Yesterday I took the train to a local hospital to donate platelets. I’ve done this before and it’s a fascinating process. Unlike blood donations, the platelet donation process takes a couple of hours. Basically, one arm is hooked up to an IV and blood flows to a machine. Said machine extracts platelets from the blood, then returns the blood to either the second arm (also hooked up to an IV) or to the same arm. I’ve experienced both machines and much prefer the 2-arm variety, as the 1-arm machine produces an incredibly odd sensation, due to the blood flowing back and forth through that needle. It’s freaky, I tell ya.
Anyhoo – after taking iron supplements for weeks and avoiding aspirin for the last few days, I felt ready. And when my blood was tested (to make sure I was fit to donate), I showed a stellar platelet count (whatever that means). However, my hemoglobin was a tad too low and I was told I couldn’t donate until the level was up. Bummer. So I got back on the train and headed home.
I was disappointed to be unable to donate platelets yesterday. And not just because I wanted to do something good. I was also disappointed because I’d geared myself up for the process. I was ready to be hooked up to a machine for a couple of hours. I was ready for the warming blanket (which is needed because when one’s platelet-free blood is returned to the body, it’s much cooler than when it left). I was ready to watch whatever movie they had on hand at the donation center. I was ready.
Oh well. There are valid reasons for checking one’s health and levels when donating blood or platelets. Not only does the donor need to be healthy for her sake, but the platelets need to be healthy for the sake of future recipients. For reals.
I was told I can try again in about a week. We’ll see. The chick who drew my blood for testing did a real number on my arm. I may not recover in a week. But I’ll recover eventually and I’ll do what I can. Stupid hemoglobin.