So this morning, I wake up around 6:45am with a slight panic because I donated platelets today at Medic Blood here in Farragut Tennessee at 7am. One thing that people don’t always address as a benefit of kids is their ability as alarm clocks. It’s not uncommon to be woken up around 6am to “Daddy… I’m hungry”, but since they are not here but on vacation I have had to fend for myself in the Waking Up Dept.
As I write this it is already tomorrow from the day of the story that will follow… that was yesterday but today, well rather, later this morning I am going to need to get up so that I can catch the EARLY KAT Express (102X), but the fact that I am still bleeding (that’s another blog post), I need to take a shower (that is NOT another blog post), start a load of laundry and a few other things is not helping. Plus I am sitting at the computer composing this blog post, which I am going to post right now and not wait… 1, 2 or 45 weeks to hit ‘Publish’
So I gave platelets this morning. I’ve tweeted-facebooked in the past some pictures of me donating, but as a courtesy I’ll try to warn ahead of time that I am going to send a picture with big sharp pointy needles and blood. For some reason, that creeps people out… kinda like spiders and snakes and a bad banana with a greasy black peel. So what’s it like to donate platelets you ask? Well, you get to be in what I like to call a “Donation Throne”, you get to watch TV or a movie and the place has free wifi, but you have to type with one hand because the other has a BIG FRIGGIN’ NEEDLE in it. Donating whole blood, if you do it right fast, can get you in and out in about 30 minutes from signing in to getting your refreshment. Platelets take a little longer because your blood gets to go on a little out-of-body journey. My average time for donating platelets is around 90 minutes or so. I chose to watch TV because we don’t have cable at our house. And what do I watch? Either VH1 for videos… because I found out that they STILL make music videos… no really! How so 1981ish. Or I watch The History Channel, if there’s something decent on… which today there was not at the time I was there.
So I caught a couple of videos of songs that I like and a couple of songs I hadn’t heard before. I was STOKED because they played “Sweater Song” by Weezer, but my Fave song was Weird Al Yankovic’s “Perform This Way” which is parody of Lady
Goo-Goo GaGa. Weird Al was in Knoxville last year and sad that I missed him because who knows when he might return.
Okay, back to platelets. So they stick you with a need and suck out your blood (no ladies, no Edward for blood extraction) it goes through this machine and through the MAGIC OF SCIENCE, they keep the platelets and give you back the rest. The benefit is that since you get your blood back, you retain almost all of your body’s ability to move oxygen, so you don’t feel tired after donating. Since you get your blood back, you can’t really do the donate blood, go drink a nice tall 40oz, which I’ve never done (except in college). Also your body regenerates your platelets back pretty fast. When you donate whole blood you have to wait 56 days, unless you lie during the interview process. With platelets you have to wait 2 days, but there is a yearly limit to the donations… I’m not sure what it is and I probably will never look it up or retain that tidbit of information.
So now what is SOOOOOO special about platelets? I know they give it to cancer patients and transplant patients… but honestly they can do whatever they wish with it. But here’s the catch with platelets, they have shelf life of like 5 days where as blood has the shelf life of (The Hitchhikers Answer to everything in the Universe) 42 days. I asked if I should donate platelets, even though I am O+ (Universal Donor), and I paraphrasing here but they said “
(@#$&*@#($&* NO We need as many platelets donors we can”, so then I said “Hell Yeah, I’ll donate platelets”. Here’s the bonus, remember when I mentioned earlier that you aren’t a cheap drunk you don’t have the acute fatigue from not having as much as blood to carry oxygen, well that means… hee hee… it doesn’t effect my running especially when I am in training for a race. I made the mistake of donating in the morning and then running in the afternoon… calf pains for MONTHS! MONTHS PEOPLE! No more donating, they going to 5k race 4 days later and not understanding why I had such a difficult race!
Medic Blood, as a marketing tool, to get people to donate will pay the fees associated with blood if you ever need it. You can even donate your units (that’s jargon they use) to special causes (like victims of domestic violence) or specific people (like estranged Uncle Stan who is getting a face transplant) [Ed. note: Apologies if you have an Uncle Stan who has had a face transplant, I was looking to offset the seriousness of domestic violence]. A platelet donors get TWO units to divvy out! Right now, our whole family is covered from blood expenses until 8/26/2054! I will be almost turning 83 at that point… and that’s just if I quit right now. I have no intention of stopping donating bodily fluids until they say that I can’t. But with so many units, I can donate them more freely now.
Oh look at the time… I have to try to take an extended nap so that I can take the bus into work tomorrow.