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Adumbration
2008-11-19, 01:52 PM
The day after tomorrow, on my free day, I am going to donate blood for the first time. Have people here done that? What can I expect? Will it hurt? Will I be able to function afterwards?

This is a bit of a challenge for me, since I was afraid of needles when I was smaller. :smallwink:

averagejoe
2008-11-19, 01:55 PM
I've done it a few times. It's really no big deal; it's never hurt for me ('cept that initial stab) and you're typically pretty functional afterward.

Jack Squat
2008-11-19, 01:56 PM
I haven't donated blood, but I have had blood taken for medical tests.

It's not that bad of a pain, not really anymore than a normal shot. It's a lot worse if you look, seeing as how the needle looks the size of some of the one's on Gilligan's Island, so look up at the ceiling when they stick you.

Oregano
2008-11-19, 01:57 PM
How much blood do they take? I've had blood samples took before but that seems like too small an amount.

I've considered donating blood before, maybe when I'm older.

Jack Squat
2008-11-19, 01:58 PM
When they take blood, it's a pint's worth.

The only way I remember that is my brother got a coupon when he gave blood for a free pint of ice cream.

three08
2008-11-19, 01:59 PM
i've gone a couple times. once, it kinda hurt, but every other time it was fine. a little jab, is all. sometimes even that's virtually painless.

i do have a tendency to be strongly affected afterwards by, well, i guess it must be adrenaline or something. i sometimes go a bit pale and generally shake a lot. it wasn't that i was in any danger - just my body reacting to the unexpected decrease in blood pressure, i guess.

Wolfbane
2008-11-19, 02:01 PM
They normally take about a pint of blood. It may seem like a lot, but your body replenishes that in about a day. Just make sure that you stay laying down on the cot after they are done. If you don't, you'll likely faint. Don't worry though, it'll get you plenty of Karma.:smallbiggrin:

Tirian
2008-11-19, 02:37 PM
Yeah, it's just a pinch when the needle goes in. To me, it's not even as bad as an injection even though the needle is bigger, because it's just sucking blood instead of the additional strange pressure of injecting medicine.

I got some great advice from a dentist once that really helps with medical pain. Don't look at the needle, but also don't close your eyes and grit your teeth. If you're actively looking at something and listening to something, then your brain won't be 100% occupied with sensing the needle.

For the next 1-3 days, it will sort of feel like you're getting over a cold. You won't be totally weak, but you also don't want to plan on doing your normal gym workout. The nurses will give you cookies and juice and make you stay pretty still for ten or fifteen minutes after the donation while your body balances out the fact that 10% of your blood is missing, so trust their orders and don't leave until they let you go.

And thanks! Blood donors rock in stereo, and you get double karma for facing your childhood fears.

Morty
2008-11-19, 02:43 PM
I've never donated blood and due to having gone through a blood disease I never will, but I can confirm what others have said that having your blood taken is no big deal. It stings a bit when they stab you with a needle but that's all.

Telonius
2008-11-19, 02:45 PM
I've given blood twice, and have been wiped out for the rest of the day both times. I passed the anemia test both times, and never looked at the needle; I guess I just have a problem with even knowing that a pint of my blood is ending up on the wrong side of my skin. I'm glad I gave both times regardless. But I'd suggest you arrange for somebody else to drive that day if you don't know how you'll react.

EvilDMMk3
2008-11-19, 02:45 PM
This is a bit of a challenge for me, since I was afraid of needles when I was smaller. :smallwink:This is exactly why I started. The needle will sting a little but it is better than most times you get a needle in you because people who take blood from donors do it as a job, people who take blood for blood tests don't get the practice.

For the next few days expect to feel a little under the weather. Fight that with the warm feeling of having potentially saved a life. If you are a drinking person you will get drunk faster if you drink after donating. If you are unlucky you might get a touch of bruising where the needle went in but that will pass.

I donate regularly now, at first it was going to be just to help me get over my fear but then I turned out to be O-.

Do not drive later in the day. Avoid anything where clear thoughts are going to be needed if you can. Make sure you eat greens in the following days, the iron will help you recover faster. The last effects of donating can be as late as 3 weeks later (very slight iron deficiency), but the immediate feeling only lasts 3 days at the VERY VERY outside, normally a good night's sleep and perhaps a soothing bath or hot shower will fix you right up.

Kantur
2008-11-19, 02:47 PM
I've donated blood a little less than a dozen times now so hopefully that's enough to provide some help :smallwink:

If wherever you donate is a drop in centre like the ones that tend to happen around here (Community centre or similar gets taken over for a day and gets advertised nearby, etc) then you can probably expect a decent wait from getting in the door to actually donating.

As for if it'll hurt, that depends on you. You'll feel it, and it'll feel like the small sharp scratch that it is, but I doubt you'll find it actually painful. Though there is a chance, but the two times it's hurt with me, it was due to the staff doing it wrong - first time catching the vein too thinly and it hurt a little when they had to take it out to redo it, and the other time was whoever was doing it clearly just wanting to get home as the needle was practically yanked out, but he at least apologised after. However, don't let that scare you at all; if you let them know before actually giving the blood that it's your first time, they'll make sure everything's ok and they talk you through it if you need or want it and they'll make sure they take good care of you.

