "One plasma One platelet only". Which explains why the last few times that's all they've taken. I guess the two times I had bigger issues triggered someone to pass on the message to not try to take any more than that. But I've done two plasma and one platelet just fine before! *sigh* Oh well.

After my donation, D.V. and I went to P.F. Changs, as it traditional now! Yummy food as always. Though I sent mine back the first time because he and I were so deep in conversation and my mind was completely unable to multi-task due to my body's state for having donated that I didn't notice the server preparing my Mu-shu like they are instructed to but I don't like, even though I half watched her do it. Oye. My fault so I didn't jip the tip.

Hey! Finally got a blood donation design up. :) The stuff in the donation bag is gold because it's plasma because that's what I donate. Even platelets when donated are gathered suspended in plasma and so look gold too, with white clouds in it which are the platelets.

I've got my July pin now :) The August Blood Party is scheduled for August 11th, leaving my house at noon. Want to come? Let me know!

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Friday, July 06, 2007

July BP Date and Time

I was trying to get the 21st, but I have a LARP on the 22nd and don't really want to be running around after having donated. So I'm sticking with the 14th. Unfortunately (for some) that means an early donation time. Here's the details:

July Blood Party!
Saturday, July 14th - That's one week from tomorrow folks!
10:15am, meeting at my house.

Unless there's a specific movie people want to see, we'll be doing lunch afterwards. Me paying, as usual.

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Monthly Blood Party: June

Apheresis Donor June (2007) Pin Blood Party Date: June 16th

My Appointment: 12:15 am

Other Participants:
P.M. - Whole Blood Donor



This month's incentive:
I'll take whomever donates out to lunch.

Recap:
Got up, got out (10 minutes late), got P.M. and still got back well in time for my appointment. We arrived 15 minutes early, but this time I was brought right in for the mini physical and questionnaire. Then back to the chair and machine. I asked for the heating pad to be turned on, so I wouldn't get so cold like last month. I was hoping due to last time the machine wouldn't try for more than one amount of platelets. And, thankfully it didn't! I asked the nurse, and was told this time we'd be going for one plasma and one platelet. One nurse whose been there the last two times I've done this (I don't remember her name, she is a little darker skinned than me and has blond died hair) told my nurse, who I've not seen there before, that I've had reactions the last two times donating. But this time... was most like my first couple times. The needle vibrated in my arm several times, I set off the machine's alarms a handful of times, they gave me tums for the extra anti-coagulant they had to give me. I also noticed the amount of plasma the machine was going to collect from me was reduced. Still enough for a full plasma donation, but not a large one last the last two times. I had to ask for a blanket (that was at the beginning), but my nurse gave me the hand warmer packet thing on her own.

A nurse I haven't seen the last couple donations, Dot, was there this time, and as my nurse started to get a little "hmm" over all that was going on with me, Dot popped in to say that this was typical for me during a donation. Which was- is true. The nurses also said that I had a lot of platelets when they checked the bag when checking to make sure I'd make it through the donation. So now I'm thinking maybe my big problem last month was not due to me normally having low platelet levels. After all, the machine wouldn't have tried to take two donations worth if I numerically didn't have enough to spare. My nurse determined that my problem this time was likely mild dehydration since I had not had anything to drink before coming to donate other than the milk in my cereal. You know, she might just be right! I need to remember to drink before I go donate next month, and see if it goes smooth like the last two months (until the end that is). I finished out this donation successfully, even got the happy "all done!" music from the machine this month. P.M. called it leveling-up. :)

We went to P.F. Changs afterwards. It was fun talking to P.M., learning about him and becoming better friends.

China Bistro. (The phrase we picked up to randomly said for a while. Each syllable spoken as a word but not slowly, quietly).

I've got my June pin now. :)! Almost time to schedule my July Blood Party. Want to come? Let me know!

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

June BP Date and Time

The June Blood Party will be Saturday, June 16th, meeting at my house at 11:45am. If you can come, let me know! Unless someone comes up with something better, my offer for joining me in donating is lunch afterwards. So give me ideas and/or give me your names!

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Pre-Blood Parties

Apheresis Donor February (2007) PinApheresis Donor March (2007) Pin

Donation Date: February 3rd

Donation Date: March 10th








I just happened to donate Apheresis in February of this year. My second time ever, if memory serves correctly. Then I received the "Donor News" mailing about the 2007 campaign and its pins, and I wanted in! So I scheduled and went to a donation in March, were I got both my February and March pins. :)

I know one time I went alone, because my companion from the first time I'd done Apheresis wasn't available, and Kim was worried about me going alone based on what had happened that first time. (Not written up yet). But I knew I had at least 15 minutes before I started getting wierd, and since the donation center is literally 1.5 miles from my home I knew I'd make it back in time on my own.

