Disclaimer: What follows is not meant to be a cautionary tale against giving blood (or, in my case, platelets). I still believe blood donation is important and life-saving, and once the swelling goes down, I plan to do it again…eventually.
So sometimes I really feel that I’m reading the exact right book at the exact right time. Usually, the book resonates with the season of my life, and I learn something about my inner or outer world at a time when I most need the knowledge and/or the wherewithal to apply it. But on Thursday, it wasn’t just the right book — it was the right book, the right chapter, and the right page — and it came down to the right hour.
After the fire that destroyed part of my apartment building, and which has left my husband and I out of our home for an indefinite amount of time, people have been exceptionally and overwhelmingly giving…and not just friends and family, but organizations (like the Red Cross) and strangers and acquaintances. And when I am the recipient of such generosity, it makes me want to give. And since I’m not wealthy, I give what I do have.
One of the things I realized I could give (and give more often — not just when there’s a blood drive at my church or job) is blood. I’m a universal donor, and apparently I have some extra stuff (or the absence of some extra stuff) that makes my blood even more desirable. So I get a lot of notices in the mail (and email) encouraging me to give. So, a few weeks ago, I made the decision that I’d give blood. But then I got a mailing that promised me one of those wind-resistant umbrellas if I donated platelets. I’d never donated platelets before, but I really wanted one of those umbrellas, so I figured I’d give it a try.
My appointment was just this past Thursday, and I showed up a bit nervous, but eager to give something that could help someone in need. Apparently platelets are in high demand among cancer patients, and since some people very dear to me are currently (or were recently) fighting cancer, this donation had meaning.
Now as you read what follows, please keep in mind that I’m not a medical professional. So my basic understanding of how they take platelets is this: they hook you up to a machine. The machine extracts the blood and puts it through a centrifuge which separates out the platelets from the rest of the blood. Then the machine returns the blood to your body. The process is designed to be very efficient for the collector, the…