You should be able to function perfectly afterwards, just make sure you eat something before you go. Once I donated without eating beforehand, trust me, you'll appreachiate that energy after. You might feel a little light headed afterwards, but take a seat for as long as you need and make sure you're ready to carry on with your day before you get up and go. I'm a fairly light person, so I'm not sure if that's why, but I know I definetly take the rest of the day easy afterwards. And as you'll be told, and probably know already; no heavy lifting or drinking until the day after.

And finally: Congratulations on overcoming that fear of needles (Or at least being dedicated enough to ignore it! ;)), and good on you for donating blood. Enjoy it, and make sure you try and drag some friends along to donate the next time!

(^ Another O-? It's good to know the blood donation centres want you isn't it? :smallwink: Even if it is in that slightly creepy "We want your blood!" way :smalltongue:)

And a, really this time, final note; just remember that in the future if you plan to get any tattoos or piercings, that'll stop you donating for a while (Here it's a year) and I know from experience that if you are wanting tats or piercings it can sometimes be a difficult choice which one you want to do.

Mordokai
2008-11-19, 02:50 PM
I donate regularly as well and to me, it presents no problems whatsoever. I can drive the car, I can even workout at the gym. For the sake of my own health, I don't do it, but if I so wished, I could. I get tired a little easier on that day, but other than that, nothing changes. So yeah, if you are reasonably healthy, you should have no problems worth mentioning. And like others have said, you score major karma points. So go for it, it will probably make your day a little brighter, knowing that you saved somebodies life :smallsmile:

averagejoe
2008-11-19, 02:57 PM
How much blood do they take? I've had blood samples took before but that seems like too small an amount.

I've considered donating blood before, maybe when I'm older.

Usually a pint, but there is something else where they'll take two pints but replace all the plasma. This takes somewhat longer, and can be somewhat more uncomfortable (though I've never felt discomfort from doing it, I know others have) but, hey, two pints.

Adumbration
2008-11-19, 02:57 PM
Thanks for all the advice so far, really. It's been very comforting and encouraging. (Why isn't there a fuzzy warm feeling smiley?)

By the way, on the next Monday, I'm going to have an exam, and then another one on Wednesday. Will this affect my performance in any way?

The Great Skenardo
2008-11-19, 02:58 PM
Man, forget the needle. The most painful part of the whole thing is when they're testing the iron in your blood. They prick your finger, and it stings like the Dickens for hours afterwards.

averagejoe
2008-11-19, 02:59 PM
Thanks for all the advice so far, really. It's been very comforting and encouraging. (Why isn't there a fuzzy warm feeling smiley?)

By the way, on the next Monday, I'm going to have an exam, and then another one on Wednesday. Will this affect my performance in any way?

Shouldn't. They tell you to wait 24 hours before doing anything strenuous, but even that might be overcautious (then again, I'm a big guy, so a pint is proportionally less blood for me.) By Monday you should be fine.

Adumbration
2008-11-19, 03:01 PM
Man, forget the needle. The most painful part of the whole thing is when they're testing the iron in your blood. They prick your finger, and it stings like the Dickens for hours afterwards.

I know the feeling. I had it done once on a biology lesson with a visiting nurse. It hurt like a small, sharp needle through the most sensitive part of your body. (My finger, of course. :smallamused: )

But in the end, it wasn't that bad.

Tirian
2008-11-19, 03:01 PM
Thanks for all the advice so far, really. It's been very comforting and encouraging. (Why isn't there a fuzzy warm feeling smiley?)

By the way, on the next Monday, I'm going to have an exam, and then another one on Wednesday. Will this affect my performance in any way?

If you're donating on Friday, not at all. Your body replaces the lost plasma in one day and after three days you are back to your normal complement of red blood cells. And I don't think that donating blood has ever made me feel dumber, unless I was woozy from overexerting myself physically.

Mauve Shirt
2008-11-19, 03:02 PM
I've never donated blood, because I've lived out of the country, but I've had blood taken. It doesn't really hurt except for the initial poke with the needle. I actually like watching the blood creep through the tube into the bottle though. I've never been lightheaded or anything afterwards.

bibliophile
2008-11-19, 03:04 PM
Donating is pretty easy, it only takes half an hour total. Other here have answered your questions, so I'll just say thank you for donating. :smallsmile:

Katrascythe
2008-11-19, 03:06 PM
Donating isn't that bad, just don't do anything strenuous. I had a friend who almost passed out because he had blood taken on our campus then ran to class. Also make sure they you let them know the medications your on because sometimes they cannot take you blood.

Zeful
2008-11-19, 03:09 PM
I know the feeling. I had it done once on a biology lesson with a visiting nurse. It hurt like a small, sharp needle through the most sensitive part of your body. (My finger, of course. :smallamused: )

But in the end, it wasn't that bad.

Your finger has like 8 times the number of nerve endings then every other place on your body. Getting stabbed in the finger hurts worse than getting kicked in the crotch.

snoopy13a
2008-11-19, 03:12 PM
Make sure you eat beforehand. If you go in on an empty stomach, you can pass out.

There are some drugs that prevent you from giving blood. If you've visited or lived in certain countries you can't give blood either. Women with very low weight (believe either less than 105 or 110), those with low iron and those with very high blood pressure cannot give blood. Finally, you can't give blood if you've gotten a tattoo in the past few months, have ever used intervenous illegal drugs, have had (male) homosexual sex, or used a prostitute (I believe on the last one).

Syka
2008-11-19, 03:19 PM
I've been donating as regularly as possible since I turned 18 three and a half years ago.

