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.
- Face of Defense: Army Private Donates Blood Platelets (defense.gov)
- Reuniting blood platelets donor, recipient (journalstar.com)
- How Often Can You Donate Blood? (newsinmedicine.wordpress.com)
- Red Cross issues emergency call for blood and platelet donors (enewscourier.com)
- Wow… Uncommon Experience (dragonmommie.wordpress.com)
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.
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.
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.
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!
a bit of time a lot of time yesterday spinning the reddish-brown alpaca fluff. I’ve not gotten a proper comb yet, but been using this plastic pocket comb to flick the tips of the fleece that are stuck together. It seems to be working out, but I’d love to properly comb this stuff out. Oh, and why are only the tips stuck together? If anyone knows, I’d really appreciate a comment to let me know. Since I spun a lot of it, I’m going to keep going like this so that it’s all done the same way. Not sure how much I’ll get, but I don’t really want to devote a lot of fleece to it, and I was thinking about doing a Navajo 3-ply. This means I need to really stuff a lot of singles onto the one bobbin. The texture is coarse and I’m thinking it could be because I didn’t comb it properly and that the fibers could have been lined up a lot better than I’ve been getting them.
I wasn’t going to say, but if you haven’t got a clue, I’m not a pro at this. Big disclosure, right? But you know, when I decided to do this, I decided to go on a journey, and part of that is committing to exploration. I’ve never spun up alpaca and thought that I’d really love to try it. In it’s natural state, the fiber is undyed, and not very bright or colorful. I find that I do like the natural coloring and with working with this natural fiber, I find that I’m not distracted by ooogling and ahing at beautiful colors flying through my fingers. I can concentrate more on the fiber itself and how it’s interacting with itself, my fingers, and the spinning wheel.
The most amazing thing is watching the loose, fluffy fibers attracting to each other to form an effortless twist and single strand of yarn. They seem to almost magnetically seek each other out and twist into each other to form the single. When I let it get pulled through my fingers, the strand is made smooth. When I let the twist travel into the draft zone, the natural twist forms a bit of a fuzzy halo around the strand. Interesting. The staple is not as long as other fibers I’ve worked with, so the twist seems tighter, or maybe that is how I’m working. I’ve tried to slow down the wheel, but I don’t believe I’m getting a more relaxed strand. Honestly, I can’t wait to “whack” this stuff. I’ve never really done that before, but this time, I’m going to wash the finished hank and I’ve heard of people whacking a wet hank on the floor or somewhere and it’s supposed to “set the twist?” Whatever. I’ll ask someone. The one thing that I’ve learned with spinning is to just relax and see what comes from your actions. One time I made yarn that was way under twisted after plying. It was so relaxed that it got me nervous. The easy fix to that was to simply put it back onto the wheel and go another round of plying, but I did not unply it first. All I did was run it through again, and it just twisted it a little bit more and that made a world of difference.
Okay, so the title of this post will also be what I am calling this Spinning Journey of mine. “The Alpaca Project”
Beautiful isn’t it?
This is Frabjous Fibers, Vegan “Wool”, 100% nylon, Deep Space, #9 colorway, 8oz. and it feels like freaking cashmere! 759 yards of lace weight yarn in breathtaking blues, lavenders, some deep reds and whites. I’d really like to make the Holden Shawlette out of this lovely stuff, but my friend, Rabbitridge asked me how nylon blocks and I’ve got to say that I have no idea. I’ll have to check around. Hopefully, I’ll be able to use the Vegan Wool. Incidentally, if you’re not on ravelry, you won’t be able to check out the shawlette. Sorry, but while I can share my own personal project, I can’t share other ravelry pages and I have no progress going on with my project. I’ve put out feelers in the ravelry yarn group, one of the six main boards, I’ve reached out to the Frabjous Fibers, and the LYS I purchased the fiber from will be reaching out, as well, because this is pretty much uncharted territory for me and I guess most of my friends. HEY, everyone plays with the organic stuff and this is a little high tech for yarn, right?
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Okay, while I wait to find out something, and after a really good tomato and provolone cheese sandwich, this second part will be the official first post pertaining to my newest endeavor, spinning yarn as a donation. Recently, I received alpaca fleece from Faerie Tale-Fiber Farm and will be spinning it as a donation to the No-Kill Sanctuary. I’ll have to come up with some catchy phrase/name for my personal project, but for now, it’s the brown fleece referred to in my post, “Spinning to Give Back,” and hopefully, I can add more to this in a couple of days. This is alpaca fleece came to me from So far, I’ve spun up a few yards just right out of the bag. I wanted to play around with it to see how would be the best way to proceed. I was advised to spin it up first, before washing it and that kinda makes sense as there is no lanolin in the fleece, so won’t be greasy to the touch. The fleece came to me really clean, but it smells a bit and I’m sure that is normal because, well, it came off an animal. I don’t have a comb yet, so if I do more before I get one, it won’t be that much because though I love to spin right out of the bag, the strand seems hard. I really want to line up the fibers and make it as smooth as I can… or as smooth as alpaca can naturally get.
