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Kaitlin Bartlett
04-24-2011, 06:10 AM
I was just wondering what the story is with blood donations. My FMC has a compulsive desire to help others (sort of to compensate for her own feelings of helplessness/feeling weak), and she wants to donate blood. But I know you can only donate once every eight weeks or so, and my FMC will definitely become frustrated with this.

I've been researching plasma and platelets donations since they can be donated more frequently than blood, but it seems most blood donation centers only take them from males. My FMC is young, healthy, at a normal weight, and has never been pregnant (I read pregnancy is a no-no for platelet donations); is it feasible for her to donate platelets or plasma?

Thank you for your help!

Calla Lily
04-24-2011, 06:13 AM
I haven't donated plasma in years (personal health issues now), but there were plenty of women on those couches when I did it. As long as you're healthy, iron isn't low, and you weigh enough, they want you. Honestly, if you want to feel loved and appreciated, donate platelets. They are thrilled to see you on their doorstep. :)

Sarah Madara
04-24-2011, 06:16 AM
I'm not an expert on this. I've just Googled, and it looks like pregnancy is the only concern and banning women altogether is a decision made by individual donation centers, not on a national level. If that's the case, then it should be feasible for her to donate.

Kaitlin Bartlett
04-24-2011, 06:18 AM
Thank you both!


Honestly, if you want to feel loved and appreciated, donate platelets. They are thrilled to see you on their doorstep. :)
Awesome, that is EXACTLY what my MC needs! :)

Kitti
04-24-2011, 06:25 AM
Also, if she's a donate-y type person, consider having her sign up to be on the bone marrow donor registry.

fourlittlebees
04-24-2011, 06:29 AM
Yes, she can, but the odds of being turned away are high. My dad used to donate platelets. Not only did I not qualify, but I am turned away for low iron 9 times out of 10 when I try to donate. IIRC, you have to have an even HIGHER iron count to do the other types of donations, but I think the American Red Cross has those numbers on their web site.

BTW, if you are an O- donor? They call you every 30 seconds to donate. :)

WriteKnight
04-24-2011, 07:57 AM
I have donated platelets more times than I can recall. I'm O- and yeah, they call you CONSTANTLY to come donate.

I've seen women donating plenty of times.

It takes a while to do it, depending on whether or not they use the one arm or two arm machine. Figure about forty five minutes or a little longer. You tend to get real cold, so they toss a blanket on you, or a heating pad. The center where I donate has TV screens, they'll even load in a movie if you like. Lots of juice/cookies and such.

And yes... there is definitely a feeling of 'contributing to the well being of others' involved in it. At first, it was for a loved one with cancer. Absolutely needed. But then when they found out I was O neg, and some other thing as well - then I got calls at all sorts of hours. "There's a baby going in for heart surgery, can you come in RIGHT NOW Mr. Writeknight?" - Seriously, what was I going to say, "Uh no... I don't feel like it." But it's a great feeling if you can donate blood or platelets.

misslissy
04-24-2011, 08:21 AM
There's a couple other things that will disqualify you, at least in terms of the American Red Cross. Most people get caught on the iron thing if anything, but they do ask you a bunch of questions. Trying to think of more common ones (like I'm in a deferment period now because I've been to a malarious zone, stuff like that - there's something about a tattoos too). If this is in America, I'd just run past the American Red Cross guidelines because that's where you're most likely to donate blood I'd think (and regardless, this would probably be pretty standard). Here's the eligibility requirements by topic (so you can just skip over the ones that would in no way apply): http://www.redcrossblood.org/donating-blood/eligibility-requirements/eligibility-criteria-alphabetical-listing

Also on this page it's how often you can donate what and if she wants to donate double red, the criteria for that: http://www.redcrossblood.org/donating-blood/eligibility-requirements

Also, there's nothing that reflects this on the website, but my local Red Cross has started using a new proportional chart, like the taller you are, the more you have to weigh to give blood. Sorry if that's too much info. I used to be big into giving blood (can't right now because I've visited a country with malaria in the last 12 months).

WriteKnight
04-24-2011, 08:42 AM
The restrictions do change over time. I know that each time I donated, I'd fill out a form, and they would ask you some things consistently "Have you had a tattoo in the last twelve months? Body piercings? Surgery? Chemotherapy? Incarcerated? Sex with an IV drug user?" Things like that were always the same. But the list of countries might change, depending on health restrictions - "Have you traveled to such and such country in the last six weeks? or year?"

Perks
04-24-2011, 09:15 AM
I've donated platelets dozens of times. (Also O-) Since most of the red cells are spun out in the centrifuge and returned to you, it used to be that hematocrit was a little less important for apherisis than in whole blood donations.

Plus they let you watch a movie and come over and scratch your nose for you if it itches.

AmsterdamAssassin
04-24-2011, 12:20 PM
My wife usually donated blood, but she has been pregnant and breastfeeding recently [our baby is now 8 months old] and we've been to Senegal. However, to go to Senegal we had our vaccinations and so they asked her to donate plasma, because the vaccins in the plasma would be conserved and could be used that way?

shaldna
04-24-2011, 12:48 PM
I used to work for the national blood service, and they are actually pretty strict, pregnancy is NOT the only concern.