First, the needle they use for blood tests is a LOT smaller than what they use for donating blood. I had to get a blood test this summer and it was a cinch compared to the needle for donating. I can never watch it going in or going out, I have to look somewhere else. Every time.

The only time it ever hurt was when my blood stopped coming out and THEY MOVED THE NEEDLE AROUND IN MY VEIN. :smallmad::smallsigh: I had a bruise down half of my forearm for a week afterwards. Other than that, I had minor discomfort when it once suctioned on to the side of my vein (I could feel the pulsing oO) and occasionally other times, but it's rare.

I usually make sure I'm doing nothing else that day and go straight home. I don't drive, but I wouldn't recommend driving right after since you don't know how it'll effect you. When I first started donating I had no problems, then after about a year or so I had some problems with getting dizzy/ill afterwards, and now I'm fine again after donating. I'm cautious though, and still make sure my schedule is clear.

Make sure you drink A LOT and eat right afterwards, and eat before.

Tattoos/piercings don't automatically disqualify you. I got my cartilage pierced and was still allowed to donate a few weeks afterwards because I got it done at a reputable shop. Most of those questions aren't automatic disqualifiers, but they want to ask to make sure. I think the only automatic one is if you have lived outside the US, particularly Europe. Something about Mad Cow...

Make sure that if it keeps bleeding a couple hours later to keep a bandaid on it (the last time I donated it didn't want to stop bleeding oO).

Mordokai
2008-11-19, 03:19 PM
Your finger has like 8 times the number of nerve endings then every other place on your body. Getting stabbed in the finger hurts worse than getting kicked in the crotch.

I'l take your word for it and pass on the experimental part of the test :smalltongue:

Kellus
2008-11-19, 03:38 PM
Just make sure to drink lots of fluids before going in. That's always my problem, and my blood takes forever to get out. If you've got a problem with needles you should probably look away when they jab it in, but they'll usually cover it up anyway without asking. I've never noticed the pain to be too bad, but just try to stay calm throughout the whole process. You can expect to be a little sluggish for a few hours, so drink plenty of liquids afterwards and eat something with sugar in it; they usually offer cookies and juice for just this reason. Don't go flying for up to 48 hours afterwards, since hypoxia sets in a lot quicker when you have less blood.

EvilDMMk3
2008-11-19, 03:47 PM
The main reason why you would have difficulty donating, in all likelihood, would be overall health. Not knowing the nation you write from I cannot say for sure, but for example in the UK they won't take blood from you if you have a cold because it is just not possible to get the infection out of the blood.

paddyfool
2008-11-19, 04:59 PM
I see you've had lots of answers already, but here are mine.


The day after tomorrow, on my free day, I am going to donate blood for the first time.

Congratulations! Welcome to the club of the 4% (give or take).


Have people here done that?

Regularly, in three different countries. I can't now, because the last of those countries was Uganda, so they don't want my blood now that I'm back in the UK until I've been back for a full year.


What can I expect? Will it hurt?

1) A wait of indeterminate length, in which you'll be given a form to fill out with information like your travel, sexual, and pertinent medical history.

2) A quick interview where you'll be asked to confirm things from 1). They'll also prick your finger to check for anaemia (which is infinitely less painful than being kicked in the goolies in my experience) and may weigh you.

3) While giving blood itself - the needle going in shouldn't hurt if they do it right (which most people do in my experience). As a previous poster said, it helps if you look the other way and relax.

4) After giving blood, there may be some juice and biscuits for you, or something similar. They'll want you to hang around for at least 5 minutes after just in case you start feeling woozy.


Will I be able to function afterwards?
I've sometimes felt fine right away, and sometimes felt pretty feeble for the rest of the day.


By the way, on the next Monday, I'm going to have an exam, and then another one on Wednesday. Will this affect my performance in any way?

Nope. Just make sure that you have plenty of food and nutrition on the day, and plan for a long night's sleep at the end of it. Also, seconded for truth:

If you go in on an empty stomach, you can pass out.

I actually did that once. Went in for a routine blood donation after having skipped lunch because I was busy in the lab. Cue the following conversation halfway through the donation:
Me: "My eyes are losing focus."
Nurse: "What?"
Next thing I know, the world's shifted by 40 degrees or so. (The beds at the better equipped places tilt so that they can tip blood back into your head if you faint). Waste of my time, their time, etc. So don't do what I did, especially if you're tall (like me). Apparently tall guys are more prone to doing this than other people for some reason (EDIT - although that may have been just a sop to my ego).

Also EDIT: I'm another O-. I wonder if we're over-represented on these boards for some reason?

Dragoon
2008-11-19, 05:51 PM
Also, another thing to add, besides eating enough, make sure you drink enough water/liquid that isn't alcohol/caffeine before hand. Otherwise you might have problems giving blood.

EvilDMMk3
2008-11-19, 05:57 PM
When you donate blood in the UK afterwards they make you have a cup of tea/squash and a biscuit afterwards. Whilst this does have some liquid/sugar replacement function (and being so charmingly British) the main purpose is to keep you there long enough that if you where to faint you would almost certainly have done it before you finished the drink.

Syka
2008-11-19, 06:01 PM
I'm an A+!