I don't remember if anyone came with me the other time. If you did, tell me!

At first I was sad, a little disappointed, that I had missed January and so wouldn't be able to complete the collection. But the nurse(s) told me both in March and April that the program hadn't actually started in January. And so in order to get the January pin one would have to donate January 2008. YAY! I didn't miss it after all, and I'll be able to get the whole year! Me == happy.

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Monthly Blood Party: April

Apheresis Donor April (2007) PinBlood Party Date: April 14th

My Appointment: 12:45 am

Other Participants:
J.D. - Whole Blood Donor
D.P. - Lunch Table Company


The first month's incentive:
I'll take whomever donates out to lunch.

Recap:
Well, we get there 15 minutes early, and I'm told I missed my appointment. That it was at 12:15. And since they are doing the 12:30 appointment - who was 15 minutes late - right now, if the 12:45 one doesn't show up then they will take me. Otherwise I'd have to reschedule, likely for the next Saturday. *sigh* I know I asked for 12:45, and that it was 12:45 for me. Next time, I have a reminder card sent in the mail to be certain.

J.D. and I decide she should still donate, 'cause it won't take as long, and her schedule isn't as open as mine. Plus it was the first Blood Party! Can't have something ruin that, right? So she gets to waiting and processing, and the 12:45 does show up, also 15 minutes late. Bummer. So at 1pm, after half an hour of waiting, I'm told I'm not donating.

But then one of the apheresis nurses says she'll take me anyway since I was already there. Yay! I get processed in record time, and back to the chairs, where it turns out the chair from me missing the 12:15 appointment is open and ready.

The donation goes really well in and of itself too. I get a little hand warmer to squeeze, in place of the blood drop squeezy, because my hand gets so cold. I try to tell them my hands are always cold, but that's okay because I ended up liking the hand warmer. SO Warm! It's made from a plastic packet that typically holds blood for testing, but instead filled with some sort of pale liquid that they microwave to heat up. Mmmm. Between that (they rotated it with another as they got cold) and that the nurse told me to continuously open and close my hand, instead of just once every 5 seconds, I had very little problems with the needle on a blood return! The machine only beeped the alarm once (unlike the three, four, or more times it would the last three times I had done apheresis donations). Glad I learned a new trick for keeping the vein in my arm open. It meant they didn't have to have the machine slow down on blood drawing and returning, nor did they have to give me anti-coagulant to thin my blood and then tums to counteract the effect the anti-coagulant has on the stomach. I'm told they took 2 units of plasma and 1 unit of platelets. (The same as in March, nicely enough.)

J.D. was allowed back to sit and talk with me after she finished donating. We had fun talking about stupid frufru stuff, small talk, and some more life important things. She even showed both the nurse and I how the little blood drop on a string (it's a soft charm) went on a cell phone. Which, in my defense, I couldn't figure out because, as we discovered, my cell phone doesn't have the slot for a charm to go on! Afterwards, we headed over to Olive Garden for food and to meet D.P. He didn't manage to get there until nearly the end of the meal! But we had a cute little Olive Garden stuffed animal sit in for him until he arrived.

So despite the small participation, my first Blood Party turned out to be a success!

BOWL of SALAD. (Hehe, J.D. and I started just saying that randomly during the lunch and kept it up until we parted ways that day. It's said slowly, each word with determination or conviction.)

I've got my April pin. :) Almost time to schedule my June Blood Party. Want to come? Let me know!

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

My Monthly Blood Parties

Ew! Get your mind outta there!

So what is a Blood Party you ask? It's where people join me in going to donate blood, and in return for donating I do something for those people. They occur once a month because I have gone to donating Apheresis over Whole Blood, and apheresis donations can be done every 4 weeks. (Whereas Whole Blood donations can be only done every 8 weeks.)

An Apheresis donation is where blood is taken from you, put through a machine that seperates it into Red Blood cells, Platelets, and Plasma, then takes only what you are donating that day, puts the rest of the blood back together, and that blood is returned to you. It's actually pretty cool. And they can do all that - plus they have you on an IV for saline and, if needed, anti-coagulant - through one needle! They take and return blood from the same arm, through the same needle. The needle is attached to three tubes, one for taking, one for return, and one for the IV. It really is very neat.

I enjoying learning something new about it each time a donate. Such as, Plasma is gold. Platelets are white, but since they are so fragile they can't be removed or transported on their own so they are collected in a slight bit of plasma, and you can see the "clouds" of platelets that gather in the plasma in the bottom of the collection bag. Platelets only live 5 days outside the human body, and can not be frozen. Plasma can be frozen. And the ability of types to donate red blood to each other is reversed for plasma! For example, as an A+ blood type I can give blood to A+ and AB+ types (44% of the population), but I can give plasma to A+, A-, O+, and O- types (85% of the population!). So it's more effective for me to give plasma than whole blood. Plus I can give platelets at the same time, which live so short they are almost always needing to be donated. In fact, people who donate only platelets can donate every 2 weeks (instead of 4).

