Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Pass The Tums, I'm Donating Red Blood Cells

[updated in comments]

I donated blood yesterday afternoon, and for the first time I did a Apheresis/Platelet donation. I think. That link says it takes two hours, but the process itself only took about 30 minutes and I was there for an hour total...but the rest sounds right.

It's kind of crazy when you think about it...they take your blood out, siphon off the part they want and put the rest back in...and the shelf life of this type of donation is only 5 days, so in the next four days my 2 units of red blood cells will be USED.

While donating I totally wanted to call out, "Plasma! Dog Plasma!"

I emailed my sister Amy, former Red Cross employee and apheresis/platelet donor, during my time in hook-up to let her know what I was doing. When I got home there was a reply from her asking how it went. I told her I was home and it went okay...it had been chilly in the room and I had taken off my sweatshirt for better arm access (I hate having the blood pressure cuff on over my bunched-up sleeve) which left me in a t-shirt for an hour and I was COLD after my walk home...and that as weird as it sounded, I felt like my upper lip was tingling during the 'returns' - the times when they were putting stuff back in me.

She replied, "They should have Tums there...if you suck on them while pheresing, the tinglies should stop."

This fascinates me and I can't explain why, but I wish I would have mentioned it instead of assuming I was doing it wrong, or I'm a freak of nature who tingles during apheresis/platelet donations.

I felt a little more wiped out after the donation, but I don't know how much of that is due to apheresis...immediately after I came home, made dinner, hustled everyone back up to school for the volleyball game and worked the concession stand from 5:30-8:30. Even though I ate dinner and was drinking water all night I think I was still a bit dehydrated when I got home. And DUDE... let's just say I noticed more urine output.

Our little school racked up 42 units of blood last night, and I don't know if that includes the type of donation I did. Last year, they ran out of donation bags...this year they were turning people away because they ran out of time. Pretty terrific...although it may have had something to do with offering the class with the highest % of donor representation a pizza party.

Now, I'm off to Red Cross Racing to record my donation because Nephew E likes to redeem the points for Biffle Racing gear.

I have not received a 'next donation' sticker at the last two blood drives I've attended, but according to The Red Cross website I'm good to go again in 7 days; that would be awesome if the opportunity arose again.


Kailey said...

Wow! That's pretty neat. I didn't know they had a website like that. I used to give blood every opportunity I had. I should really get back to doing that. Life's never too busy to save a life.

Glenda said...

Very interesting about the Tums; logging that away for future reference.

Every 7 days? Wow! Maybe because you're not actually having to replace the blood?

Nancy R said...

After further emailing with Amy, we've determined I gave a Double Red Cell Donation...which means I can't donate for 110 days, AND according to Amy, explains why I was feeling cold.

The next day I felt a little wiped out and after our determination I made a point to eat meals that contained iron while drinking orange juice (vitamin C helps the body absorb iron).

So, while I'm not eligible to donate every seven days, I DID pull off a bit of a two-fer.

I'm glad to have figured it out because I was feeling like quite a sissy for feeling so low-energy the next day!

Glenda said...

Iron levels can sure make a difference on energy (or lack of it)!