So, for now, this is fun and I’m getting my fingers used to this fiber. In the mean time, I found Prince behind the couch (while looking for my niddy noddy). This is fleece from a black sheep I got at the New Jersey Sheep and Wool Festival about two years ago. I’ve learned since then to find out what kind of animal you’re getting the fleece from…. moving along……… His partner in crime was also hiding behind the couch, some really nice gray llama fleece I got from the same festival, sadly no name. You know, it’s really nice to know the name of the animal you get your fleece from. It makes it so personal. No name came with the stuff from the sanctuary, but I’ll have to see if I can find out. I missed the next two years of NJSW and hope I can get there this year since I don’t go to the NYSW or MDSW… Two somewhat close ones, but I’d really like to spend the weekend. MDSW might be a good day trip, but never could plan it out.
Okay chickies… until next time.
Woo hoo… A new post! I should be writing this in my knitting blog, but I’ve just not had any inclination to write for that blog in a long time. In total, I have three blogs now, and it’s a bit overwhelming for me right now.
This one is about a unique way to make a donation, spending little to no actual money…. my most favorite kind. For one thing, even if I had the luxury of having extra cash to spend, I’m a believer in stewardship. Time, Talent, Treasure. Where I can sometimes abound in the first two, I am sorely lacking in the third. My Time is my treasure. I value that, above all else; and if I am giving you my time, it means that I value YOU.
I have skills and I have talent. I will be shortly giving my time and talent to Faerie-Tale Fiber Farm/Faerie-Tale Alpacas, a NO-KILL sanctuary for rescued alpacas. Go on over to her facebook page and check them out. Linda and her daughter, Lisa, had brought their alpacas to the Grand Opening Weekend at All About Ewe a couple of months ago. I took a pamphlet, and to be honest, stayed AWAY from her table of alpaca yarn and knitted goods… sigh. Anyway, I found out that one of the ways you can donate to the sanctuary is to agree to prepare, and spin up alpaca fleece, then send it back to them so they can sell it. All proceeds go right back into the animals and their upkeep, and medical expenses. As a bonus, she will send you some for your own use. My spinning friends, you can’t beat that deal because you’re getting at least as much as what you’re sending back to them. It’s a great way to practice and fine tune your craft, while not actually using your own fiber. For myself, I’m grateful to be given the opportunity to help out these animals we love so much for their fleece, while getting the opportunity to spin stuff I never did before. My intention with this blog is to document my progress and the creation of whatever yarn which chooses to reveal itself. This is what I received in the mail. The brown bag for them, the black bag for me:
You can be sure that next time I will see if I can get this beautiful reddish-brown….
I’m working diligently to finish up what I’m working on right now, and you can be sure that I’ll not wait to start on this. The weather hasn’t been all that great lately anyway, so just as well.
I’m just a couple of days away from completing the spinning of eight ounces of Vegan “Wool”, colorway “Deep Space #9, (love it) from Frabjous Fibers, found it at All About Ewe. It’s 100% nylon and has the most vibrant colors I’ve ever seen and the softest fluff I’ve ever felt. Oh, and hand-dyed in Vermont, USA. The colors permeate the whole hunk of it, through and through. If you’re like me, and prefer colors that really saturate the fluff, you will fall in love this half-pound of hand-dyed fiber.
Very smooth…. This is what I’m talking about:
You know, it’s so easy to get caught up in spinning for ourselves. This craft is not appreciated across the board for the skill, time and talent it takes to create something beautiful from almost nothing, fluffy stuff. You cannot place a monetary price, that people will pay, for a hand knitted item, let alone created with yarn that was handspun. You just cannot possibly be justly compensated. So we either create for ourselves or for others, but those “others” really must pass the grade to be judged worthy to accept something that is created with love, if even just a love for the craft. We love what we do, but that doesn’t mean that we should be loose with it… humph~! With that said, I love that I am able to give my time, talent and love for these animals and combine all that into something that can benefit them.
So if you’ve managed to get down to this place, I would put the question to you. Do you spin? Do you knit? Have you given back lately, using your preferred craft? I’ve love to hear what people out there are doing.
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.
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:
- Withdrawal of your blood
- Separation of components needed
- 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.
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!