Every center does it differently, by the way. Back home you fill out the sheet and they just confirm it. Here, you answer the questions and they fill it out. Both check iron levels as well as BP and pulse (which if it's too high, they will turn you away, which I had happen after getting the dickens scared out of me by a lightening bolt that struck really close to where I'd been walking to get to the Bloodmobile). The place up here also bloodtypes for your first donation for them, which was awesome! They took two drops of my blood and put each on a slide and put anti-A and anti-B stuff on them. The anti-B all mixed together but with anti-A you could see the blood and liquid not mixing.

I was fascinated and the nurse dude thought it was hysterical.

Cheers,
Syka

Deathslayer7
2008-11-19, 06:03 PM
I can never donate. EVER! :frown:

It's because I lived in Germany for over 6 months during 1990, while i was still a baby and I might possibly have Mad Cow Disease.

Be afraid of me! :smallamused:

paddyfool
2008-11-19, 06:33 PM
Yeah, the mad cow rule is one of the sillier ones (you crazy yanks, you). I'd be willing to bet that it'll be scratched off the books sometime in the next 20 years. Also, I believe you can still give anywhere outside of the US; they're the only ones to have that rule (although you never know, we might start banning US-tainted blood out of spite :smallwink:).

Bor the Barbarian Monk
2008-11-19, 08:25 PM
When threads like this occasionally pop up, I ask a favor. It's a fairly simple one. If you donate regularly, I would ask that you make a donation in my name. Even if you can't put my name on any of the paperwork, do so in spirit. Y'see, my blood is no good. Diabetes and all that. So when you commit to this good deed, maybe think of me and say, "This one's for you, Bor." No need to notify me if you do. Sentiment is enough in this case, even though I have wished for decades that I could donate.

Deathslayer7
2008-11-19, 08:40 PM
When threads like this occasionally pop up, I ask a favor. It's a fairly simple one. If you donate regularly, I would ask that you make a donation in my name. Even if you can't put my name on any of the paperwork, do so in spirit. Y'see, my blood is no good. Diabetes and all that. So when you commit to this good deed, maybe think of me and say, "This one's for you, Bor." No need to notify me if you do. Sentiment is enough in this case, even though I have wished for decades that I could donate.

You're not alone.

averagejoe
2008-11-19, 09:01 PM
When threads like this occasionally pop up, I ask a favor. It's a fairly simple one. If you donate regularly, I would ask that you make a donation in my name. Even if you can't put my name on any of the paperwork, do so in spirit. Y'see, my blood is no good. Diabetes and all that. So when you commit to this good deed, maybe think of me and say, "This one's for you, Bor." No need to notify me if you do. Sentiment is enough in this case, even though I have wished for decades that I could donate.

I donate semi-regularly. Whenever I donate two pints in one go (which is pretty much every time I donate blood) one of them will be for you. That way neither of us falls behind. :smallwink:

ForzaFiori
2008-11-19, 09:06 PM
so, this december, I turn 17. (legal age for donation in the US), and my school has regular blood drives (usually in January or February, along with one at the start and end of the year). As far as I know, I qualify to give, though my pulse may be too fast, due to it being quick already, and me not liking needles. Would giving blood affect my school work? Cause if it would, I'd make sure to donate after my AP course. Also, how big of a needle are we talking? Cause I've had lots of bloodwork done, and lots of shots (lots of injuries), and I can handle those, but big needles flip me out.

averagejoe
2008-11-19, 09:08 PM
so, this december, I turn 17. (legal age for donation in the US), and my school has regular blood drives (usually in January or February, along with one at the start and end of the year). As far as I know, I qualify to give, though my pulse may be too fast, due to it being quick already, and me not liking needles. Would giving blood affect my school work? Cause if it would, I'd make sure to donate after my AP course. Also, how big of a needle are we talking? Cause I've had lots of bloodwork done, and lots of shots (lots of injuries), and I can handle those, but big needles flip me out.

It almost certainly won't affect your school, and the needle size can vary. The first time I gave blood the needle was ginormous, but they've been regular sized needles since them, if I recall correctly. It probably just depends; you can certainly ask the people there about it. They won't give you a hard time. Indeed, most blood-donation people have been pretty amicable in my experience.

Deathslayer7
2008-11-19, 09:10 PM
it's not very big. Probably the normal sized ones used in doctors office. Not longer than an inch.

Syka
2008-11-19, 09:29 PM
it's not very big. Probably the normal sized ones used in doctors office. Not longer than an inch.

They are thicker than the ones used for drawing blood at a doc's office. I saw the one they were going to use when I needed blood work this summer and it was so tiny! I don't have an estimate as to how much bigger, but it was noticeably so.

Averagejoe, you can donate 2 pints in a go? I might ask about that.

Bor, I'm retroactively donating my past donations in your spirit. :)

Cheers~

averagejoe
2008-11-19, 09:45 PM
Averagejoe, you can donate 2 pints in a go? I might ask about that.

It's not as special as maybe I made it sound. They take the platelets and put back the plasma, so one can handle more lost. (Or something. To be honest I can never keep medical stuff straight in my mind. I'm pretty sure that's how it works, though.) It's called aphoresis or something. Something-resis. If I recall correctly you have to be a certain weight and/or size to do it, but I never really paid attention to that because it's never been a problem for me. A lot of people don't like to do it, though, because it takes somewhat longer (since they interrupt the drawing to replace plasma.) People also don't like it because it's somewhat uncomfortable. I've never experienced discomfort doing it, but some people think that the plasma feels cold when it's being put back in, and to some people the stuff going back in feels really weird. Also, the needle has to remain more in place than with regular transfusions (I think), and if you don't hold very still you can dislodge it and the process is supposed to become very painful; they stop it at that point, even if they haven't collected everything.

Deathslayer7
2008-11-19, 09:51 PM
I think for women you have to be 5' 7'' and weigh at least 121 lbs or something.

It's a little less for men, but similar.

Syka
2008-11-19, 11:36 PM
Oh, that's platelet donation or something. Different thing entirely. I can't do it anyway, I'm to small (5'4 and about 150). Plus the fact that are putting it BACK I don't like. >> I'm giving it away, once it's in your thingy, keep it.

Cheers,
Syka

KerfuffleMach2
2008-11-19, 11:38 PM
I would donate blood, because it's a good thing to do. But only one thing stops me.

Irrational fear of needles.

Tirian
2008-11-19, 11:41 PM
Yeah, when I gave blood in Berkeley they had a whole fancy machine for apherisis that had a second needle that put the non-plasma back in your other arm. And a comfy chair with a television and a stack of videos to keep you occupied for the forty-five minutes that you weren't allowed to move. I always wanted to give it a try, but my blood is CMV- and you can believe THAT makes you a popular blood donor in the San Francisco area so they always wanted the whole product.

Winter_Wolf
2008-11-19, 11:50 PM
I don't do well with seeing my own blood in copious amounts. In my mind, a pint exceeds my threshold for "too much of my own blood". Others' blood, not really so much of a reaction. Also, I feel the blood leaving my body, and find it very disturbing. However, the phlebotomist at least got it into the artery (on the first try, even!) so it was over relatively quick.

You never really know how you'll react until you do it, I think. Congratulations on donating blood, though. It's a good cause. (Says the guy who is afraid to donate his blood.)

Syka
2008-11-20, 12:32 AM
I would donate blood, because it's a good thing to do. But only one thing stops me.

Irrational fear of needles.

My sister is deathly frightened of veins. Like, seriously bad. She wants to donate but she probably will never be able to for that reason.

At least I can usually avoid bugs. It's much harder to avoid veins.

Cheers,
Syka

averagejoe
2008-11-20, 01:45 AM
Oh, that's platelet donation or something. Different thing entirely. I can't do it anyway, I'm to small (5'4 and about 150). Plus the fact that are putting it BACK I don't like. >> I'm giving it away, once it's in your thingy, keep it.

Cheers,
Syka

Really? I thought you were basically giving more of what they needed. :smallconfused:

(If that's the case then why are they always trying to encourage people to do that?)

Vuzzmop
2008-11-20, 02:28 AM
I'm horrible at this sort of thing. I find myself using black humour to hide my nervousness, and I have a twisted sense of humour when I'm not being drained of precious blood.

paddyfool
2008-11-20, 04:32 AM
For all of those who are afraid of needles... think of giving blood as XP, to be granted by your personal DM for conquest of your fears ;-). It may even help you get accustomed to needles, if you roll well.

Also, on a completely different note, I forgot one important caveat on giving blood: do not go if you feel at all sick, or if you think there's any chance you might have HIV or some other blood-borne infection such as any hepatitis, syphilis etc. They have screening, but it isn't 100% effective; and there is evidence that some people go to get screened, putting those that their blood goes to at risk. So don't do that; instead, go to your doctor, or a GUM clinic, if you think you're at any risk.

EvilDMMk3
2008-11-20, 04:44 AM
Oh, that's platelet donation or something. Different thing entirely. I can't do it anyway, I'm to small (5'4 and about 150). Plus the fact that are putting it BACK I don't like. >> I'm giving it away, once it's in your thingy, keep it.

Cheers,
Syka

Plasma, not platelets. Platelets are taken differently and more can be taken more frequently. Plasma donation works quite like dialysis, my dad used to do it. In the UK each plasma donation counts are 2 regular ones. I can't because O- whole blood is worth its weight in gold.

theangelJean
2008-11-20, 05:02 AM
Cool thread. Congratulations on your bravery, Adumbration, and to everyone else who donates. I tried to once but they turned me away because I was too heavy. I've put on weight now, maybe I'll try again.

(any other doctors in the thread? Hey, even I had to go look up plasmapheresis on Wikipedia. You learn something new every day.)

My dad once worked in the blood bank, and once I visited for work experience. You have no idea how sad it is to see one lonely bag of platelets being kept warm on a rack of four shelves. (It takes several people donating to get one bag of pooled platelets which is kind of one 'serve'.) And if you saw the amount of blood we had to pour into people to keep them alive ...

Keep at it, guys. You can't pay people what blood is worth, it's simply impossible.

Jean

ForzaFiori
2008-11-20, 07:06 AM
Plasma, not platelets. Platelets are taken differently and more can be taken more frequently. Plasma donation works quite like dialysis, my dad used to do it. In the UK each plasma donation counts are 2 regular ones. I can't because O- whole blood is worth its weight in gold.

can plasma go into anybody, or is it like blood where (with a few exceptions) you can only receive your own type? cause I'm AB, so my pint can only go to other AB people (A bad think when your donating, but when you get hurt as much as me, your thankful that you can take just about anyone's blood), but if my plasma could go to anyone, I'd consider getting that done.

paddyfool
2008-11-20, 07:48 AM
can plasma go into anybody, or is it like blood where (with a few exceptions) you can only receive your own type? cause I'm AB, so my pint can only go to other AB people (A bad think when your donating, but when you get hurt as much as me, your thankful that you can take just about anyone's blood), but if my plasma could go to anyone, I'd consider getting that done.

