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Donating Plasma – How Do They Do It?

  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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Posted by on 01/20/2016 in Bacon

 

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Bright Idea

  Oh heavens me – if it’s not my daddy doing something crazy then it’s my mom.  My mom sent me this picture a while ago on my iPad.  She said she had a “Bright Idea”.  Shakes piggy head.  Yeah she has something… C.R.A.Z.Y. seems to come to mind.

She saw this ‘light bulb’ in the store the other day and just had to have it.  She told daddy that she wanted to bring it to her worky place so when she had ‘bright ideas’ she could turn it on to show the world.  She has it on her desk and peeps play with it all of the time.

Please help me.  My humans seem to be crazy.  In the Hotel Thompson, it’s hard saying that you are the sane one – and your an oinker!  Piggy laughing all over the floor.

Have an awesome weekend my friends!

 
46 Comments

Posted by on 05/08/2015 in Bacon

 

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Happy New Years! – Article from my Mom :)

 Happy New Years my friends!  Can you believe that it is already 2015 – Where did 2014 go?  Today, I’m going to do something a little different here on my blog.  I want to share with you something that my mother wrote recently on handicaps.  It may be a little long, but I hope you take the time to read it.  I think this will be perfect to start this new year with awareness and kindness and paying it forward.  Enjoy and let me know what you think 🙂

Let’s play a game.  Close your eyes, tight now no looking.  Now, I want you to try to do things around your house.  Go to the kitchen and get a drink; try going to the bathroom; turning the television on; or making a phone call.  Can you do it?  Can you remember the layout of your home?  Can you remember what your phone looks like and where the numbers are?  What about the remote control?

 These are all problems that my husband encounters everyday.  You see in 2004, he was in a minor car accident and almost died. That’s right I said minor accident.  He was only going 30 miles per hour when a car accident happened and his airbags deployed.  The force of the airbags against his chest caused massive blood clots in his lungs.  He was in intensive care for nearly 12 weeks coming close to death several times.  In fact at one point, the doctors asked mommy if she believed in miracles because it was time to start praying for one. 😦

Within two years of his accident and many, MANY surgeries that we lost count, he lost his vision.  This is not a story to say, “Oh dear, you poor thing”.  This is a story to enlighten people, restaurants and businesses.  Handicaps are not just visibly seen by wheelchairs, walkers or canes.  Some handicaps you would never know unless you knew the person.  This is my husband Jim.  He does everything we do just with a little help.

 When we go out together, we are always holding hands.  This is something that we have always done for the 26 years we have been together.  But now, it’s also to help guide Jim.  He doesn’t use a cane and it’s not because of vanity.  Jim and others with vision impairments want to be ‘normal’ as much as they can be and I can deal with that.  Wouldn’t you?  He does everything you and I do but just with a little help.

 When we go out to eat, we hold hands walking to the table.  If you are close enough to hear us, you might hear me say, “Walk straight, your chair is to the left.”  And you will see Jim walk straight to his chair just like he ‘saw it’.  You may hear me discussing the menu just like regular people do on, “What do you want to eat?”  You might even hear me tell him when the food comes to the table, “Chicken on the bottom, green beans to the left and corn to your right.”  But other than that, Jim can eat all by himself just like a big boy. 🙂  So, you might not ‘see’ that he has a visual impairment.  And after dinner when we walk to the car, you will see Jim open my car door for me and then walk to his side and get in.  Does that ‘look’ like a handicap to you?

 But here is where we need to step up in businesses and restaurants.  We are all for a little romantic dinner in a restaurant where the mood is set and the lights are low.  But some restaurants tend to push the envelope a little more these days.  But for someone with a visual handicap that might ‘see’ perhaps a little light to guide them, a little mood set with lights low makes them completely blind.  The little bit of tunnel vision Jim might have in one eye is now completely blocked by low light setting and where he might be able to look ‘naturally’ before now he can’t.  You add the low lighting with a white table cloth and white dishes, he is going to stumble around on his plate.  His drink might get bumped.  He may drop his napkin.  Waiters/Waitresses – please note this is not something that he is doing ‘on purpose’.  Please don’t say something to him negatively.  Please don’t “talk down” to him like a child.  And by all means watch what you say not to insult.  People with vision impairments don’t do these things on purpose.  They don’t want the extra attention.  They want to feel normal in every aspect that they can.  When we ask for a table with a little more light, don’t make a big deal by the request.  I mean we could eat at home and we often do but don’t we all want to go out from time to time?

