Down a pint

That is a misleading title for this post.

Earlier this week I donated blood. Sort of. I have been “differed” from the general donation pool because sometimes a life of gnar means your are too cool to pool. Here is a list (on the second page) of reasons why one might be differed. You can guess in the comments section which two apply to me.

Instead I donate at the Canadian Blood Services reasearch branch that is conveniently located at UBC. This was my tenth time donating there. Also, rather than donating whole blood as I have in the past, this time I donated platelets.

The process took about 90 minutes rather than 5. My blood was extracted a bit at a time, spun through a centrifuge, the platelets were diverted to a collection bag, and the remaining blood stuffs were then pumped back into my body. This was repeated many times. Most of the blood came back to me so I only lost about 400 mL of fluid. The blood is returned with a bit of anti-coagulant to improve reintegration. It reacts with the calcium in the blood stream making for tingly lips. This was a fun and novel sensation. Also the blood is slightly cooler. That is also a curious sensation. I’d wager neither sensation can really be captured by anyone less than a poet (which I am not) so I recommend you do it “just to see”.


Perks: hot water bottle and blankets; unlimited supply of tums (for that calcium jolt); complementary HIV and Hep screening; tasty cranberry juice.

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8 Responses to Down a pint

  1. Kassandra says:

    Yikes, I’ve fainted in the past when medically required to give a little of my blood. My aversion to needles is such that your photo makes me feel physically ill. I’m very glad you’re donating so much, because even though I’d love to help out, they’d have to do it while I was unconscious which I don’t think is recommended. So Kudos!

  2. Mike says:

    On average, from the time I walk in, confirm the appointment, book the next one, wait for the finger prick (once, an attempt at humour with a fake faint at this step, almost got me smacked), fill in the “live style” questionaire, wait some more for the cross examination (definately not the time or place for humour!) , then wait for bed,, and the jab with that Harpoon.
    Then for me depending on the accuracy of the “poke’ into the what should be a pretty obvious target ( those aren’t “track”, they’re 36 year’s of repeated donation’s) I usualy fill a bag in about 7 minutes.
    There the wait, after the “beep” to have the drain removed and the puncture to close,with my finger pressure for a full 5 minutes,after which one of the voluntees to assist me to the cookies and juice,( no real of fake fainting now with these lady’s!).
    And so by the time I walk out it’s taken an hour.
    Warm Regards

    • kaan says:

      Fair point Mike.
      I was doing the blood cycle in-out thing for 53 minutes. The other 30 or so minutes was spent doing some smaller samples so they know my exact platelet count (and all other blood cell counts) and just getting the machinery hooked up. There was also about a 20 minute pre-amble because I had never been briefed on this type of donation. And of course there was the obligatory 15 minutes of juice and granola bars. All together I was probably there from 9 am to about 11 am.

  3. Jo says:

    I looked at the list/questionnaire… seems to be a pretty exclusive club to donate……have the requirements become more stringent recently? There’s no way in heck, I would pass on a number of fronts…..and I’ll just let you guess which 8-12 questions apply ;)

    However, for those who are inspired and wishing to do more to help save a life, have a look at One Match:
    I registered my details with them a few months ago, it only takes a simple cheek swab in the comfort of your own home to register your details in their database…..(supply your own cookies and juice). See the website for more details.

    • kaan says:

      Great point Jo!
      One match has twice identified me as a fully compatible match for one of their recipients. The first time I was on “stand by” for about 4 months and then suddenly not needed. I think we can guess how that tragic story ended.The second time (a couple years later) it went all the way and I donated marrow!

      I was a bit uncomfortable (hip pain) for a few days after the bone marrow transplant but it made for a good adventure. Also, right after I came out of the anesthetic and was high as balls from that (and on T3s) this crazy lady I had only been on two dates with (and had ended things because she was nuts) called to break up with me for the fifth time or something. I don’t remember it too clearly but I do remember she was screaming about how she was going to un-friend me on facebook. I had a hard time not giggling. She re-friended me two weeks later. I declined to “confirm”.

      One Match: spawner of adventures and makes dealing with crazies rather trivial.

      • Mike says:

        that was a really selfless and couragious of you to go through the waiting,anesthia, surgery, post-op, and healing, very well done!
        I saw a C.B.C documentry a number of year’s ago about a Winnepeg City bus driver who
        was a match twice in the same year, and Canadian Blood services had to override they’re
        on rule of a manditory one year wait, to permit the needed 2nd donation.
        You and he, are the true unsung hero’s, over any sportting celebrities!

  4. Mike says:

    I’ve been a registered bone marrow donor since 1991, that’s when the Canadian Red Cross was handling all blood related product’s, I was called once as a possible match and went down in the wee hour’s the morning to give blood samples that were supposed to be air couriered out on the mornings first flight.
    Even though I was assured a “head’s up” was given for the appointed time, when I arrived it was, Who are you & W.T.F are you doing here so early?
    I felt like I’d been a patsy to a really bad practical joke, and when I finally convinced the staff on hand that I was’nt some kind of malingerer looking for attention (I think). They patronizingly took some tubes of blood, but I never heard from the Red Cross, so that may partly explain why Canada opted to form the Canadian Blood Services.
    A few year’s after the Canadian Blood Services had taken over, I came home one Friday after work and was excited met by Louise my wife, saying I’d been called as a possible bone marrow donor!
    After getting a hold of the case worker “Fran”, I learned that I was in the ball park of being a match and that the technology for a more accurate match was available and would I mind going down to the hospital to give some blood for testing and that it would again be couriered to Vancouver.
    I told Fran what happened with the Red Cross and she promised me that this time it would I would be expected, which I thankfully was.
    About six week’s later I recieved a very nice form letter from Canadian Blood Services thanking me for my contribution but, that I was was not exact enough of a match, but that should a future patient
    be in need, I would contacted and it would be the real deal.
    Warm Regards

  5. Gail says:

    I’m hoping it’s pregnancy and in jail, considering all the other possibilities.

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