Plasma can go into anybody. In fact, AB- blood is often particularly singled out for processing into plasma even when given normally, I think at least partly because it AB- whole blood can only be given to a select few. Not all blood donor centres do plasmaphoresis, and it takes quite a lot longer. Ditto platelets, I think (although you should really ask about all this at your local donor centre).

A third way to give even more than normal is to get yourself onto a bone marrow register when you go to give blood. (They'll tell you about what it involves and then take a blood sample to match you against potential recipients). Be aware that bone marrow donation - if you're ever asked to do it - is a serious operation. But on the other hand, you might be the only match for a leukaemia patient somewhere.

On a related note - those of us in the UK who don't mind their organs going to someone else after they die should really get themselves on the NHS organ donor register (
https://www.uktransplant.org.uk/ukt/Consent.do). It doesn't look like opt-out donation will be the norm any time soon, as it is in the States and other countries.

EvilDMMk3
2008-11-20, 07:53 AM
On a related note - those of us in the UK who don't mind their organs going to someone else after they die should really get themselves on the NHS organ donor register (
https://www.uktransplant.org.uk/ukt/Consent.do). It doesn't look like opt-out donation will be the norm any time soon, as it is in the States and other countries.

Already on it, but yes AB blood does usualy just get taken apart in a centrifuge anyway, whereas O- gets given to sever trauma cases and the very young (where time is a factor or the amount of blood is so low that taking blood for a group test is a bad idea).

*feels slightly superior.*

Syka
2008-11-20, 12:15 PM
Really? I thought you were basically giving more of what they needed. :smallconfused:

(If that's the case then why are they always trying to encourage people to do that?)

It is actually really important. I'm just weirded out by the whole "We're going to take PART of your blood and then put the rest back in you" thing. Maybe one day. Until then, I'm content giving my blood every 8 weeks (I'll be donating again a couple days before I graduate, my last time up here at college).

I've thought about going on the list as someone for bone marrow transplants. A family friend when I was a child had leukemia. We were about 5 (she was around my age) and we both got sick with the SAME exact symptoms. I had a cold, she had leukemia. :smallfrown: Last I heard, she was in remission, which is excellent. But it's one of those things that sticks with you.

EvilDM, average joe said they take the platelets from him and put the plasma back in. He could be wrong, but I was going off of what he said.

Cheers~

Bor the Barbarian Monk
2008-11-20, 12:17 PM
Y'know, for those who have a fear of needles, I want you to try imagining being diagnosed at age seven as an insulin dependent diabetic by a doctor named, of all things, Dr. Needles. I wish I was kidding. And what made a guy with that name want to become a pediatrician is beyond me. I mean, one of my primary questions before going to see the doctor at that age was, "Am I gonna need a shot?" Knowing that I was going to see Dr. Needles was, simply put, terrifying. :smalleek:

Oh...And averagejoe...Thanks muchly. :smallsmile:

averagejoe
2008-11-20, 12:33 PM
EvilDM, average joe said they take the platelets from him and put the plasma back in. He could be wrong, but I was going off of what he said.

Yeah, that's what they're doing-I'm sure about that bit. So how exactly is donating platelets different from donating normal blood?

EvilDMMk3
2008-11-20, 12:35 PM
Dr. Needles.

Name of Awesome +5. There was once a cookery teacher called Mrs Baker as a school I was at but this trumps that no end.

As for platlet/plasma thing, I admit an error on my part. Reserch indicated that both Plateletpheresis and Plasmapheresis both involve the returning of stuff, in the case of Plateletpheresis the Red cells and most of the plasma, in Plasmapheresis the Red cells and all the platelets.

The reason they do it is simple. Before they did it this way you had to more or less ruin 5-10 donations of blood to get one unit of platelets. Now you can get up to three units (very rare, mostly just one or two) from a single donor at a single session.

Interesting side note. Whole blood can be stored for up to 35 days, but practicaly never is due to demand. Plasma can be stored for much longer as it is not in any way "alive". Platelets last 5 days. FIVE.

Syka
2008-11-20, 01:51 PM
Yeah, that's what they're doing-I'm sure about that bit. So how exactly is donating platelets different from donating normal blood?

I really don't know, other than it's something they need. I wish I wasn't as much of a wimp as I am. I'm just not sure I could handle the blood coming back in. :smalleek: I'm good having them take it, not so much on the putting it back part.

I think something like a third of the population has my blood type. Win. :)

Cheers,
Syka

snoopy13a
2008-11-20, 02:47 PM
Another interesting thing about blood types is that the Rh- factor is rare in some countries. Blood type ratios differ among ethnic groups.

I'm A+ and I didn't find out what my blood type was until I gave for the first time. If you're O-, the American Red Cross will hound you to give at every possible opportunity :smalltongue:

Adumbration
2008-11-21, 02:38 AM
In about two hours I'll hop on to a buss to the city. There I'll grab something for lunch, go watch Quantum of Solace, donate blood, maybe shop, and then get back here.

