12 July 2009

Donating Blood

I'm just back from donating blood - platelets this time. Basically it's a process where they pull your blood out, put it through a centrifuge to remove platelets and then put the blood back in you. freaky, right?

Of course they don't tell you that you have to watch this machine for the entire hour (plus) because you squeeze on the draw and release on the return. Each is about 10 seconds, although that varies and there's no way to get in a rhythm. They set the machine to the side, so I'm craning my neck to see it, plus the lady gets cranky with me because I squeezed on the return by accident when I missed the switch from draw to return. Basically you have to pay strict attention. I was hoping I could just read my book and have the process go by quickly.

The people who talked me into doing this process were overly eager. I was recruited during a whole blood donation at my church (just one month ago), and consented, giving the guy my name/contact info (even though in the course of the conversation he managed to insult me and my knowledge of social media and Facebook - so weird). Then I got a phone call to schedule an appointment - fine. That was like 15 minutes of my time because she was trying to be too chatty, as if I'd say no if she didn't flap her jaw enough. Then I got at least two follow up calls, an e-mail AND a post card. So I'm expecting the people actually performing the procedure to be equally stoked about my generous donation...

Yeah, not so much. The first clue was the "courtesy counts" campaign signs around the room/center. Are you kidding me? Because I'm guessing people who come to donate blood aren't necessarily a surly or selfish bunch. But you can guarantee those posters are meant to motivate the cranky technicians. Granted I wouldn't like a job like that either - especially since the center is in the basement of a giant building and we were having such beautiful weather, but come on.

I could only donate 4.0 whatevers, although when she'd first calibrated the machine it was at more than 7 as my goal. The needle hurt while it was in my arm. I got tingly lips and am feeling oh-so-tired. My stomach didn't feel so great on the bus ride home, but I'm better now and not sure if it had anything to do with the blood donation itself (like dehydration) or just something that happens.

I definitely like whole blood donations better.

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