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I’ve Been Infiltrated~!


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I was infiltrated.  LOL… I have to laugh because this term caught me off guard and for a minute I didn’t know what they were talking about.  I facebooked something witty about it because once I grab onto something, I don’t let go for a while, but I’m done now.

One of my blogging successes have been my posts on donating platelets, and I’m so grateful for the readers and happy that others like reading these posts because it’s so important to get the awareness going out there.  I’m very dedicated to doing this and have been, for the most part, pretty accepting when things don’t go 100% perfect.  Yesterday was one such day.

Everything progressed pretty much as expected until I was halfway through my donation.  First of all, I was a bit early and got put onto a machine that was new for me.  This one had a ball that told me when to squeeze and when to stop by blowing up, then deflating.  I even brought an audio book for the usual 90 minutes or so instead of watching TV.

Again, it was just about halfway through when my machine’s alarms started going off.  My techie tried to adjust the machine, and she kept coming back to touch my arm.  I had hardly noticed anything beyond a mild burning sensation; but during my last donation I had pain and this was nothing as compared to my last experience, “Wow, Uncommon Experience,” and that was considered a successful donation.  This time, I hardly felt anything and I ended up with a hematoma inside my arm.  This is how it happened.  During the apheresis process the blood is drawn out of your body, platelets are removed, then the blood is returned into your body and vein.  What was happening this time is that the blood never made it back into the vein and was spilling into the interior of my arm.  I had a huge large-ish and hard bump that hurt.  The apheresis was terminated and I got a nice bright purple bandage.  They put an ice pack over my bump and I was sent to eat cookies.

Later I was told that I did manage one full unit; but that I had to wait the full 56 days before my next donation because the loss of fluid.  that makes sense.  So, they apologized for what happened, but I realize that I should’ve reported that burning sensation.  So my platelet peeps, never hesitate to tell your techie if anything doesn’t feel normal.  Burning sensations, pain, and even if the process just doesn’t feel right.  I really felt like my arm might pop or something.  Last night my arm hurt something awful, but today it’s feeling much better and the bump has pretty much dispersed.

Long Overdue


So much to write about but this hot weather has had me in it’s clutches since June.  I think it’s safe to say that I may be going through “the changes”…. sigh… sounds so baaad.

Around 50 days ago I had an apheresis appointment to donate platelets.   Dare I make a long story with tedious details short, by just saying that after I filled out my application, I ended up leaving without making the donation.  I know… so bad.  My horns got twisted after they left me hanging in the hall for a good long while without so much as an apology for the wait, no explanation, nothing.  Every time I went inside, I was instructed to go back out into the hallway.  There are two chairs to donate in, yet one remained unused.  They must have thought that I couldn’t hear their conversation, but I could hear every word.  Apparently, there was nobody available to tend to my donation, the second chair; which kind of confused me because one technician has always handled the two chairs.  One person who knew the staff there, was talking about knowing someone they’d like to get hired, and she asked the nurse/phlebotomist/techie what she should do.

Well, after listening to this chit chat and looking at the clock again, I finally went inside and blew up… well, my version of it.  I know, that was wrong.  With my voice cracking, I asked the nurse why they schedule appointments when they obviously are not ready to service my appointment on time.  I got profuse apologies, but again no explanation.  Personally, apologies don’t cut it for me.  It is just “required” words coming out of the mouth of an employee just trying to placate the irate customer, without much meaning.  Plus, apologies will not speed things up.  I’d much rather be dealt with in a straightforward manner.  If she had just come out into the hallway with an apology and told me what the delay was, and hey, can you wait around another half hour or so, maybe go to the cafeteria and come back.  I can deal with that.  I’d much rather go somewhere else and come back.  Maybe that sounds silly, but at least I’d be informed and then I can deal with the situation much better than being left to hang and hang and hang to the point of exasperation.  Well, that’s me.  Anyway, I felt my temper rising and I curtly told her that I would make another appointment and left.  I was pissed.  Later, I was told that they were ready for me at the exact time that I left.  I think it’s pretty interesting since I was never told that, or I would have stayed.

