Thursday, October 9, 2014

Donating Double Takes More Time

A couple nights ago, Grig got a call from the Red Cross. They wanted him to donate blood on Wednesday night. He agreed to do so, and they asked if he knew anyone else he could bring with him. (Grig later commented to me that they seem to be hiring return missionaries.)

He asked me if I wanted to go donate blood too, and I thought, "4:30? Sure I should have time before my meeting at  6."

Last night we drove a few blocks to donate and took Kevin with us. The idea was that I would donate first, and then if I had to leave for my meeting, I could leave if I needed to. I was hoping to be done by 5 so I could get home and bake a cake for refreshments.

We got to the church where they were doing the donations at about 4:32. We quickly skimmed through the materials (we've read them a number of times), and I got into a booth. Things seemed to be going swimmingly.

However, while the man was checking my vitals and such, he said, "We have doubles available today. Would you be interested in doing that?"

I'd never heard of it, so he explained that when you do doubles, they take twice as many red blood cells and put the plasma and other non-essentials back in. You can't donate again for four months instead of two because red blood cells take twice as long to regenerate. He told me my iron had to be at 13.5 in order to do so, but wondered if I would be interested.

I asked him if it took longer to draw, and he told me that it was about 20 minutes. I thought that would be good to do, if I could and he tested my iron.

When the machine beeped, he looked at it and said, "Huh. 12.2."

"Too low, huh?" I asked.

"Too low to donate at all," he replied. "It has to be 12.5. I can test you again, and it may go up or down. Do you want to test again?"

I agreed and said a quick prayer in my head that went something like this: "Heavenly Father, if I'm supposed to donate doubles tonight, please help my results to be higher. Otherwise, I'll know that I'm not supposed to donate tonight."

I waited with bated breath while the man put the second test in the machine.

"13.9," he announced. "Would you like to do doubles?"

I agreed, thinking that was my answer.

I finished answering all the questions, and then they took me over to the newfangled machine. The nurse there explained that it would draw 3-4 times, the machine would spin the blood and remove the red blood cells, and then put saline and plasma back into me. It was kind of fascinating to watch.

This isn't me, but this is what my machine looked like. The yellow bag is where the plasma is stored until they can put it back.
The needle was smaller than normal, and I learned that though I have great veins on both sides, my right vein is much easier to work with.

She told me that sometimes when the saline solution is going back in, people will feel a tingling in their lips. She said that if I felt that, I could take a tums and it would go away.

It was a strange sensation when the plasma was put back in. It felt kind of like a buzz under my skin. My lips tingled a little, but not very  much. This happened four times. The last time, the machine took too much blood, so it had to put some back in.

It was pretty fascinating, though I know some of my friends will find the post abhorring.

Anyway, it took a lot longer than it was supposed to. I didn't get done until 5:50. I quickly grabbed Kevin, then kissed Grig good-bye so he could have his turn. I ran to the store and grabbed some cookies for refreshment and then I raced to the church.

I ended up being 15 minutes late. It was okay though. Things worked out. I just felt really bad for leaving my primary president hanging that long.

After that meeting ended at about 7:45, I called Grig and asked him where he was. He had just done a normal donation, and then he had begun to walk home. He had already walked eight blocks. Kevin and I drove over to pick him up, and then we all went home to a quick dinner of hotdogs. (I was going to make lasagna, but it would have taken too long. Guess I have dinner planned for tonight.)

Crazy evening. Grig was supposed to have a meeting at 7, but it cancelled, and we're pretty glad because I don't know how that would have worked out.

The moral of the story is that donating doubles takes more time.  A lot more.

If you're in a hurry, you probably shouldn't do it.

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