As a New Years resolution I wanted to include more trips to the Red Cross and donate. I haven't been that good at the resolution but I'm trying which counts. On my first donation of the year I was asked if I wanted to try a procedure called Double Red Cell Apheresis. Apheresis is a procedure which takes the blood being donated and runs it through a machine. This machine separates what it needs and sends the rest back into the blood stream. This particular procedure lasts about 40 minutes and is relatively easy to do. Doing a 'Double Red' as the cool people call it gives double the amount of red blood cells but donors give less blood in the process. During the procedure an anti-coagulant called Citrate plus a saline solution is passed into the stream. It's a cold sensation that feels wierd at first but becomes less annoying throughout the procedure.
Onto my second donation yesterday. (I told you I wasn't being very good at my resolution but at least the attempt is there.....ok and I had to be reminded by the American Red Cross....can I continue?). I go through the initial setups and interviews and get stuck and seated. I'm all set. About 35 minutes into the procedure I start to get very chilled and a little dizzy. I call the nurse over and within minutes the chills get worse, my stomach starts to feel woozy, my breathing becomes erratic, and I have a general anxious feeling. I have to get out of the seat before I either melt into a pool of hot and cold sweat or get sucked into the machine turing me into a larger pool of hot and cold sweat. I now have a very patient tech/nurse leaning me back further into the seat, and giving me the hyperventalating paper bag treatment. There's another shutting the machine down and getting the needle out of my arm. My brains swearing at her asking what the hells taking so long. My legs feel as though they're going to take off out of the seat without me and at the same time I'm trying to calm myself down to let the two nurses do thier job. I find the eyes of an older woman doing the same procedure across from me and I just know she's either thinking I'm the biggest woos on the planet or if the machines have begun to turn on the humans and she's next. Either way my simoultaneous journey into giving life and wishing mine was over has ended.
I feel like shit physically and mentally since I couldn't complete the procedure and some of my platelets may go to waste. I can't believe I couldn't go through it. I'm in decent shape, I workout 6 days a week, and have been eating very well for about 5 months now. After the needle is pulled, my heart back down under a 10000bpm, and I stop sweating like a fat guy chasing a runaway M&M I ask the nurse what was the problem. She tells me very few people have a bad reaction to the citrate anti-coagulant and not to worry. She also tells me I should stick to just giving blood. So I'm sticking just to giving blood. At least I'm giving ya'know?