People don’t realize the hoops I must jump through just to make this donation, which I do so gladly and with much love.  However, to make this happen, it takes much more than juggling my own schedule.  I must juggle DH’s schedule as well, because I need to make sure that he’s home to pick up our boy from school and for him to cancel anything he’s planning on for that night.  Typically, there is plenty of time in between so this is not inconvenience, but he misses his night out; then I must remind him practically on a daily basis that I have my appointment on such and such a date.  Also, there’s consideration for commuting to the hospital, using gas, then spending extra money on a light meal at the hospital before the donation.  You really need to make sure you have eaten WELL or it’s possible you will get sick, which HAS happened to me.  Finally, the two dollars to pay for parking.   Making sure I have the gas and the extra money is, well, another hoop to be cleared.  No, I don’t plan on bringing my own food… though I do bring my own water.

Fast forward a couple of weeks, last Monday, another appointment.  Thankfully, it went without a hitch.  Hemoglobin was a 14… woo hoo, the highest I ever had.  84 minutes to donate a triple unit of platelets.   The low side to this was that this time I forgot my water at home and I had no money to get a little something before donating.  I did eat almost before I left for the hospital and did not get sick.  I got my water there, before the donation, though I’ve got to be careful not to drink too much or I’d have a bursting bladder in the middle of it all….. aaah– no.

I can’t resist showing you this little guy.  He’s Platelet Man.  He was sent to me as the sweetest of gestures by Marty at the blood center.  He is my contact there and the guy I make my appointments with.  He had a pretty patient ear (and that’s quite a feat for a guy) and listened to my ramblings about the fiasco experience.  I mean, I’ll admit that I was overly sensitive and should not have left the appointment.  At the time I felt that I had to or I’d really blow up on those girls and didn’t want to do that.  It’s stuff like this that bring me back to focus and show me just how much I still need to learn about life.

My Apheresis Donation


Temp:    99.0

Pulse:    96

Hemoglobin:   13.9

Blood Pressure:   128/94

I was pretty impressed with my hemoglobin count.  Wow.  Last year it was at a high of 14.0, this year I’m not eating a lot of red meat, which is what they say is the best source of iron and for donating.  Red meat is starting to disagree with me, so I’ve drastically cut it down.   I think the only red meat I’ve had in the past few months was one hamburger this past Sunday.  Still, I’m not saying that it’s the best thing to do; not even sure that it’s the best thing for me, but it is what it is.

So, I got to Rahway Hospital, otherwise known as Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.  I really dislike it when they change the name of hospitals.  My husband was born at RAHWAY hospital. I know, I’m being irrational but there is so much history there and they go and change the name.  I digress…

Anyway, got there early and headed for the cafeteria for the Seattle’s Best coffee they serve there.  What I should have done was have something to eat (and you’ll see why), but I only had 15-20 minutes until my appointment.  They also have free wifi, and I’ve been known to publish posts while sitting right there.  Getting there early allows my body a chance to settle from the drive, as well.  I’ve been rejected from donating before because of my temperature being a little elevated.  By the way, having coffee right before having your temperature taken does not help at all.  Luckily, I brought from home a large water bottle of iced tea I started to guzzle when the technician reminded me that hot coffee = a no no.  Yes, I was being difficult.  Apparently, a lot of donors were being “difficult” that day.  At least she was laughing.

Everything seemed as normal as I remembered it, and I was able to give double units of platelets.  What I didn’t realize is that because it was approximately  a year since my last platelet donation, this time was like my first.  The body sort of gets used to it with time, and by that I mean this:  Your initial donation usually has, um, side effects, and everyone is different in this.  The most common thing to happen while undergoing the procedure is a tingly feeling in your lips and face.  For this, they give you TUMS, calcium supplements, which really does alleviate that feeling.  When donating, they use an anticoagulant such as sodium citrate.  A very good post with information is here.  I had a very good  phlebotomist this time and was reminded of the time at a different hospital when the phleb. messed up both of my arms and I could not donate at all that day… got me really mad because it was quite a drive for me during the end of the day commute craziness.

Everything went along pretty normal, and I went straight home.  Don’t think that after this you can go on ahead to a lively evening of fun, or even of just being out.  Again, everyone is different, but I get very tired and need to rest for the rest of the night.  What was different for me this time was that I really got sick.  I can’t say I was dizzy, but I was nauseous and had a headache to the point that I thought I was going to toss whatever cookies I had in me, but didn’t.  This persisted on into the next day (yesterday) and again, this morning still had a slight headache, but a cup of coffee fixed that right up.  Now, I don’t want this to discourage anyone from donating component blood, but I felt I should document it here because I really think that it’s due to the possibility I didn’t eat well enough before my donation.  Like I said before, I’ve not been eating a lot of red meat lately and for lunch, the meal right before my donation, I just had chicken soup and soy nougats that are supposed to have a lot of protein in them.  So, I don’t know.  Afterwards, I was so nauseous that I couldn’t bring myself to eat anything.  So maybe this should be the “CAUTION” paragraph.  Please make sure that you prepare yourself properly before a donation of platelets, or any component blood.  For whole blood they just tell you to drink a lot, and that’s important for platelets, too; but maybe because this procedure is much more involved that we need to be aware of and do more for ourselves, and for our own good.  Don’t act tough.  Don’t act stupid.  Taking care of yourself is cool.  Taking care of yourself is the most important thing you could do.

The following has not been researched:  Okay, something else I learned yesterday which was a shock; and this applies to all women out there.  I found out that if you’re not an already established platelet donor, all women are rejected from donating.  Something about what women carry and are transmitting to recipients of, I think, just platelets but really not sure.  The tech really didn’t explain it very well, so if anyone knows, please, PLEASE, let me know.  I tried to do a search, but so far getting just articles about the normal reasons women (or anyone) can’t donate like if you’ve gotten a tattoo in the last 12 months, or if you’re pregnant, or if you’ve been out of the county… etc.  You know, I don’t get the pregnancy part.  I’ve been pregnant and they still take me, albeit because I’m an established donor, but then the reasons a woman who’s been pregnant can’t give ARE pregnancy related.  Again, the content of this paragraph has not been researched…. yet.

I’ll keep ya posted.

Platelet Day With a Side of Yarn


Someone tell me what the heck is the point of fat free Half-n-Half?  For some reason, I need to see that creamy brown color to my coffee in the morning.  DH means well, but fat free just doesn’t cut it.  I seem to be using more of this stuff because the color is not there… no taste, either.  Sigh.

Well, on to today’s post which will just be a blurb.  I’m in a hurry and I do not have photoshop and I’m not sure which program out there will flip the photo so that ya’ll can read the card, but it says that I have my platelet donation appointment today.  I’m pretty excited because it’s been over a year since I last did this and it feels great to get back into the swing of things.  A little worried that my hemoglobin will be low because I’m not eating red meat a lot, but DH has been a blood donor like forever and he eats red meat even less than I do.  This morning will have scrambled eggs for breakfast and swiss cheese if we have any.  These eggs are fresh out of the hens and ducks, though I think the duck eggs are eaten.  Gotta be better than those that are mass produced.  We get them from my dad’s neighbor in PA.  Same guy that searches the woods for mushrooms.  He’s from an East European country, but I forget which one, and this guy has kept his traditions.  Amazing.  I’m not dead yet, so I feel comfortable saying that he knows what he’s doing.  The mushrooms have a really earthy taste… so different from the farmed ones.  I can’t eat a lot of fermented or fungus-y stuff; but every once in a while, I either saute them or make a soup.  The spouse skeeves (spell checker is no help) mushrooms, so all the more for me.

No spinning done yesterday.  I think I needed a rest since I spent the last few days spinning almost constantly, between daily tasks and whole nights.  In my former post, I said that the singles seem hard.  However, the possibility exists that once plied, the twist will relax and the yarn will feel softer.  Also, if it ply is not overly twisted, the finished yarn will be softer.  Do I have that right?  I’ll soon see because my bobbin is almost full, though I don’t see myself having the time to spin today because of my appointment.   WHICH brings me the idea that I can spend some time before my appointment at All About Ewe since it’s just two-three blocks away from there… woo hoo!  Missed going yesterday because of church commitments, but will be sure to get there today.  What I love about her website is that there is a page that lists her stock.  Very handy if you need something in particular, but that’s not to say that people don’t just mosey on over there.  It’s a very nicely put together store and very spacious as compared to a lot of other shops that I’ve been to.  Very nice situation, off street parking which is pretty convenient.

