To Give or Not To Give: A 4-Year Journey

I regularly check the Popular Content section on the sidebar of this blog to see what readers are enjoying the most. This valuable information helps me plan future topics or encourages me to tackle previous topics from another angle or with updates. One post that always shows up is To Give or Not To Give…, a look at my first platelets donation experience, so I wanted to share more about my experience since this post.

Donating platelets at the American Red Cross

A lot has happened since my previous post four years ago. I’ve become a regular platelets donor, averaging 12 donations a year, and notching 18 visits in 2015. I’ve accepted the fact that I freeze during my donations, wrapping up in blankets and utilizing a large heating pad (and hot pack to squeeze). I do seem to set off the monitor a little less frequently now, so my mummifying attempts seem to be working. ūüôā

As noted above, I try to make it to my local DC (donation center) monthly, which is a little easier to do with a couple of Red Cross updates. The Blood Donor app is so convenient! It allows you to schedule platelets donations online, review your donation history, manage appointments and track your donations, among other tasks. Rapid Pass is a time-saver, as it allows you to answer the interview questions in advance on the day of your appointment. It’s not available via mobile, but it is a nice way to cut down on the time you spend at the facility. [2018 UPDATE: Rapid Pass is now available via mobile!]

Changes have been made to the actual donation process too. In the past year, the Red Cross has gone back to a two-needle donation process:¬†blood is drawn from one arm and returned in your other arm after having your platelets (and possibly plasma) removed. Unfortunately my body didn’t take to the two-arm process at all, so my DC accepts my donations via a one-arm donation.

After taking a few months off, I’m starting¬†to donate monthly again. I realize others donate more, up to the¬†maximum of 24 times per year, but that seems to be too much for my body to handle. Last fall, I started to have issues during donations, so the Red Cross stopped taking plasma during my platelets donations, which has helped immensely.

I’m continuing to monitor how my body handles donations going forward but am looking forward to making regular monthly donations again. The Blood Donor app, Rapid Pass and returning to a one-arm donation process have helped me continue to help others in need. Curious?¬†Visit http://www.redcrossblood.org/platelets to learn more about the¬†platelets donation process.

Your Feedback Requested

Do you donate blood, platelets, plasma or a platelets/plasma combination?

Do you react to the anticoagulant by sneezing frequently? (I just made it through my first donation without needing TUMS!)

What do you think of the two-arm collection process vs. the one-arm?

Have you experienced any side effects from donating?

To all fellow donors, thank you!

Jaime

Let’s chat (about platelets donations, paying it forward or otherwise):
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Things I Learned About My Bad Self, 2013 Edition

I was scrolling through my WordPress reader when I came across a post by Campari & Sofa that made me think. It was entitled Things I learned about my campari self this year and noted 10 things the author had learned, from philosophic to practical. I commented that I enjoyed her list and was thinking about borrowing the idea, which she encouraged. Love fellow bloggers!

So here we go…¬†Things I learned about myself in 2013:

  1. A good massage and candlelit bubble bath can (almost) make my world right again.
  2. Things will work out for the best (even when they seem the worst).
  3. Super heroes do exist, and we can all be one — somehow, someway. (Need a reminder? Watch¬†Batkid Save San Francisco)
  4. A breath of fresh air (literally and figuratively) can be all I need.
  5. Everything I’ve done up to this point contributes to my success. Nothing has been done in vain.
  6. I have the pleasure of working with some of the coolest, most genuine people on the planet.
  7. I still want to be Rico Tubbs and MacGyver when I grow up.

What about you? What have you learned about yourself — personally or professionally — this year? Please share below or drop me a line on a social network. Let’s close out 2013 in style!

p.s. I love the number 7, so I wanted to stop there. Other things I’ve learned? I really, really want a dog, and I intimidate some people. (Funny due to my slight stature.)

Always learning, usually smiling,
Jaime

Want to learn more? Connect with CCC!
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To Give or Not To Give…

After regularly donating blood for several years, the Red Cross contacted me regarding my high platelet count. They asked me if I would consider donating platelets, so I said sure. I knew that whole blood and platelets were always in high demand. They assured me that it was very similar to donating whole blood with a few differences.

A thank you gift from the Red Cross

Red Cross swag for being a first time platelet donor

Well, it was and it wasn’t. Platelet donation involves a bigger time commitment (typically 2 hours) and involves a little more machinery. However, it does still use a single needle in your arm. (Update: The Red Cross has gone back to a two-needle donation process.) It wasn’t painful although I did feel a little weird during the process. Maybe that was just me though!

My biggest problem was my body temperature. It kept falling below where it should have been, which alerted the machines. It seemed like a Red Cross technician was constantly coming over to make it stop beeping. (I almost felt like I was hoarding their time although they were really nice about it.) When the machine beeped, the needle would actually vibrate in my arm because my vein was hardening. It was a strange sensation, although not painful. It was more of a discomfort, because it made the needle entry into my arm feel tight.

Join the Movement

Donate blood or platelets today!

I was wrapped in blankets (including one around my arm) with a heating pad on medium heat on top of me. I was even given a heat pack to squeeze instead of a stress ball in order to warm up my arm. I did make it through the experience, and I’m glad I did it. Despite the body temperature issues, I’ll probably donate platelets again, because they’re always in such high demand.

If you don’t currently donate, consider the following…

  • Your platelet donation has the power to enhance the lives of up to 3 patients in your area.
  • With a shelf life of only 5 days, platelets are in constant demand.
  • In order to meet the patient needs in Northern Ohio, the Red Cross must collect over 300 platelet products each week.
  • You can donate platelets up to 24 times in a year and still continue to donate whole blood.

Have any other platelet donors experienced internal body temperature issues while donating? If so, do you have any suggestions on how to better regulate for next time (besides wearing a parka)? Ha! I would love to hear of your experience and any suggestions.

For additional information on donating platelets, visit http://www.redcrossblood.org/donating-blood/types-donations/platelet-donation.

Save a life… donate blood or platelets if you can!

*Want to read more about my platelets donation experience? Here’s an update four years in.)

Jaime