I donate blood on a fairly regular basis and almost never have any problems. A couple of donations ago I was approached by someone recruiting for platelet donors. They asked to take a sample of my blood for testing, I agreed, and they called me back a few weeks later to say I was a good candidate. Last night I did my first donation. Barb wants it to be my last.
I’m pretty sure the person doing my poking and running my machine was fairly new at this. Even though the needles are smaller than those used when donating blood when she put the first one in my right arm it hurt quite a bit more than it usually does when donating blood. After a few seconds it felt better and we proceeded. The one in the other arm went fine. As soon as she started up the machine I felt a sharp pain in my right arm. I informed them and she stopped the machine and had this “deer in the headlights” look on her face. Another person came over and looked at my right arm and said the needle had missed my vein. The second person offered to let me go home or she could use a different vein. I said go ahead and use the second vein. That seemed to go fine for a few minutes then I started sweating profusely and my stomach and head started feeling funny. I told my attendant and she had the same expression but seemed to know what to do. She turned off the machine again then she and the other person pulled the blanket off my lap and legs (most people get cold during the procedure), put cold packs on my forehead and neck, and asked me to take deep breaths. The one who knew what she was doing explained that the pain from the improper needle insertion caused this reaction from my body. The body drops the blood pressure in an attempt to reduce the risk of “bleeding out”. The good thing is that this usually only happens once, after recovering in a few minutes it is very unlikely to happen again. I asked if it was mild “shock” but she said it wasn’t, just a drop in blood pressure. I’m not so certain. I suspect it was shock. The symptoms all seem consistent. Anyway, after a few minutes I started feeling better and they restarted the machine. They had told me to boost my calcium input prior to donating and I drank extra milk. But they insisted I needed to take calcium supplements because the anti-coagulants would bind with the calcium in my blood and since calcium is used in nerve conduction I would start having symptoms such as tingling in my lips and generally have problems. I took the supplements they offered but a few minutes after sweating session I started the tingling in my lips. I reported it and the one who knew what she was doing said the machine had just gotten up to full speed and that was the reason I was just experiencing it. She adjusted the machine and the symptoms subsided some. Two and a half hours after I came in I was done and they removed the needles and put bandages on my wounds.
As I drove back to the house I did not feel normal. It wasn’t the light headed feeling I sometimes feel after donating blood, it was different. I was tired and drained. My mind wasn’t working up to full capacity either. I wasn’t as alert and aware of things. I was glad I only had to drive a mile or so. I drank another large glass of milk and went straight to bed.
I’m feeling much better today. I hope my aerobics class goes okay tonight. Blood donation makes my aerobics rougher. I probably will donate once more to see if thing go better if they don’t it will be my last donation of platelets. My next blood donation is next Tuesday.