I gave platelets today. I went over to the Citicorp building on 53rd and Lex. at lunchtime and got my blood pumped out of me. The procedure, called Apheresis, entails putting 2 needles in one arm. The blood is taken out, centifuged, pulling the needed blood component out then adding an anticoagulant before returning the blood back into my arm. And it's not a restful procedure. You have to actually have a relationship with the machine- squeezing and pumping on the intake turn, and resting on the return. I'm tired.

Why give platelets? Because my blood is rare, whole blood donations are not in demand. But you can give platelets to anyone. Cancer patients, those receiving organ or bone marrow transplants, victims of traumatic injuries, and patients undergoing open heart surgery require platelet transfusions to survive. You can donate platelets every 3 days or so, because they're not taking whole blood, and they're giving back most of it.

So I'm sitting in the Blood Donor room, and my left hand has 2 needles in it. I was told not to move, or I would blow the vein. I tried to read, but everytime I tried to concentrate, I'd forget to squeeze and the machine would beep. It snitched on me! The technician would then come over and repeat the directions all over again. About 45 minutes into this, my hand goes totally numb. Then my lips, then my nose. Have you ever tried to squeeze something while your hand is asleep? It hurts. Fifty minutes into the procedure I look up and see the yellow pus, I mean platelets, hanging above me. Great. I can stand seeing blood, but this turned my stomach and I broke out in a sweat. 5 minutes later the room starts spinning. I told myself I have 13 minutes- I can do this for 13 minutes. I forget to squeeze, the machine beeps, and adds another 4 minutes. Argh! Finally, the machine beeped one last time and I was done. This was the first time I had such a strong reaction to giving.

I was going to try to do this once a week, but I think I'll have to scale it back to once a month. After this, giving blood is a dream. So remember- when the blood mobile comes around, donate!


soulspeak23 said...

don't look at the pus. bring your ipod next time. requires less concentration than reading, though you might not hear the beeps then!

nfama said...

two needles in one hand and your squeezing??? I do apheresis every other week and there is a needle in each arm, a pump arm and a receive arm. I usually watch TV with the heating blanket under me. The lips and nose tingling, and even sneezing can be mitigated by taking Tums which they usually have available for these symptoms. When your hand goes to sleep, it is usually a result of it resting too low. Ask the attendent to raise the pillow so that your hand is higher than the needle and numbness will subside.

Mamasoo said...

nfama- Yes, I was used to the needle in each arm. At Citicorp, they do it in one arm, so the trauna is worse. You're right, though- if my hand was raised, I don't think the numbness would have been so severe. Kudos to you for giving every other week! It's so important!

And for awhile, I was the only one giving, so all the attendants were standing around chatting-not really paying attention. I have to learn to speak up!


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