Friday, April 15, 2011
So yesterday I went to my church's blood drive to donate blood, and as a result was sentenced to bed pretty much for the rest of the evening. I don't usually have quite as severe tiredness afterward as I did last night, but because my hemoglobin count was 16.5 and I weighed enough, I was asked to donate what they call "double reds."
(WARNING: If you, like my husband, feel light headed or blackout at the mention of blood, blood donation, or any discussion of the process there of; have a fabulous day, I'll see you tomorrow. If not, you have my permission to proceed....)
I any case, it was quite the experience. They actually draw blood from your body into a centrifuge machine, that spins your blood and takes out what it needs then re-injects the remaining liquid plus a saline solution back into your body through the same tube. I hadn't done it before and so I asked tons of questions as they were doing it, like: what does it feel like when it comes back; does it hurt more, does it incapacitate you more, etc. It was actually really weird feeling the fluid go back into my arm, because it was at that point the same temperature as the room, and it was cold! The tech said that the body runs hotter than room temperature so that the liquid returning "feels" cold when in reality it wasn't. (Although he told me that they do keep the room temperature lower than normal too, in order to prevent people from passing out). I ended up having to ask for a blanket, something I have never done in all the times I've donated blood. I proved once again that I babble when I'm nervous, or to cope with odd situations. The tech and I chatted about traveling, what he wanted to eventually do, his skydiving adventure this summer, places we would like to visit and the "horrors" of international travel with small children. (At this point one of his fellow techs had come over to process the double blood of the guy that had been on the other side of the machine from me, and she had more internationally, than he had).
I felt bad for the tech because for some reason with me he couldn't get the bevel that they use to position the needle "just so" to withdraw and re-inject the blood was vibrating while it was "sucking" out my blood. It was like a straw that had too much air and it was going almost with a pulse. He tried everything, and ended up having to hold the tube when it would go through a withdrawing cycle to help it vibrate less. I joked that it felt like my arm was an engine that was revving...but (an my husband would be proud) it really felt more like a sports car with racing cams at idle.
Overall, even though it was kinda weird, I would do it again if they asked. The tech told me that the minimum weight requirement though is 175 lbs. in women. So, if all goes well, and I reach my goal of 135 lbs, by the end of the year, I probably won't be asked to again no matter how high my hemoglobin are.
I'm glad that nature permits me to be able to donate blood and that I am able to help other people.
PS: I'm was at 182 lbs the last time I checked on Tuesday! 7 lbs lost since January.