I felt a need to record the events of my day today, mostly because I did something I have never done before. I donated platelets. If I don't write about it, I may just forget about it. I do that sometimes. I seldom do anything without questioning what it is all about. I had meant to research this process before I did it, but didn't. My husband had donated before and he said he remembered feeling tingly, and it took a lot longer than donating blood. I just thought I should try it because it sounded like something that cancer and burn patients really need a lot of, and they told me on the phone there is a shortage of platelets. Having had 5 stomach surgeries, I feel I do need to do my share in donating blood or whatever else I am able to do to help someone. I needed a lot of blood during my last surgery.
I arrived there a little early hoping to get the whole thing in motion as quickly as possible because they said it could take up to 2 hours plus the pre-screening. The pre-screening was a little interesting in that I don't remember ever having these questions asked when I had donated blood before. It seems they are very serious about whether or not you have been to England recently. I wondered why??? Is there something going on there that I don't know about. Many countries were on this list, but they seemed to pay more attention to England, Canada and Africa. I wanted to ask why but the nurse I had wasn't much into chit chat. I always ask lots of dumb questions in situations like these. I figure why stay stupid if you can just ask the question and get an answer. After awhile the nurse started warming up to me a little and attempted short sentence replies to my one-sided conversations. The machine kept beeping and the chatty nurse had to keep coming over and pressing a button. I asked her if I was doing something wrong. She said "No" and walked away. This went on for an hour. The machine kept saying ...The patient is not flexing hard enough or there is a line that needs adjusting, or something on those lines. Each time I asked her "You sure I am not doing anything wrong?" Each time the answer was the same. "No."
On the telephone they tell you to not take any aspirin or any blood thinning medications, and to eat well and make sure you have plenty of fluids. I followed all of those simple rules but still had some problems during the last 20 minutes of the procedure. I started feeling very faint and sick, and wondered if I would be able to make it. I was counting the minutes until the whole process was over. Finally, it was finished. I had completed my platelet donation. But I felt like I was... going....to.....pass.....out...... "Help.....me...I am not feeling well"....I told the nurse. She said, "Cover your mouth and cough". " Waahhh...whaaaa," said the wimpy donor. "I don't feel like fake coughing..." She jostled me and roughed me up a little. "I SAID COUGH....YOU WIMP!!!" hu...hu....I finally managed. My fingers were numb, my head was spinning, I felt hot and cold at the same time and NOW she wants to talk about something on the television that I hadn't been watching anyway, because she told me to watch the machine screen and do what it said!!!! "I don't know what they are talking about on the TV mam....I don't feel well." "You want some water or something?" she said..as she whispered (wimpy old woman...under her breath). "Yes.... please" said the helpless donor. She brings me a bottled water and I can barely hold my head up to take a drink. My hand was numb and I spilled the water all over myself. I did manage to get a gulp of it though. I was getting desperate to feel better so I could get the hell out of there. She put my walking papers on my stomach and said, "Rest as long as you feel you need to." After what seemed like forever I got up and started walking towards the door. A new nurse came on duty and saw me and said, "You are not going anywhere. Your lips are blue and you have no color. Go sit over there until you look better." Every so often a woman came over to check on me that had a very strange sense of humor. She said weird things like "You can't get behind the wheel like this because those chase scenes you see in movies are not real cars and real people. They are remote controlled cars with computerized looking people." I just looked at her with a blank look and said. "Right." Later she came back and said, "Some people think they can just bolt out of here and then fall flat on their face, and make a mess out there." "Okay, miss, I'll stay put." She put me on a lawn chair that reclined and put a cardboard partition in front of me , so other people passing by wouldn't be turned off by the weakling.
Finally I felt well enough to leave, and they gave me this sticker to put on myself, and asked me never to come back.