Blood Parties started because of a "Donor News" mailing I received from my local Red Cross which announced a new campaign for 2007. (This is a collage of the relevant stuff.)

A new pin for each month for Apheresis donors! And they turn into a calender when all together. So cool! At first I was a bit shamed to admit it. I mean, I have to be bribed to do something good? And a cheap bribe at that! A little pin? But really, the program was made to get people in. And if all the incentive I need is a set of little pins to collect, why is that bad? The program is working for me. So I thought, can I make things better by getting more people involved too?

Thus monthly Blood Parties were born. Me gathering up friends (and whomever wants to) to come donate whole blood while I donate apheresis, and then me thanking them with something afterwards. The first time it was taking them out to lunch.

My friend Jessie D. named these events. I was trying to call them "Donation Saturday", but "Blood Party" sounds much more interesting. :) And it's appropriate, if you think right!

More links for info on donating blood:
Platelet Apheresis
https://www.givelife.org/

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Monthly Blood Party: May

Apheresis Donor May (2007) Pin Blood Party Date: May 19th

My Appointment: 10:45 am

Other Participants:
M.S. - Whole Blood Donor
K.W. - Moral Support


This month's incentive:
I'll pay admission to the Motor City Comic Con for all who donate.

Recap:
We arrived on time for my
donation appointment, despite my rushing because I was also trying to be ready for the convention we were going to right after donating. K.S. sewed a whole in my uniform for the convention while I was in the mini-physical and question part of donating. Then I got hooked up and they let her come back to sit with me. M.S. had to wait a while longer to get through processing because it turned out most of the whole blood donation nurses were out at lunch.

I was surprised to see so few Apheresis donors. The last few times I've donated there were at least two other donors there with me. (The donation center has four Apheresis chairs, and two months ago one was broken.) They're always full! I figured it was because I don't usually come this early. But the nurse I was working with said they had been fully booked for the day, but already had four no shows. :\ Bad. Though not for me, I got tons of nurse attention! Three nurses all for me. :)

Things went about as well as usual for most of it. K.S. and I talked much of the time, sometimes with the nurses sitting around. Made faces at M.S. a couple times, as once he got into a table it was facing towards me. I love the hand warmers. I tried that trick I picked up last time, and sure enough the needle didn't vibrate even once! I was told they'd be taking one plasma and two platelets this time. That's a switch! Though one plasma is 200ml, and the machine said it'd be taking 315ml. Hmm.

Well, they only got 1.5 plasma and 1 platelet. Towards the end I started shaking. I thought it was the chair shaking me because there was a heating vent right behind it. But since K.S. was sitting right there I asked her to feel the chair and tell me if it was shaking, just to be sure. She said it wasn't. So nurse(s) got called over. They thought I was shivering, but I told them I didn't feel cold, I was just shaking, and my stomach was starting to feel weird. They gave me tums, and stopped the machine from taking more, sent it into a return so I'd get my blood back. They got me juice and three cookies. Since they already had over one plasma and one platelet, they simply ended the donation after that. Which I'm glad for because I've never had shaking when I donate (it took until after it was all over for me to finally believe it was me shaking and not the chair). Almost immediately I started feeling better, and in another minute or two my stomach settled. But I was still shaking and wasn't sure I'd feel steady on my feet. So I stayed in the chair for a few minutes resting, until I felt sure enough I could walk. One nurse made me eat all of the cookies before she let me even sit up. I left the chair earlier than I probably should have, but I wanted to get out to the recovery area where my friends were, where I would stay until I was completely better. But once I got out there (and away from the heating pad that was on the chair I had been sitting in) I realized I was COLD. The volunteer brought me a blanket.

Eventually the shaking stopped completely. While I was at the recovery area drinking more than usual and eating even more cookies, I had a strange sensation. I was warming up, and suddenly I got cold. Not as in I shifted from warm to cold, but as in I warmed up to cold. I've only felt that once before, which was back in High School when I got out of the woods of Survival class and we discovered I had been in hypothermia for who knows how long. Now, it's not likely I was in hypothermia from donating. But it is likely I had gone into shock.

Don't anyone worry, I was being watched well by the volunteer, K.S., and myself. K.S. monitored me and my drinking juices even after they let me leave the center. And we went on to have a fun day. Lunch at P.F. Changs in Northville Township, which seems to becoming traditional for food after donating. Then to the con for autographs, pictures, and hiding "droids" from the 501st, and shopping!

I've got my May pin now :) Almost time to schedule my June Blood Party. Want to come? Let me know!

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