I spent most of today donating blood platelets at UCLA and now I'm very tired. It was an interesting experience. My first time. I've donated blood once, but it was for my own surgery (I had surgery on my spine a few years ago - we'll save that story for another entry) but I haven't given platelets before.
I belong to a book club that consists of 7 really cool women, most of them from the gym I belong to. One member's daughter is really sick right now and needs platelets, and Diane (my friend, spin teacher and fellow book club member) and I had the right blood type and wanted to donate. So yeah, it's quite a process. Donating whole blood only takes about 30 minutes, but platelets takes a good two hours or more. They remove your blood and run it through a machine that spins and separates the platelets, then they infuse the rest of your blood components back into your body. They also give you fluids and an anticoagulant - and this comes into play shortly. It was an unexpectedly fun experience, the staff were all amazing and the atmosphere in the donation room was cozy and jovial. I guess because everyone donating is healthy and doing something that's helping someone else, there's a very different feel than the typical hospital experience. I'm really glad I did it.
When it was over I felt drained and woozy, but still, it was a great experience. Once we were both finished we got cookies and juice, then headed home. Back at home I decided to lie down for a bit because I still felt groggy and a little weird. Just as I was drifting off to sleep I got a call from Diane, who was laughing hysterically. After she dropped me off, she'd gone to the grocery store. Before going in, she decided to take off the goofy bandage (in her case purple with a bright green heart) off. She walked into the store and then noticed she was bleeding. Steadily. And it wouldn't stop. They'd told us to leave the bandages on for a few hours because of the anticoagulant..and I guess they weren't kidding! So there she is bleeding all over the grocery store. She had to go to the first aid section and open a box of cotton balls and gauze and wrap her arm up right there in the aisle!! The cashier was a little puzzled when she checked out and told her "I had to open this, so I'm paying for it." while sporting a freshly bandaged arm. Awesome.
So I'll be keeping my bandage on for a while longer.
And...yes, a totally non art-related post. I did not accomplish anything artistic today because the donation process took such a long time and now it's time for dinner.
That's it for today - look into platelet donation, it's a good thing. But follow the aftercare instructions to avoid embarassing public bleeding.