I’m a little woozy! I just got done giving a double platelet donation – which is awesome in that I got to stay on the clock and go watch a movie for a couple of hours (they have TVs at every donation station), but less awesome in that it always makes me pretty queasy and lightheaded. I don’t want discourage you from giving platelets by saying that though! The majority of people have no real reaction at all. I’ve just got what the nurse called “delicate veins” – meaning they are tiny, and bleed very slowly (it takes me twice the time it does most people), and very sensitive to the processing agents used when they “rinse” your blood and re-circulate it into your body. (These agents trick your body into thinking it is low on calcium.) I also have fairly low blood pressure and blood sugar – both of which drop during the blood draw process making me feel even more woozy.
So why do I do it? I was thinking about this while I was dizzily chewing on a calcium supplement trying not to think about the needle in my arm.
Well…there’s the obvious reason: people need platelets!!! Cancer patients, people who’ve been injured whose blood won’t clot, etc. etc. They’re suffering a lot more than a queasy tummy. And my happy, healthy little platelets (I picture them swimming around in plasma, smiling, and wearing little nose plugs and swimming caps. “Canonball! Woohoo! Where’s the next vein we can slide through?”) can literally save their life.
But there’s always a selfish reason for everything, right? I suppose mine is that despite the occasional queasiness, it’s actually a very comfortable experience. I mean “cuddled up in a warm bed with good movie” kind of comfy. I don’t want to sound weird by saying this, but it’s all the best parts about coming down with a cold, minus the cold!
Seriously. You get to:
- Pick out your favorite movies. (They’ve got a pretty huge selection, but I usually pick one I’ve already seen just in case my blood draw ends before it’s over. Today I watched “Mystery Science Theater 3000, The Movie.”)
- Lay down on a cushy recliner and get tucked in with layers of soft blankets and heat pads.
- Have a very caring nurse checking on you frequently just to see if you need anything and to make sure you’re feeling well.
- Eat sweets with no regrets. (I brought my own chocolate calcium chews to eat when I got tingly instead of the Tums the nurses have, and of course there are free cookies and fruit snacks after you’re done!)
- And generally be pampered. (My nurse joked that it was just like the spa except for the needle part.)
Oh…and by the way, in the time it took me to write this post, my little bit of wooziness has already disappeared.
See? It’s not so bad! In fact, I’ll be going back 🙂
If you want to join me, here are some links for you to check out: