So, yesterday I donated platelets at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital, formerly known as Rahway Hospital in Rahway, NJ.  Personally, I will never accept it as RWJ.  I really don’t like it when they rename streets, buildings, schools, and yes, hospitals.  So much of the history is lost when they do that and it upsets my stomach.  I had stopped going to the hospital in Rahway because I didn’t like the treatment I got there past few times, and yes, maybe I was moody those days; but compounded by the dreary atmosphere, antiquated equipment and the overall dirty, dim look and feel of the room, I had decided to change my donation place to another location.  Humph.  A lot of good that name-changing thing did for the Blood Donor Room.

Anyway, Marty at the Blood Center of New Jersey called last week and asked if I could do it and though I hesitated, I agreed to donate there yesterday.  I hadn’t donated since September and I was due.  In October I suffered some nerve damage from getting the flu shot and stopped my donations because they come from the same arm I get pain in.  It’s not just laying there during donations.  You need to keep track of the “draws” and “returns”, and during the draws, you need to squeeze a stress ball to keep the pressure up.  Otherwise what will happen is that the alarm will go off and there will be a problem.  An important problem.  Squeezing the ball keeps the blood flowing and prevents it from slowing down too much or stop altogether… NOT good.

Platelet Fact:  Cancer, transplant, trauma, and open-heart surgery patients require platelet transfusions to control their bleeding.

I don’t like to say no to Marty.  He’s always been a nice guy to talk to and one time sent me a little platelet guy.

Platelet Guy

Though I’ve always been committed to donating platelets, I’ve not always had a pleasant experience.  It took me a few times in the beginning to get used to it; and one very specific time that I got sick from it.  Not sick, sick; but I felt horrible.  THE  most important thing you can do for yourself is to drink plenty of water before and after your donation.  Keep hydrated–very important.  The next, if not more important thing to do to prevent getting sick is to eat very well before your donation.  What I mean by that is that you need to build up your iron and what I do is eat generously, but not over eat, a nice steak, go easy on fats and dairy.  I usually do a london broil a couple of days before donation, night before, etc.  On the day of donation, you simply MUST eat well.  By that I mean you must eat like a human, and not a rabbit.  Eat healthy, but EAT.  Yesterday for breakfast I actually ate a beef filling I had made out of chopped beef, onions, vegetables and tomatos and water.  It was left over from a sort of beef pot pie…. individuals ones encased in pie dough.  Then two hours later I ate salad, a beef empanada, rice and water.  THEN, about a half hour before my donation, I ate a ham and cheese sandwich on a bagel with water.  My stomach did not get upset at all.  This last meal was eaten in the hospital cafeteria, which is probably the only redeeming value of donating at this hospital.  A place to relax in.  Oh, another good point.  I always go to my donations early.  Early enough so that I can relax sufficiently so that my temperature has a chance to settle down.  Commuting to my donations always elevates my temp. and I’ve been rejected just because of that in the past.  Oh, and don’t drink hot beverages right before donating as that will elevate your temp, as well.  Something I never thought about.  Something I never thought about, but is important is to take the time to sit and eat those cookies and sweets they offer you after donation.

Notice for Diabetics:

This is the one time you may indulge in sugary things.  Just here at your donation place.  You sugar levels will be lower and simply put, you need this.  This does not mean that you can eat cookies for the rest of the day, just now, here after your donation.  Just one, maybe two servings… but that’s it.  I am diabetic and I do not drink the juices, but I do have one oatmeal cookie and cream sandwich and I take a pack of pretzels and water with me for the ride home.  Of course, everyone is different.  These are the things that I’ve noticed at work for ME.

Okay, so in review:

  • Eat meat, preferably a good steak a day or so before platelet donation.
  • Eat generously day of your platelet donation.
  • Keep well hydrated all the time, but most important in the days before donation and after.
  • Try to eat something right before your donation.
  • RELAX.  Get relaxed and stay relaxed.
  • Avoid hot beverages right before your donation.
  • Take advantage of the cookies!  Take a minute or two for guilt-free treats.

This morning I slept like a rock and rolled out of bed on the late side, 8:00am.  Usually, I wake up with the normal ruckus of the morning.  Not so today, but that’s a-okay.

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