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?”