Saturday, August 14, 2010

They used to get my sweat and tears, now just blood

Today I tried something new: donating platelets at the American Red Cross blood donor center here in Columbia. I received a call about two weeks ago asking if I'd be interested in donating platelets. Why not? With no objection springing to mind, my appointment was scheduled for 9 a.m. on Saturday, August 14 (today, at least as I write).

My sister said that they provide the donor with a DVD player and movies to make the time pass. So I brought Sunset Boulevard, a Netflix movie that's been waiting to be watched for quite a while. When I arrived, I forgot to bring the DVD in with me. If only it'd fit in my pocket!

Friends from church were volunteering that day, so checking in was extra pleasant. The medical assessment was almost entirely the same as the whole blood assessment. I did have to sign a special form for permission to use my platelets. The technician explained the process and said it would take about 90 minutes the first time. He sent me off to the bathroom before we started. I used the opportunity to call my wife and let her know I'd be late.

I came back to pick a DVD from their collection. I almost took Rooster Cogburn (I must have seen it but can't remember at all) but then saw Sunset Boulevard. Figuring I'd watch this copy and then finish it at home, I was set. I sat in the chair. He marked both arms and stuck them with needles. The blood came out of my right arm, into their machine for separating, and red blood cells with a saline solution were put back in my left arm. The time went by quickly (thanks to a fabulous movie). I never freaked out like I thought I might and I was able to keep my arms still. The donation experience was quite good.

Once free of the needles (yay two bandages!) I had the usual juice and cookies. The thank you gift was some Red Cross flip flops especially designed to leave ads in the sand! Check them out:

I may have to go to a park with a sand box to check these out in action.

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