 And bathrooms in public – sigh.  More businesses and restaurants really need to come up family bathrooms.  We have come across these in our travels and they are fabulous!  Why do you ask?  Well, hopefully in your own home you know the layout of your bathroom.  But in a strange place, can you imagine closing your eyes and feeling your way around in a bathroom when you have to potty?  There have been a lot of times that I will walk Jim to the door, open it and try to peak in to tell him where everything is – beware men – I’m not trying to look at what you are doing 🙂 Really, I’m not.

 If you see someone that is acting ‘off’ and it doesn’t ‘show’ that they have a handicap, they may just have a visual handicap that you don’t see.  Instead of walking by or acting like you might catch it, why don’t you stop and chat.  Don’t worry, they won’t bite.  Believe me, just because they are visually impaired,  they do have a sense of humor still.

If they are trying to go to the restroom, why don’t you volunteer to guide them.  Trust me, they won’t hesitate for your help.  If they drop their flatware on the floor, why don’t you replace it and touch their shoulder and say, “No problem sir”.  If you have someone that asks for a more lit table, don’t belittle them or act like it’s a big deal – accommodate

And don’t think Jim is being a snob if he doesn’t shake your hand when you offer yours.  Just a heads up – most people with a visual impairment can’t see your hand.  🙂  Sometimes it helps if you touch their shoulder and say, “Good to meet you”.  And of course, if I’m there I will be glad to tell Jim your arm is extended.  Don’t worry.  You can shake hands.  You won’t catch his blindness.

Most handicapped people don’t want a free pass.  They want to feel like they fit in and can still do what they once could.  Jim is the same.  He knows our house like the back of his hand.  He takes care of the kids and the house.  He can clean like you wouldn’t believe!  He makes the beds.  He does all of the laundry.  He does the dishes.  He can cook for himself.  Astonishing huh?  It just takes a few tweaks on my part to make his life like it once was.  The microwave is marked, the washing machine is marked, the dryer is marked – all with little tabs that he can ‘feel’ to turn on and off.

 I’m not writing this story for sympathy.  I’m not writing this story for money.  I’m writing this story for knowledge on visual impairments.  The next time you see someone with a visual problem – where you see it with someone using a cane or being guided by someone, don’t fear them or treat them differently.  Be kind and helpful.  And hey – why not even help their caregiver out for a while.  Do you know that must people with visual impairments still like to do things for their loved ones.  This has been one of the biggest downfalls to Jim’s vision.  There are times that he would love to go get me a card or some flowers but how can he when he can’t drive himself to do such a wonderful gesture?  Perhaps if you know someone with a visual problem, offer to take them out for such a trip 🙂

In the new year let’s start practicing a little Luke 6:31, “Do to others as you want them to do to you”.  Happy New Years!

 
59 Comments

Posted by on 01/01/2015 in Bacon

 

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That’s Okay – I’ll Pass

Oh my!  I had the worse nightmare last night.  I dreamed that mom/dad took me to the beach with them.  I was so excited that my little tail wouldn’t stop swinging back and forth.  We took the little car Albert and I stayed in the back the entire ride down – this was all good.

We got to the beach and they walked me down this long pier.  It was wonderful.  It was a little cool outside so mom put one of my sweaters on me.  It was also bright and sunny so mommy made me wear my shades.  People were stopping and talking to us.  They just couldn’t believe I was an oinker.  I don’t understand why not.  I’m domesticated and educated.  I know how to behave myself.  They petted me and we got to the end of the pier.  It was beautiful.  The water was glistening from the sun and it was awesome.  I kept begging mommy that I wanted to put my hooves in the water so we walked back down the pier to the sandy beach.

This is where the dream turned drastically.  There were humans on long boards out in the water.  It looked like they were walking on the waves.  Mom said they were surfing.  It was cool and looked like a lot of fun.  One of the guys asked if he could take me out and would I stay on the board.  I begged and begged – snorted and snorted until mom caved.

Shivers…. this is what happened next – screams!

I’m going to rethink watching these scary movies late at night before going to bed.  Shivers.

 
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Posted by on 10/16/2013 in Uncategorized

 

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10,000 – Couldn’t Have Done it Without YOU!

I have finally made it to 10,000 views on my blog.  I can’t believe that I have so many friends that have supported me the past year in making this happen.  It almost feels like a dream!  When I started, I didn’t think that anyone would find my little life so interesting.  I’m just a little pig living each day to the fullest and having fun with mom and dad.  I feel so special and loved to know that I have so many people out there that really care for me and what I do. 

THANKS SO MUCH MY FRIENDS!! 

Please share in leaving me a response for my baby scrap book – XOXOX BACON!!

 
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Posted by on 12/11/2012 in Uncategorized

 

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