Okay, better get going I’m getting hungry and that means my day is starting with an nice eggs and toast breakfast, which is the most important meal of the day, you know!

Definition of Apheresis:


Apheresis (ay-fur-ee-sis): The process of removing a specific component from blood and returning the remaining components to the donor, in order to collect more of one particular part of the blood than could be separated from a unit of whole blood. Also called hemapheresis or pheresis*.

*Pheresis: Procedure in which the blood is filtered, separated, and a portion retained, with the remainder being returned to the individual.

There are various types of pheresis. In leukapheresis, the leukocytes (white blood cells) are removed. In plateletpheresis, the thrombocytes (blood platelets) are removed. And in plasmapheresis, the liquid part of the blood (the plasma) is removed.

From the Greek “aphairesis” meaning withdrawal.

If you want to learn more about the apheresis procedure and what it does, you can find out more at the Blood Center of NJ site.  Please note there are two more links towards the bottom of the page for “learning more about the procedure” and “who needs your donation”.  You will be surprised at what you didn’t know.

Meet "the Machine"

Did you know that Robert Wood Johnson Hospital, formerly known as “Rahway Hospital”, serves Seattle’s Best coffee?  Tastes so good, especially since I broke my coffee pot a few days ago and have been boiling my coffee, you know, like in the good old days.  It wasn’t bad, but lots of grinds guaranteed in every cup.

I’ve been thinking about how blessed I am, being able to donate platelets.  It comforts me to know that this old, diseased body can still be good for something in it’s brokenness.  Well, more than that.  I’m saving a life with every donation and that’s good to think about.  This appointment also got me out of the house today, and let me tell you, the sun is HOT out there.  What a beautiful day!

I thought I’d take some time to talk a little bit about my experiences that deviated from the norm during these past few years.  Now, when you undergo the apheresis procedure, you can’t just lay there and fall asleep, though I’ve been seriously tempted.  When I slide into that reclining position, my body relaxes to the point of slipping into slumber.  Well, I did just that on one such occasion and all hell broke loose.  You have an active role during this procedure and you definitely need to pay attention.  There are two parts to this:

  1. Withdrawal of your blood
  2. Separation of components needed
  3. Returning the blood to your body

The nurse inserts the same kind of needle like if you were giving whole blood and gives you a spongeball.  When the machine starts to withdraw blood,you need to squeeze that ball the whole time it’s on the “withdraw”.   You can even watch a window on the machine as your blood is gathered and running through the machine.  Next, the machine signals the “return”, when your blood is returned to your body through the same port that the blood came out of.  During this time, you can relax your hand because that squeezing creates a pressure, the same kind when nurses take your blood pressure and you need to squeeze your hand.  One the withdraw, it makes it easier for the blood to leave your body; but when your blood is returning, the squeezing makes it harder for it to come back and it’s sort of running against the current, so to speak.  Well, when I fell asleep, for however briefly, my pressure was too low and that screwed up the works.  Alarms went off and the technician had to adjust the machine to accommodate the change in pressure and I had to pump that ball fast and furious to get those alarms to stop.  In the end, I was okay, but falling asleep is not really a good thing to do when you’re doing this.  I’ve learned my lesson.  One thing I’ve got to say is that I was pretty disappointed to learn that I can’t knit or crochet while doing the apheresis thang.

Every time I do this, it’s different.  Usually I am able to do a triple donation, but sometimes it’s a double.  This just means that according to your body, you may be able to donate either one, two, or three units of donations, s-a-f-e-l-y.  That is, at no risk to you or the platelet level needed in your body to stay healthy.

Oh boy, it’s almost time for me to get in there.  I’ll report more later or tomorrow.

Platelets Going Out!


Just a quick note to say that I’ve been successfully donating double and triple units of platelets. Getting ready for an appointment today, as well; and hope to write about it when I get home while still fresh in my mind.

I also want to thank those who are steady commentators on my platelet posts.  Several of them in 2006 and 2007, and I am so grateful for your interest.  I do notice that I seriously need to tag my posts and will do at least that when I get home, and hopefully I’ll feel up to it.  No reason not to, but sometimes donating platelets takes more out of you than you would think.  Nothing that a nap couldn’t help.

Anyway, I’ve got a few errands to run today beforehand, so I’ll be cutting this short.

Have a great day!

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