Friday, November 22, 2013

Plasma donation

Today I donated plasma at the local blood bank. It's a different process to donating whole blood and if we want to get all technical and fancy, the term for it is apheresis. 

I was given a pamphlet explaining apheresis so I thought I might type if up for you guys:
Apheresis is the process of collecting blood components, like platelets and plasma, using a cell-separating machine. Blood is drawn from the donor and is mixed with an anticoagulant solution to prevent clotting of withdrawn blood. The machine (called a centrifuge) separates the desired components by centrifugation (spinning) and the remainder of the blood is infused back to the donor. This draw and return cycle is repeated several times until the desired collection volume is reached. 

It wasn't written in the pamphlet, but after each cycle, they pump in some saline to replace the lost volume. 

Luckily for me the process went smoothly and I was able to donate a pretty decent amount of plasma which was required from a person of my weight and height. The nurses there were so lovely, and I enjoyed having a chat to the volunteer and other donors in the dining area after the donation. I strongly urge everyone to roll up their sleeve and donate. It's truly a life saving donation and the world will always be needing blood and blood component donations. The plasma donation takes a bit longer than whole blood, but you'll be out of there in about an hour and 15 minutes. 

To make an appointment, hop onto the the Australian Red Cross Blood Service website, or call 13 95 96 :)

I will point out that the cannula (needle) they insert seems quite wide, but it has a bevelled tip (slanted) so it doesn't hurt that much at all. I think have this fear that they will get a huge thick needle jabbed into them, but really it's all designed to be as painless as possible. 

I took some time to reflect after my donation and I thought back to my primary school days where I would cry at the sight of a needle. I don't know at what point between then and now, but I managed to dispel my fear of needles. Either that or I just grew a pair :P I then got thinking about a lot of the other things I was scared of when I was younger and I realised that I'm no longer frightened of them anymore. I've learnt over the years to really try and own fear. Of course it's still a work in progress, but I've become somewhat obsessed with trying to be the best version of myself and being courageous and facing all my fears is one of those ways I can achieve this. For me, it's all about self talk and and learning how to not fill my mind with scary and negative images. Everyone deals with their fears a little differently, but sometimes everyone needs a little support. Even if you're not ready to face your own fears, I hope everyone out there is prepared to hold someone else's hand as they face theirs. 

I got a cool glittery sticker!

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