In addition, there are set periods here, usually you have to wait 3 months between donations, although they will usually only invite you every six months. Donating platelets is usually okay to do again after 5-6 weeks, although you will usually be requested to wait 8 weeks.


You cannot donate if:

You've already given blood in the last 12 weeks (normally, you must wait 16 weeks).

You have a chesty cough, sore throat or active cold sore.

You're currently taking antibiotics or you have just finished a course within the last seven days or have had any infection in that last two weeks.

You've had hepatitis or jaundice in the last 12 months.

You've had a tattoo, semi-permanent make up or any cosmetic treatments that involves skin piercing in the last 6 months.

You have had acupuncture in the last 4 months, unless this was done within the NHS or by a qualified Healthcare Professional registered with a statutory body.

A member of your family (parent, brother, sister or child) has suffered with CJD (Creutzfeld-Jakob Disease).

You've ever received human pituitary extract (which was used in some growth hormone or fertility treatments before 1985).

You have received blood or think you may have received blood during the course of any medical treatment or procedure anywhere in the world since 1st January 1980.

You've had a serious illness or major surgery in the past or are currently on medication. Please discuss this with the clinical staff. The reason you're taking medicines may prevent you from donating.

You've had complicated dental work. Simple fillings are OK after 24 hours, as are simple extractions after 7 days.

You've been in contact with an infectious disease or have been given certain immunisations in the last four weeks.

You're presently on a hospital waiting list or undergoing medical tests.

You do not weigh over 50kgs (7st 12).

If you are unsure please call our 24 hour donor helpline on 0300 123 23 23.

Pregnancy

You should not give blood if you are pregnant or you are a woman who has had a baby in the last 9 months.

Travel abroad

Please wait 6 months after returning from a malarial area before giving blood. Please also tell us if you have visited Central/South America at any time. (Those who've had Malaria, or an undiagnosed illness associated with travel, may not however be able to give blood.)

If you are unsure please call our 24 hour donor helpline on 0300 123 23 23.

West Nile virus

Have you been to or plan to go to CANADA or the UNITED STATES this Summer? If yes, please click here, as it might affect you giving blood.

The special problem of HIV and Hepatitis viruses

Every single blood donation is tested for HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) and hepatitis B and C.
Infected blood isn't used in transfusions but our test may not always detect the early stages of viral infection.
The chance of infected blood getting past our screening tests is very small, but we rely on your help and co-operation.
People who carry these viruses may feel healthy for many years.

You should never give blood if:

You have ever had syphilis, HTVL (Human T - lymphotorpic virus), hepatitis B or C or think you may have hepatitis now

You're a man who's had sex with another man, even safe sex using a condom. For more information click here.

You've ever worked as a prostitute.

You've ever injected yourself with drugs - even once.

You should not give blood for 12 months after sex with:

A man who has had sex with another man (if you're a female).

A prostitute.

Anyone who has ever injected themselves with drugs.

Anyone with haemophilia or a related blood clotting disorder who has received clotting factor concentrates.

Anyone of any race who has been sexually active in parts of the world where AIDS/HIV is very common. This includes countries in Africa.

Please do not give blood if you even think that you need a test for HIV or hepatitis, or if you had sex in the past year with someone you think may be HIV or hepatitis positive.

veinglory
04-24-2011, 09:07 PM
Why would they only take males? I have never heard of that and I've donated at several sites across the US, even a 'for profit' one when i really needed the money.

Kaitlin Bartlett
04-24-2011, 09:26 PM
Thank you all for your information and details! They are really helping shape my story. :)

KQ800
05-02-2011, 10:27 AM
It seems like you have all the factual information you need, so I will only add that

a) blood clinic personnel are AWESOME at hitting the vein on the first try. they just come up to you and ask for your id, and then walk away and suddenly you have an IV in your arm!

b) Some clinics have nifty reclining chairs with a remote control so you can lower or rise the chair without moving.

c) They take away the remote if you run the chair up and down while making car noices.

WriteKnight
05-02-2011, 10:31 PM
I will add, that blood clinic personnel often TRAIN their new personnel at hitting the vein on SOMEONE. That someone happened to be me.

After more than twenty platelet donations, I got to know the personnel at my blood center.

One day, my 'regular' nurse/technician - called over a bright earnest young lady. My regular looked at me - "Do you mind?" - Then she said to the girl, "He's got great veins - see that? You can't miss!" So yeah, she was a little shaky - but managed to get it right on the SECOND try.

Unfortunately, at the END of my platelet session, she discnnected the wrong line in the wrong order. (There were two lines, one in my left arm, one in my right.) Blood spurted out of my right arm all over me. Seriously - I looked like I had been in a fire fight or something. They gave me a bottle of Hydrogen Peroxide to get it out of my shirt and pants before I left.