Wish me luck. :smallwink:

EvilDMMk3
2008-11-21, 02:44 AM
Wish me luck. :smallwink:

You don't need it. The people who do this are the best possible people to have your blood taken by, they know what they are doing.

paddyfool
2008-11-21, 05:27 AM
Interesting side note. Whole blood can be stored for up to 35 days, but practicaly never is due to demand.

Incidentally, research recently has shown that whole blood is best used within 14 days or so of donation - it doesn't exactly go off, but it's not quite so good when it's less fresh (something to do with the release of cytokines that upset the immune system a bit). Sadly, this increases the need for donors.

@Adumbration: Good luck! (Not that you need it).

Krytha
2008-11-21, 09:29 AM
I've passed out several times when blood was being extracted from me, so I am never in a hurry to donate.

Adumbration
2008-11-21, 10:19 AM
Aaand I'm back. I'm pleased to say that the whole thing went without a hitch. Started out by signing in, eating a free sandwhich and drinking a couple cups of juice while filling up the form. Next my hemoglobin was measured - it stinged, but it wasn't as bad as I remembered. And good news: my hemoglobin is 159, apparently, on the higher end of the scale. :smallamused:

Then I waited at the lobby for a few minutes, before being called in to the seats. Again, the sting wasn't so bad, and it hurt only for a moment, and then I just sat there for about five to ten minutes with the needle in. I have to say, a few unpleasant thoughts crossed my mind when the nurse left me alone for a couple of minutes, but I'm none worse for wear.

Really, the only side effect I noticed was that my fingers went cold on that arm for a few minutes, but that was it. It wasn't long before I was hurrying to catch the bus back home.

I plan on donating again when I can.

EDIT: Plus, I was complimented on my fine veins by the nurse. :smalleek:

paddyfool
2008-11-21, 10:28 AM
Congratulations!

EvilDMMk3
2008-11-21, 10:30 AM
Aaand I'm back. I'm pleased to say that the whole thing went without a hitch.

Congrats, hero.

On the sybject of veins, mine are a pig to find. However I do bleed very quickly.

averagejoe
2008-11-21, 10:31 AM
EDIT: Plus, I was complimented on my fine veins by the nurse. :smalleek:

I'll bet she says that to all the young gentlemen. :smallwink:

Mordokai
2008-11-21, 10:58 AM
Congrats, hero.

On the sybject of veins, mine are a pig to find. However I do bleed very quickly.

*sharpens knives*

You don't say? Any other information you'd like to share with us? :smalltongue:

Nah, I'm kidding! :smallbiggrin: Congratulation to our new blood donor. Stay loyal to the family for long time :smallwink:

AtomicKitKat
2008-11-21, 11:04 AM
I think the poor girl who was taking my sample to test for bone marrow donorship was not particularly well-trained. If I had known she would have to stab me in both thumbs to get enough to fill the square, I would have taken over the bleeding process. I suspect she was squeezing too hard on my thumb. Should have let me flex the arm back and forth a couple of times in order to build up the pressure.:smallbiggrin:

UglyPanda
2008-11-21, 11:10 AM
I've donated blood three times before. The first time I did it, it wasn't really out of charity, I just wanted to know my blood type (O+). I'd like to do it again, but I forget or am just plain sick due to the weather. I never thought of it as too bad, the apprehension is far worse than the actual pain. It is kinda gross to roll around a piece of plastic in your hand and pump out your own blood though. The worst that has happened to me when donating is that I don't have as much stamina for a week or so, and I'm a pretty thin guy, so I guess it's not predictable what happens to you.

Grats to anyone who can manage to donate blood on a regular basis.

Tirian
2008-11-21, 11:11 AM
I plan on donating again when I can.

EDIT: Plus, I was complimented on my fine veins by the nurse. :smalleek:

You have done well. 56 days. And spread the word that it's not worth being afraid of.

(And having good veins is a very good thing. It means that even a blind nurse won't have to jiggle the needle around your arm.)

Syka
2008-11-21, 12:59 PM
You don't need it. The people who do this are the best possible people to have your blood taken by, they know what they are doing.

Not always. :smallannoyed: My mom and I, over the years, have gotten some pretty incompetent people. One of the ladies kept messing up the entire time my mom was donating. ><

Adumbration, good veins are very good. :) I've never had to have them go searching for mine- I'm pale and they seem to be really close to the surface. It cuts down on "Whoops...wrong one" issues.

Cheers,
Syka

EvilDMMk3
2008-11-21, 01:00 PM
Not always. :smallannoyed: My mom and I, over the years, have gotten some pretty incompetent people. One of the ladies kept messing up the entire time my mom was donating. ><

Adumbration, good veins are very good. :) I've never had to have them go searching for mine- I'm pale and they seem to be really close to the surface. It cuts down on "Whoops...wrong one" issues.

Cheers,
SykaOK, affix the prefix "likely" to my statements.

averagejoe
2008-11-21, 01:18 PM
OK, affix the prefix "likely" to my statements.

Well, even the pretty incompetent ones would likely do better than, say, me.

EvilDMMk3
2008-11-21, 01:49 PM
Turns out I can donate this Wednesday.

ForzaFiori
2008-11-21, 02:18 PM
Not always. :smallannoyed: My mom and I, over the years, have gotten some pretty incompetent people. One of the ladies kept messing up the entire time my mom was donating. ><

Adumbration, good veins are very good. :) I've never had to have them go searching for mine- I'm pale and they seem to be really close to the surface. It cuts down on "Whoops...wrong one" issues.

