I Brraake vor Blahd

Every couple of weeks I donate platelets at the Red Cross. If you don’t know anything about platelet donations, it takes about three hours to give platelets. Your whole blood is collected by needle, sent through a centrifuge which separates the platelets from the other blood components, and then the remaining blood components are returned to you by needle. I have to use a one-arm apheresis machine, meaning that the blood goes out and comes back through the same needle. It’s a big mother of a needle.

Since the process takes quite a bit longer than a regular whole blood donation, donors get to stretch out in these comfy table/loungers and watch a movie on a private screen with earphones. Because my blood pressure is normally low, I need a heating pad under me and two or three blankets on top to keep my temperature up so that the machine doesn’t think I’m in distress. Imagine having to lie down all warm and cozy with a movie for a couple of hours! Forced relaxation, ahhhh.

The Red Cross called me a few days ago to ask that I come in for a donation because I’m a match for someone. I’ve been a match in the past, most recently for a young cancer patient named Abigail. Platelets are used for premies, burn victims, trauma victims, organ donation patients, and cancer patients mostly.

Yesterday, I was all set for my early morning appointment with a needle and a movie. On the way to the donor center, I noticed that the brakes on the car didn’t seem to be functioning properly.

Is it me? Did I do something wrong?

Maybe it’s not me. That feels like I don’t have any brakes.

Uh-oh! I don’t have brakes! Now what?

Call the husband to come trade cars with me and drive mine back to the house. Drive him into his office. Then call the Red Cross to tell them that I won’t make it for my scheduled appointment and, since yesterday was their early-close day, I’d have to reschedule for another day. Try explaining to whomever was supposed to get my platelets that they won’t get the best-matched platelets because of faulty brakes. They’ll have to settle for no-so-well-matched platelets from someone else. Boy, I feel like I really let someone down.


  1. Everything happens for a reason, Gael, and your platelets are obviously going to go to someone else in their turn.

    You are so good to gift platelets - I have seen them doing that when I've gone to give blood and it really doesn't look easy, and yet enforced leisure has to be a good thing!

  2. WOW! That is so awesome of you to donate!

    I'm sorry it didn't work out yesterday

  3. I used to give blood and/or platelets all the time, because I'm a universal donor, and I have no special antibodies, which they give premies in NICU.. Obviously we're strange and unique people!! So get back in there and give! You could probably use the enforced relaxation about now..

  4. You can only do what you can do. I want to thank you for giving blood/platelets. It's very generous of you. Someone's blood saved my son's life when he was a baby. So, thank you!

  5. I think you are great for even donating. And thank God you didn't get injured driving without brakes.

  6. I've tried to give regular ol' blood several times but they always give up on finding a vein. I know they're in there. They pop up beautifully but when the needle goes in my arm *poof*...the vein disappears. I'll let 'em dig for it for awhile but then I'm done. Makes me mad because I'd like to sell my white blood cells as a part time job. Ha! Not sure about the plateletes. That sounds scary.