So yeah - there's a funny story that is also true.

pezie
05-02-2011, 10:39 PM
Also, if she's a donate-y type person, consider having her sign up to be on the bone marrow donor registry.

This! Check out bethematch.org if this is a route you'd like to try. It's a lengthier process, but if your character were able to save the life of a child w/ leukemia, that would be very feel good-ish.

As for plasma, things may have changed since I was in college, but I had no issues donating and you can do it twice a week.

http://www.donatingplasma.org/whydonate/faq.aspx

PinkAmy
05-03-2011, 01:21 PM
It seems like you have all the factual information you need, so I will only add that

a) blood clinic personnel are AWESOME at hitting the vein on the first try. they just come up to you and ask for your id, and then walk away and suddenly you have an IV in your arm! not if you've had cancer- I've been stuck up to 8 times by nurses who generally don't have problems (or so they say). I burned a lot of my veins before I got a port

b) Some clinics have nifty reclining chairs with a remote control so you can lower or rise the chair without moving.

c) They take away the remote if you run the chair up and down while making car noices. haha

I had cancer and I can't donate blood until I'm 10 years cancer free--which will be later this year. When I'm able to donate, they will have trouble finding veins, but you can do things to help. If you drink a lot of liquids the day before and the day of the stick that helps. Sometimes they have these heating pad thingies that warm the area, which makes the veins more viable. Avoid being cold, because that shrinks the veins. If the phlebotomist starts freaking out after a few sticks, ask for someone else to try, generally being pissed or anxious doesn't make for a good stick :D. I could tell you horror stories, LOL. I've had as many as three different people try on the same day.

This one phlebotomist at my oncologist's office hits the veins to see if they will pop. She gets personally insulted if she can't get a good stick, so she keeps hitting harder and harder, like she's beating me. I've developed bruising the day after seeing her, and not at the site of the stick. (but I bruise easily, my chiropractor's fingerprints used to show up on my body the day after too).

crunchyblanket
05-03-2011, 02:15 PM
Ahh, I dabble in phlebotomy as part of my day job (path lab tech) - when we get someone with awkward veins, we normally soak the arm in warm water and give the patient something to drink. Works like a charm, for the most part.

shaldna
05-03-2011, 02:27 PM
also, some people get massive bruises, some don't. and some people can feel really sick afterwards - I actually vomited once. Other's pass out or feel hot and cold at once.

misslissy
05-03-2011, 04:12 PM
Yeah after I give, I always get a massive bruise and my arm is really stiff and sore for the next three or four days.

PinkAmy
05-03-2011, 05:46 PM
Ahh, I dabble in phlebotomy as part of my day job (path lab tech) - when we get someone with awkward veins, we normally soak the arm in warm water and give the patient something to drink. Works like a charm, for the most part.

No one has ever tried that with me. I have probably been stuck by 30 to 50 different people over the past decade. Next time I'm going to soak my own arm before I go in. If you have any other tricks of the trade, PM me. I don't mind bruising at the site, but I'd rather not have bruises from being slapped or finger marks from having my arm held too tightly. An arm is a terrible thing to waste :D.

skylark
05-03-2011, 11:40 PM
In the UK, you have to have "good veins" to be a platelet donor.

Since I don't have good veins (they only manage to find one about 1 time in 2 I go in to donate blood, and never if it's cold) that's as far as I got in investigating it.

I will also be trying the arm-soaking technique :) I can drink until I slosh and it doesn't seem to make much difference.

PinkAmy
05-04-2011, 12:46 AM
I'm not sure I weigh enough to give blood anyway. When I was younger you had to weigh 120, but I think it's down to 110 now. I'm about 100 lbs, but short, only 5'2', so I hope they'll let me give.

misslissy
05-04-2011, 12:54 AM
I'm not sure I weigh enough to give blood anyway. When I was younger you had to weigh 120, but I think it's down to 110 now. I'm about 100 lbs, but short, only 5'2', so I hope they'll let me give.

Last time I tried to donate at 5 foot 3 and 106 at the time they wouldn't let me.

PinkAmy
05-04-2011, 02:33 PM
Last time I tried to donate at 5 foot 3 and 106 at the time they wouldn't let me.
Ugh- so 5'2 98 won't cut it. Thanks.

crunchyblanket
05-04-2011, 03:17 PM
No one has ever tried that with me. I have probably been stuck by 30 to 50 different people over the past decade. Next time I'm going to soak my own arm before I go in. If you have any other tricks of the trade, PM me. I don't mind bruising at the site, but I'd rather not have bruises from being slapped or finger marks from having my arm held too tightly. An arm is a terrible thing to waste :D.

I feel your pain, I bruise terribly! I'll ask our paediatric phlebotomist for tips - we tend to use the same techniques with difficult veins as we do with the young patients

PinkAmy
05-04-2011, 08:18 PM
I feel your pain, I bruise terribly! I'll ask our paediatric phlebotomist for tips - we tend to use the same techniques with difficult veins as we do with the young patients
Fortunately I don't cry or have temper tantrums :D. I just bite my finger and hold my breath.