Monday, August 3, 2015

There, I bled it again.

We had a blood drive recently, and as you know, Fred is always first in line to sign up to drop a pint. Is it because, like with Henry Higgins, the milk of human kindness runs by the quart in every Fred vein, and thus is so much more valuable for the blood bank?

Or is it for the free snacks?

The world may never know.
Actually I didn't drop a pint, exactly; they sold me on being an apheresis donor. In a normal donation they drain a pint of blood from you; in an apheresis donation, they pull out a bunch of blood, separate it into plasma, platelets, and leukocytes, keep what they want and pump the rest back into the donor. This was specifically an automated double red blood cell donation, It is basically twice as useful as a regular whole blood donation. It supposedly takes half an hour, or can take up to two hours, and it's a little weird. We're used to sending fluids out, but only taking them in orally. Maybe it was my imagination, but I felt a little like a bike inner tube during the pump-back-in phases.


"You see the little man in the upper right corner of the screen?" asked the phlebotomist, handing me a plastic bike handle wrapped in paper towels.

"Yeah."

"When the arrow is coming out of him, squeeze every five seconds. When the arrow is heading into him, stop squeezing."

"Like the world's worst video game."

"Yeah."

As I say, it was a bit strange, but I found myself less light-headed than I sometimes do from a whole blood donation, and I felt like I recovered faster. Time permitting, I would donate that way again.

I'd also note that this form of donation is more exclusive, which appeals to me; not just any mere slob can drop a double like that. The Red Cross says only type O, A-, or B- donors can donate with this method. So it's another opportunity to fluff up my ego thanks to something over which I have no control. We creative types always enjoy that.
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