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Leeches!

Yesterday, I gave blood. Oh, how I love giving blood. This time, I was sure to drink lots of water prior to my appointment to help hydrate myself and I also took some asprin, on the advice of the Red Cross person who took my blood last time. Last time I gave blood, it took a long time and they actually had to stick me twice, 'cause one arm dried up. The person taking my blood told me that if I thinned my blood a little with asprin and was sure to be well-hydrated, it would help the donation. So, I did that and it went great.

It was really neat, too, 'cause they asked me to do a double red cell donation. They normally don't do that for folks with Type A blood, but apparently the blood supply is pretty low. (Go give blood, if you're eligible.) After they explained what it was, I said that it sounded fun.

What they do is take out twice as much red blood cells as they do when you donate a pint of whole blood. But it would probably be bad news to simply remove two pints of fluid from your body, so they remove the blood and separate the red cells from the plasma. They keep the red cells and pump the plasma back into you. That was pretty fun. They also pump some saline into you to help keep you hydrated. They told me that I actually left more hydrated than I was when I came, 'cause they give me back all my plasma, take 400 mL of red cells, and give me 500 mL of saline. That's pretty neat. In order to do the whole procedure, they go through two rounds of removing blood, separating it, and returning plasma and saline. The extraction and return all takes place through the same needle. I have to wait 4 months, instead of 2, before I can donate again.

The neatest part of the whole thing was feeling the plasma returned into my body. Since it's about 98 degrees inside my body, the plasma had some time to cool down when it was sitting in a bag (it looks like Mountain Dew) at room temperature. So, when it was returned to my body, I could feel it's coolness flowing down my side towards my leg before it warmed up to be the same temperature as the rest of my body. That was really neat. There was also a strangeish taste in the back of my mouth for a few minutes, but it went away before I could decide what it tasted like.

Anyway, I love giving blood. And yesterday's bloodletting experience was lots more fun than usual! I'm looking forward to my visit in January -- maybe they'll want to do a double red cell donation again.

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
arcticturtle
Sep. 10th, 2003 01:09 pm (UTC)
I love it! I was disqualified from donating for years because of a false liver enzyme test. I was so happy when they let me donate again? What could be better Christian symbolism? I want to slap a sticker on the little pint package when I'm done... "This is my blood, shed for you..."
eagle243
Sep. 10th, 2003 01:53 pm (UTC)
Freaky!

I don't even know what my blood type is - how sad is that?
drmellow
Sep. 10th, 2003 01:56 pm (UTC)
You should find out and remember what your blood type is next time you get blood drawn for whatever reason. I know you're not a fan of needles and the like, so I'm not going to encourage you to go give blood just so you can find out what your type is. But it would be good to know, just in general. You know, in case you ever have to operate on yourself and are confronted with various options of blood to give yourself during surgery. Or something like that.
kimber
Sep. 10th, 2003 01:56 pm (UTC)
I have an appointment to give tomorrow morning at work :)
emike2k3
Sep. 10th, 2003 02:07 pm (UTC)
I worked at a plasma donation center for a little over three years total and used to donate plasma myself. That stangeish taste was the anti-coagulant that keeps your red cells from clotting. I used to like donating in the summer time as the bag of saline at the end of the donation was room temp. and when I went back out in the heat I wouldn't sweat for three hours!

I donated whole blood at the local Red Cross about two weeks ago :)
drmellow
Sep. 10th, 2003 04:45 pm (UTC)
That strangeish taste was the anti-coagulant that keeps your red cells from clotting.

Cool! Thanks for clearing that up for me.
bodnej
Sep. 11th, 2003 06:26 am (UTC)
I've just started giving blood regularly ; I gave for the second time about a month ago.

It's a good feeling knowing that you're helping, but boy do I hate that needle...the fact that I'm O+ encourages me to keep on going back, though.
drmellow
Sep. 11th, 2003 07:55 am (UTC)
Oh, yeah. Give until you bleed, Mr. O+. Oh, wait. Give beyond your bleeding, 'cause that's the point.

I hope you get used to the needle, so your giving is easier. I quite enjoy the needle -- it fascinates me. But I'm weird like that. If I ever got into the drug scene, I always knew it would be with the needle drugs because of my fascination. But, thanks to a good upbringing and some common sense, I managed to avoid that whole scene entirely.
aunt_toad
Sep. 11th, 2003 07:17 pm (UTC)
I will give next Wednesday. It will finish seven gallons. We had a multi-donor recognition day in W-S Friday before Labor Day. Ms. Mellow saw my citation.
Don't do too many aspirin before giving blood because it inactivates the platelets if you are giving whole blood and can also cause it to take longer for you to stop bleeding, aiding bruising.
For the record, red blood cells themselves do not clot. They are caught up in the clot formed by the platelets and the coagulation factors in the plasma.
fuzzytoedcollie
Sep. 22nd, 2003 07:07 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the link and the writeup
Got to do a Double Red Blood Cell donation in Cary, NC, today; it was the first time I'd heard of the process. Found your entry while googling for more information and borrowed your link to help round out my LJ as well. Thanks!

And thanks for donating, too!
drmellow
Sep. 22nd, 2003 07:35 pm (UTC)
Re: Thanks for the link and the writeup
Thanks for giving blood, too! I'm glad you enjoyed my write-up and that Google picked it up for you.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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