Saturday, January 14, 2006

Parting Gifts and Platelets

You know, they could have at least gifted me with a year's supply of Turtle Wax, and a few cases of Rice-a-Roni, The San Francisco Treat. According to what they say, the flavor can't be beat. I want parting gifts darnit! And throw in a copy of the home game while you're at it Jim. Guaranteed fun for kids from five to ninety-five.

I'd feel like Charlie Brown on Halloween except for the long list on the left side of this blog. Parting gifts come in the most delightful and unexpected packages. I feel a heck of a lot better today.

So I did my "give back" this morning. I guess it all started when I was knee high to a grasshopper and mom would take us along when she went to donate blood. We got sugar soda (verboten at home) and cookies from the nice volunteers while mom did her donation. So giving blood was just one more thing that "adults" did.

As a kid, however, I was scared to death of needles. I still don't particularly like injections. The skinny little needles are a whole lot more uncomfortable going in than the big honking hollow needles that go in and stay in for a couple of hours.

Them I can deal both arms. This is xtreme blood product donation. One needle drains it out, the other puts it back after it goes through the apheresis machine to separate the platelets from the rest of the blood. Today was a good donation....after I got a new phlebotomist.

Never trust a phlebotomist with cold hands. Never trust a skinny phlebotomist. These are things I have learned in the 70 or so platelet donations I have done. Heed my words the next time you roll one (or two) up. Miss Skinny Cold Hands missed the outflow vein completely and rested the needle on a nerve. That is not fun.

I would not let her try a second time. Fortunately the genius Nigerian phlebotomist was in the room. In his hands those needles go in like a hot knife through butter and I don't feel a thing. He's brilliant. I just wish I could make appointments and specify the phlebotomist I want, sort of like a hair appointment.

But that being said, the platelets rocked out at a 415 count. Anything over 154 is considered "normal range". I have a surfeit. So I'll be less likely to bleed out if I get in an accident. It also means that where most people can donate one unit, I can donate two in one sitting. And due to my wholesome and uneventful life (har har har) my blood is so clean it goes over to the children's hospital.

I napped rather well in the lounger too. Funny that my blood is so thick but never clots up the lines. I just don't have to squeeze. I think the thing I like best about apheresis is getting the blankets tucked around me like a kid being put to bed. There is something incredibly comforting about that at any age.

Platelet shelf life is 48 hours. So sometime between now and Monday morning a preemie or kidling heart patient or sprog with cancer is going to get that bag of yellowy fluid.

And I thought my life was tough..... as if.....

But that doesn't mean I'm not piqued over not recieving the Turtle Wax.


At 12:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I tried to give blood once, but the nurse messed me up so bad my arm was black and blue for weeks.

Hit a nerve too.

Haven't been able to try again since.

Pity, since my blood type is a bit rare.

At 10:27 PM, Blogger Dana Y. T. Lin said...

I can't give blood. Too dang thin and anemic and lots of toxins as my holistic doc tells me.

I used to get blood tests every week - for various things - mostly for my thyroid. HATE needles.

And yes, you can't trust those interns to poke you. I have a very nice green vein in my right arm - I always point and say THERE - don't even try to poke anywhere else.

Lisa- you are my hero.

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