The American Red Cross and Apheresis donation holds a special place in my heart. Donating platelets for me is a natural high. Frequent readers have heard read about many of my previous donations. Thanksgiving Day in 2004 was a particularly emotional one for me as well as my attempted donation last Thanksgiving 2006. However recently I had a thought, I wondered silently to myself if enough time had passed for me to try it again...then a day later the Apheresis Donation Coordinator called and posed the exact same question. I immediately said "yes" and scheduled my appointment for the obvious...Thanksgiving Day.
When I woke up this morning I visualized a successful donation and kept a positive attitude. I passed Iron and Blood Pressure with flying colors...no doubt due to the 2 pills I take every morning. (Yes, I have hypertension. Anyone who has ever watched me watch football wouldn't be surprised at that fact.)
Then the nurse tells me we will be doing one needle apheresis, it's a new machine, the anti-coagulant and blood are transferred through the same arm at alternating intervals. I was overjoyed at this. She knew of my past and said the odds were good that I'd be successful. And I was. My platelet donation today has the potential of saving lives. And for that I am grateful.
If you are able, (800) GIVE-LIFE
Me. Circa April 2006. Yes, that's a real needle being inserted as the picture was snapped.
It looks like my platelet donating days may be over. Unfortunately due to circumstances beyond my control I have developed a possible allergic reaction to anti-coagulant. Never fear though, I can go back to giving whole blood. It's just the world of apheresis was so inspiring. I reallyfelt like I was saving a life when I donated and somehow it gave me a natural adrenaline high that was amazing.
There's a slight possibility that on a different type of machine I may succeed however that chance is slim and not necessarily recommended by the nice nurses at the American Red Cross. So henceforth it'll be whole blood donations and the hope that one day my phone will ring and it will be the National Marrow Donor Program saying that I'm a direct match.
The last time I donated platelets happened to coincide with the annual volunteer party at the Pasadena Blood Donation center. There was a photographer who went around and documented the festivities. In doing so, I asked him to take a picture of me. Specifically he was able to get AMAZING shots of the needle being inserted into each arm. Only the non-squeamish will want to click on the following photos to see the action up close and personal.
First the Left arm.
Then the Right arm.
Viola! Now I’m ready to watch a movie.
Note the blankets and heated rice bags on me to keep me warm. Oh, and that orangish stuff on my arms is NOT blood, it's something they clean your skin with prior to sticking in the needle.
The next time you are at the Pasadena Blood Donation Center donating gooey red liquid, look for the photos, 2 of these along with others the photographer took are blown up and hanging around the office.
Later on today I will have a bunch of needles stuck in my arms. No I'm not having acupuncture, I'm doing apheresis. Tonight happens to coincide with the donor appreciation party so I'll get to meet lots of other people who are regular contributors.
For curiosity's sake I just called my Volunteer Coordinator to find out how many times I've sat in the chair and done apheresis. Tonight, if I pass the iron test, will mark my 28th donation. WOW! Way back when I was donating whole blood I well surpassed my 5-gallon mark. During the early 90's I did numerous donations at a VA Hospital, located next to CSULB, which wasn't involved in the ARC network.
Overall it has been one of the best volunteer experiences I've ever participated in. I always feel super-charged when I walk out of the donation center. It could be from the sugar rush due to too many cookies and juice, or it could be the fact that I know my blood (or parts thereof) will have a direct impact on someone's life.
I may be a bit incommunicado until next Monday. Moving the office officially tomorrow and I'm not banking on having all the computers up and fully functioning anytime soon. On Monday morning the "computer guy" comes to network the system. If I can figure out how to just plug my computer into the appropriate box then I may be connected to the internet but lets not look for any miracles.
All day I've been boxing stuff up. And I just got done doing my best junkie impersonation, apheresis. I potentially saved a life and for that I give Thanks.
Have a great Holiday everyone. Type to you from the new digs next week.
I am probably one of the biggest cheerleaders for The American Red Cross amongst my circle of friends. It's is with pleasure that I pass along the following info:
Yesterday, Celia reported that on Friday August 26th from 11am - 7pm there will be a Blood Drive in support of her sister Laura who has cancer and is currently undergoing chemotherapy. But it's not just any Blood Drive, you donate one pint of luscious red liquid otherwise known as blood and in return you get a gift bag which includes a Mega Millions Lotto Ticket and a gift certificate for a free pint of Spaten (luscious golden-brown liquid) from Cole’s during the after-party. The party will feature the band I See Hawks in L.A., so if you're still conscious after donating blood then run right on down and party hard. One piece of helpful info though, the nurses drawing your blood DO NOT WANT TO KNOW that you will be consuming alcoholic beverages after a blood donation so you may want to keep that on the DL. You know what I mean???
I'd be there to support the blood drive however I already have an apheresis donation scheduled for Tuesday August 30th. Plus I can't get out of work during the allotted time and I have a show that evening that I need to be alert for and when I donate blood I MUST sleep afterwards....which is part of the reason I donate platelets instead. However I do plan on stopping by Cole's for the after party and I do hope to see LOTS of post donation people whooping it up.
All the GOREY DETAILS are below:
To set up an appointment, call or email Ali:
Blood Drive Location
August 26th, 11am - 7pm
533 South Los Angeles St, 7th floor
Between 5th Street & 6th Street
Cole's P.E. Buffet
118 East 6th Street
Between Main Street & Los Angeles
I did my best junkie impersonation last night. A needle in both arms. No, I'm not a needle fiend drug addict. I did an Apheresis donation with The American Red Cross. Seeing as how I'm strapped down for 2 hours (don't go there) I get to watch a movie of my choice. Actually there's not much choice in their library however I was able to unearth a recent movie, Hitch. Just what the doctor ordered. Mindless comedy. Trust me, you don't want to be all emotional in the chair with needles and heavy machinery involved.
Most of you who know me know that I have lots of volunteer activities in my life. One of which I hold very close to my heart is working with The American Red Cross as an apheresis donor. Those of you who are squeemish my want to stop reading at this point.
Apheresis consists of both platelet and plasma donation. Platelet donations help people with leukemia who are undergoing chemotherapy, patients recovering from surgery, burn victims and more. The entire process of platelet donation takes about 2 hours from start to finish. First you have to fill out the required paperwork then they take your blood pressure, iron count and temperature. If you've passed all of those steps then you're ready to pick out your movie and get in the chair. Last night I came prepared, I had School of Rock with me. Love Jack Black. He's so hot. OK, sorry back to the story.
Apheresis is a 2 needle process meaning blood is taken from one arm, spun through a machine where the platelets are collected, then the remaining blood components are mixed with a coagulant and returned back to me in the other arm. I only give one unit because I'm small, bigger guys can usually donate 2 units. The entire process usually takes about an hour and a half, which is the reason for the movie! I get to sit back in a comfy chair and watch a movie with my very own headset as to not bother the other donors watching their movies. After wards I snack on cookies and juice (oops, there goes the healthy eating).
I try to donate once every two months and especially around the holidays. I consider it a gift to myself and someone that I do not know. Well, last night as I was being prepped by the nurses they informed me that I was a direct match with a donor and my platelets would be sent directly to a person I only know as Randi. It didn't hit me until the drive home how this small act of kindness that is so easy for me to do has made such a great impact on another human being. It's truly overwhelming.
With that, I urge any and everyone that is able to, at the very least, donate a pint of blood. Donating whole blood is quicker for those of you on the go and can definitely help save a life. I will even come with you if you are nervous and hold your non-donating hand. :)