Mom has gotten a lot of questions asked here in blogville, Facebook and by email about why she is donating plasma and how they do it. I thought I would give mom the blog and let her explain everything.. it really is exciting when you think about it. Take it away mom!
Personally, I’ve been wanting to give plasma for a very long time. It helps a lot of different people with an assortment of medical problems. I’ve even seen a commercial on television lately about plasma helping people with arthritis.
Once you decide that you want to donate plasma, you have to go through enrollment. They will go over a series of medical questions with you, you will watch a video, you will then do a medical enrollment, take vitals and lastly you will be seen by an on-site nurse. If you make it through all of the criteria, then you are ready for a donation. After the initial enrollment, each time you donate you will have your vitals taken before donating. There are certain guidelines that you have to pass each time you donate. For instance, blood pressure, temperature and pulse rate have to be within range. Every time you go, you will have your weigh checked and you will also have your finger pricked so they can test your red blood cell count and your protein levels – which also have to be within range.
Once you pass all of above, then your next stop is the donor room. Depending on how many nurses they have on staff that day depends on how many ‘beds’ they have open at one time. A good bed to nurse ration is 12 beds. And they tell you standing in line, for every 12-15 people ahead of you it could be one hour worth of wait. So it’s not a quick thing. I have waited 3-4 hours at a time. But to me, giving plasma is worth the small price of inconvenience that I have to pay for waiting.
Giving blood plasma is a process called plasmapheresis. Say that real quick huh? You are hooked up to an IV in one of your arms. Does it hurt? I’ve had so many people ask me this. The needle is bigger than when you are having a blood test. Some nurses are also better than others – just like the doctors office. I’ve had some nurses do it and I don’t feel a thing. I’ve had other nurses do it where I cringe my eyes and try to breathe through the pain. And then people ask if it’s painful why do you do it? And I have to tell them that the little bit of uncomfortable pain that I might feel fleetingly is *nothing* compared to the people that it helps. I have to keep thinking of the bigger picture – people that are in need.
Once you are hooked up the IV, your blood is pumped out into this machine and goes into the bottle (which is the middle part of the picture). The plasma is stripped from your blood and placed into a container. The blood is then recirculated back into your body during a process they call the return. Now how long does it take? Well, depending on how much water you have drank throughout the past couple of days it can take anywhere between 35-90 minutes. Personally, it takes me around 30-35 minutes if nothing goes wrong.
If you see the bottle in this picture, it shows you the amount that you are donating. Plasma comes in all different colors – it can be bright red, pink, green or a tinge of white/red – all depending on the medicines that you take. Mine comes out a greenish/white. Over the Christmas holidays, I had a guy ask me why my color was green. Without missing a beat, I told him that my father was an Elf. Snorts – we all had a good laugh about that.
You can donate twice in a 7 day period. By the time you read this posting, I will have made my 17 donation! My personal goal was to donate 20 – so I’m almost there. I’ve had ups and downs during the process. One time, they couldn’t get my blood that was pumped out to return and I lost blood during the donation. Of course, I’ve been bruised at the IV site – it happens. I’ve had times that my iron was too low to give that day. I’ve had multiple problems with my pulse rate. The rate has to be 100 or less. I’ve had to sit out for 15 minutes to try the pulse again and there have also been times I couldn’t make it that day because of my pulse.
*Pictures are off the internet at various web sites to share how the process works.
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Okay Friends – Here We Go!
My sweet friends at Nikitaland have started this monthly issue of Pay It Forward. We asked for you to keep this in mind all month and to share things here today on what you have been able to do. Paying it forward is not for bragging purposes – it’s an attempt to show how many different things we can do to pay it forward – lots of them don’t even include money. Gestures that we take for granted may be a God send to another person.
Friends – this month mommy is going to report on something that she has started doing, something that is close to her heart and means so very much to her. She has been thinking about it for some time and to be honest with you she had not done it up until this point because of one reason – she was afraid. But she finally bit the bullet and did it. What you ask? Well, here’s mom to explain.
Thanks Bacon. When my husband Jim was in a car accident years ago, he was in the hospital for over 12 weeks, most of those in intensive care. During that time, he was treated with blood transfusions and other treatments that contained plasma. Then years later, a good friend of ours needed treatment that also came from plasma. I’ve done a LOT of research on plasma donation and it was one of those things that I really wanted to check out since it touched so close to us here at the Hotel Thompson.
Well, I took a big step on 11/18/2015 and went to a center to inquire about the procedures. Now I had done a LOT of research on line and knew about some things; however, to actually do this you have to go through a process that could take 3-5 hours the very first time. This involves watching a short film on the process, reading a short manual at the center, giving a medical history, being evaluated by a nurse and having your vitals taken – blood pressure, weight, pulse, temp. IF you pass all of this, then you are ready to give blood plasma. I was accepted – HAPPY DANCE!
If you have given blood or had blood drawn for blood work, that is how it feels. And let me tell you something my friends. This one ouch moment is *nothing* to how you feel afterwards knowing that you gave to a great cause something that you had that someone else could use.
And today by the time you read this, I have made 4 donations with 2 more scheduled this week. Even last week while on vacation, I got up at 6AM on my days off to be at the clinic and in line waiting to make a donation. Each donation, you go through vitals check and you can plan on being there for 2-4 hours. There is that big of a line which is awesome! I have to admit though, I’m having problems some visits with my pulse rate. It has to be under 100 bpm. As long as I can keep it under that, all of my other numbers (blood pressure, hemoglobin, iron and weight) are perfect. Please pray for me my friends that I can continue to do this. My commitment to myself was 20 visits.
My buddy Nikitaland made up a good deeds sheet. You can get it here. You can print it, hang it on your fridge and just jot some things down that you do during the month. That way at our next meet up, you can share what you have done to PAY IT FORWARD.
AND if you are interested in getting some Pay it Forward bracelets, check out Nikitaland’s post here for ordering information. Believe me friends – WE CAN ALL MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
Next meet up will be January 6th – mark your calendars!
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