Saturday, February 23, 2008

Saturday Morning

As I write this I am comfortably reclined in an upholstered chair, surrounded by equipment humming and clicking and occasionally beeping. A monitor and keyboard hover in front of me supported by an articulated arm *what the heck is that noise*

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Please excuse the interruption. I am at home now.

I intended to continue that first paragraph by explaining to you that I was blogging one-handed because my left arm was busy with a fat needle and a several clear tubes connected to an intricate machine named Amicus that was pumping blood out of my arm, extracting life-saving platelets, and returning my blood to me.

You may or may not know, so I will explain, that this is a completely sterile process, because the Amicus and others of its ilk are set up for each extraction with a sealed 'kit' of tubes and bags and such, so the only opening in the entire kit is at the needle. Everything from my entry paperwork to the final product is identified with barcode labels.

The kit itself fits into openings in the Amicus, and loading it is a process that - well, if you sew, have you ever threaded a serger? It's a lot like that. Bags go on hooks, tubes go into channels and around gears, and I don't know what else. It is an extremely well monitored system and I feel completely safe with the procedure, plus I get that warm fuzzy feeling of having done something beneficial for a cancer patient or some idiot who doesn't know to slow down when the streets are icy. They tell me that one platelet donation can save three lives.

I was going to tell you about my surroundings, including the man to my right who was quietly snoring, and the lady to my left who was engrossed in a book. I was going to describe the two phlebotomists who were at this time all the way down at the end of the long room, taking care of some chores after making sure we donors were snugly settled in.

I was rudely interrupted from this pleasant story-telling by the sudden onset of horrible banging and clanking and screeching noises from that wonderful machine named Amicus.

As I said, no one was nearby, so I said, loudly, "HELP!" That, or possibly the awful noises from Amicus, got the immediate attention of two skilled professionals, who rapidly shut down the machine, pulled the needle from my arm, and applied a gauze pad to the hole so my blood wouldn't leak out. They were calm but definitely not smiling as they diagnosed the problem as a "defective kit." I got the impression that this was something that would be intensely investigated. I can't even imagine how much paperwork this incident will generate.

They told me I was fine, but I would have to wait the full 58 days before I could donate again because I did not get that 'return'. I would need that time to rebuild my blood.

I really admire those women. I feel so safe in their care. Most of the time, everything goes as planned, but when it doesn't, there is no hesitation. They know exactly what to do.
I am really sorry they had to clean up all that mess, and I'm also sorry the blood was wasted. I'll go back in April. Or maybe May.


  1. WOW....sounds like an interesting experience. I would have yelled HELP too!! It is good to see you back out here. I need ot update my blog again too. I hope to make it to the Knit In at Gourmet next month....

    Ginny =^..^=

  2. Wow. They won't take my blood. I've always been slightly secretly relieved. I've always wanted to donate but since I can't....