Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Apheresis

Today, I decided to do something nice.  I had the day off, and instead of lounging on the beach, I went ahead and renewed my driver's license early, updated my insurance, and with a few hours left over in the afternoon, I decided to do my part to help save someone's life.  I went to the local blood bank and donated blood.  Well, I did plan to donate blood, but as it turns out, the blood center needed my plasma even more than my blood for the local hospitals who urgently requested it for some critically ill patients.

So, I filled out a questionnaire, had my vital signs and quick history taken, then was given a tiny pin prick on my finger to test for iron in my blood.  And I got to admit, that tiny prick on my middle finger still stings a little.  How do people with diabetes cope with this kind of finger stick blood draws every day?  If my finger is still tender from one finger stick, I can't imagine how sore it'll be from checking my blood glucose levels several times a day.   But a little sting is a small price to pay to help someone heal and maybe save their life.

I was then taken to the room where the large recliners were next to the large machines that would do the apheresis--take my blood, separate out the plasma, then return the red blood cells and platelets back into my system along with a solution to replace the plasma I was donating.

The staff member that put the IV access in my arm was very skilled.  I didn't even feel the needle go into my arm!  The machine was pretty interesting and it was really neat to watch my blood going through and seeing the plasma end up in the donor bags.  I spent the next 45 minutes watching the machine, the tv, and making conversation with the staff and the one other donor there.  800ml of plasma in 50 minutes, and I was done! 

The IV was removed, a bandage and wrap was placed around my arm, and I was once again given instructions about what to do after donating plasma.  No smoking for 4 hours; no heavy lifting; leave the bandage wrap on for at least two hours; and my favorite, eat a large meal!  And as an unexpected bonus, I was given a snack and some small donor swag:

 

As a reward for doing something worthwhile today, I decided to stop by a local fast food place to get some shrimp and fries; and then on the way home, I stopped at Taco Bell and got 4 grillers, each a different variety.  Hey, I was told to eat a large meal after donating plasma. And I think I earned it.

8 comments:

  1. Salute to you for your donation! Nice hat!

    In the late 1960s in California, one could donate plasma for cash. I knew several guys in the Navy who did that on a regular basis to supplement our meager pay.

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  2. Well done you! I am a little squeamish... the blood flowing down the tube is probably not something I would like to watch!
    Apparently I weigh too little to give blood, which is a good excuse!
    Sx

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  3. LX, Thanks. The hat was a nice unexpected bonus. I was only expecting the usual cookie and a drink of orange juice.

    That sucks having to sell plasma to make up for low pay! But I guess it's much safer than selling drugs or contraband. At least the plasma helps out people who need it.

    Scarlet, Thank you. I never gave much thought about donating blood until I was summoned for jury duty the first time. There, a blood donor staff gave a passionate and informative speech about donating blood, and there was a mobile blood drive truck in front of the courthouse.

    So every time I'm summoned for jury duty (which seems like every year), I make sure to stop by the blood truck to donate blood.

    They do ask for your weight before giving blood. And I weigh enough to spare a few pints of blood for those who need it :)

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  4. Eros, you're wonderful! Donating blood or plasma is one of the selfless and easy things we can do for our fellow humans. Good for you!

    I donate blood every 2 months now and just did my 40th donation in February. I wasn't doing it regularly for a number of year so could probably have doubled that number if I had. They've never asked me to donate plasma. I should look into that. I know you can do it much more often than donating whole blood.

    The reason diabetics usually aren't much bothered by the finger pokes for a drop of blood is because diabetes damages the tiny nerves and they often don't have normal sensation in fingers and toes. A bonus when testing their blood sugar, but a definite liability if a cut or scrape occurs, as they may not notice it, and infection can easily set in. They have a much higher likelihood of having a foot amputated because of an unknown injury that develops into a huge infection or even gangrene.

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  5. Did someone mention a tiny prick?

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  6. Ponita, Thanks! And congratulations on donation number 40! Wow! You've definitely saved a lot of lives! Soon as I can, I'm donating again.

    Oh, man, diabetes is rough! You do an amazing job taking care of your patients--including educating and empowering them to be healthy. Thank you for sharing your knowledge!

    MJ, It may have been a tiny prick, but it still stung like a bee!

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  7. I think it's time I joined the programme.

    Thanks for the reminder. And hey! Well done you!

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  8. Hi and Thank you, Roses! It's always nice when we can do something simple and effective to help save someone's life. I know that they and their friends and family certainly appreciate a fighting chance at life.

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