Cheers,
Syka

speaking of bad nurses, last time i was in the hospital and needed an IV, it took the nurse 9 tries to hit a vein. 3 in my right elbow, 4 in my left, then 2 in my left hand. The second one in my hand finally hit a vein.

EvilDMMk3
2008-11-21, 02:26 PM
speaking of bad nurses, last time i was in the hospital and needed an IV, it took the nurse 9 tries to hit a vein. 3 in my right elbow, 4 in my left, then 2 in my left hand. The second one in my hand finally hit a vein.

When my mother was pregant with my sister she was hospitalised with related complications and needed frequent blood tests. Her veins are even harder to find than mine. After four agonising days in which a sample was not taken in less than 20 minutes the pathologist happened to be passing. After seeing the fiasco she took the needle off the nurse and quickly got a sample. She gave instructions that all my mother's blood tests where to be done by her. Apparently she had similar problems herself and whilst it hurt more than one normal needle she got it every time and save my mother several months of an inner elbow like a pin cushion.

Syka
2008-11-21, 07:18 PM
EvilDM, ow. :smalleek: And I'm not post stalking you or anything, that face was directed at the incompentent people we've dealt with. >>

I'm actually not planning on going to one of the local hospitals because of what my mom went through this summer there. Like, they weren't supposed to feed her X hours before this one scan...and did. They shouldn't have fed her spicy food (they thought it was her gallbladder), they did. It was just mishap after mishap. oO

Cheers,
Syka

averagejoe
2008-11-21, 07:26 PM
EvilDM, ow. :smalleek: And I'm not post stalking you or anything, that face was directed at the incompentent people we've dealt with. >>

Just out of curiosity, what does ">>" mean? I'm pretty sure that "<< >>" is shifty eyes, but I cannot seem to find anything on >>.

Deathslayer7
2008-11-21, 07:53 PM
i thought it was this >.<.

But again i am saddened i can't donate. Leaves this thread before i become more depressed.

EvilDMMk3
2008-11-21, 07:56 PM
My understanding is :
<< >> is shifty eyes
>> is averted eyes
>.< is DOH! eyes (with nose)

Syka
2008-11-21, 08:14 PM
I've always just >> as shifty eyes. I've never seen <<>> used. oO Whoops?

Cheers,
Syka

Jack Squat
2008-11-21, 08:16 PM
And here's Kirby busting a move:

(^'-')^ (^'-')> (>'-')> <('-'^) ^('-'^) (^'-')^ (^'-')> (>'-')> <('-'^) ^('-'^)

theangelJean
2008-11-22, 02:52 AM
can plasma go into anybody, or is it like blood where (with a few exceptions) you can only receive your own type? cause I'm AB, so my pint can only go to other AB people (A bad think when your donating, but when you get hurt as much as me, your thankful that you can take just about anyone's blood), but if my plasma could go to anyone, I'd consider getting that done.

AB people are especially good for donating plasma.

Here's why (spoilered for boring bits):

People can have A or B 'antigens' on their blood cells. I like to think of them as 'spikes'.

So O people have no spikes, A people have A spikes, B people have B spikes, and AB people have both A and B spikes.

Now, the main problem with antigens is that people can make antibodies to them. I like to think of them as pac-man type things, but they're really not ... they're just proteins, and they live in your plasma. So if an O person ever got exposed to A type blood, they would make anti-A pacmen, and the same for type B blood. A and B people similarly have antibodies to the other type.

But AB people have both A and B spikes, and so their plasma doesn't have pacmen in it.

Is good stuff, in other words.

I don't know whether to encourage you to donate plasma or platelets or whole blood, though. We're pretty short on everything, ever since the AIDS scare (when people over-reacted and stopped donating blood). Even AB red blood cell packs get used.

Oh and people, donating blood IS safe, a sterile needle is used every time, and all blood is screened before it goes to anyone.

Now to find out when the bloodmobile is next coming to my work...

Jean

Eldpollard
2008-11-22, 10:58 AM
I've been donating since I was 17 (minimum age in the UK). Is it just me or does taking the plaster off hurt more than the needle?

And to quote Monty Python "A pint! That's nearly an arm full!"

EvilDMMk3
2008-11-22, 11:25 AM
I've been donating since I was 17 (minimum age in the UK). Is it just me or does taking the plaster off hurt more than the needle?

And to quote Monty Python "A pint! That's nearly an arm full!"

Yes and that isn't Monty Python, that is Hancock.

Apparently (when I asked last time I donated) they get that joke about twice a week.

TheCountAlucard
2008-11-22, 12:06 PM
The day after tomorrow, on my free day, I am going to donate blood for the first time. Have people here done that? What can I expect? Will it hurt? Will I be able to function afterwards?

This is a bit of a challenge for me, since I was afraid of needles when I was smaller. :smallwink:

I've donated blood about a dozen times or so. The worst part of it, in my opinion, is not the needle, but the questions they ask beforehand. Every time I go to a blood drive, I have to answer a long series of questions that confirm that I have never traveled to Mexico, taken illegal drugs, hired a prostitute, et cetera. While I understand that these sorts of questions need to be asked, it still kinda bugs me, y'know?

They usually give me a free T-shirt. Those are nice. I'm "O" blood, by the way. :smallsmile:

EvilDMMk3
2008-11-22, 12:08 PM
In the UK they are in the habbit of handing out keyrings with your blood group on it.