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Honored Contributor
Posts: 11,962
Registered: ‎09-01-2010

Re: When did you surprise yourself by doing something amazing?

[ Edited ]

Platelets are a specialized donation, done in a designated donor center with apheresis machines.   After going thru the history part of the process, with testing of temperature, blood pressure, iron level, and answering the computer questions, you move to a recliner type chair for the actual apheresis process.  Both arms are used for platelet donation, and you will be in the chair for about 80 minutes.  Your blood will flow from one arm into the apheresis machine, where it will filter and separate the platelets into bags, mix your blood with fluids that flow back into your body thru the other arm.  You must lie very still during this process, due to the large gauge needles in veins in both arms.  Donor centers have televisions available, so you can choose a channel to watch, or select a DVD (this is the only time I watch QVC).   A monitor is beside you that lets you see where you are in the process; it keeps track of your minutes, and shows a visual gauge that rises as you progress.  If you move your arms and the needle moves inside the vein, the blood flow lessens, and the machine will detect that, and start clicking, which sends a nurse over quickly to adjust the needle to restore full flow.  If something happens that you have to have the needles removed before you actually complete the donation process, you cannot be stuck again, you are just done for the day.   I have never seen that happen to anyone, but the nurses have had it happen.  The nurses in the donor center enjoy getting to know their platelet donors, and I feel like I have known them forever.  Several are QVC shoppers, so we discuss different products while I am processing.  At the end of your donation process, the nurse will remove the bags of platelets from the machine and mix them by a special back and forth action with their hands.  Platelets are very creamy looking; about the color of vanilla pudding.  It was thru my regular blood donations that the Red Cross contacted me directly about becoming a platelet donor.  There are certain factors the Red Cross looks for in the blood, one of which is a high iron level.  Your level has to be 12.5 to donate, and mine is usually 14.5 (I do take an iron supplement 2x a week to ensure a healthy level for this donation).    Platelets are only good for 5 days, and are disposed of if not used in that time frame.  Platelets can be donated more often than whole blood; I think my donor center suggests about every 10 days.  However, my doctor suggested I stick to donating once a month, but I have donated after 3 weeks several times due to an emergency need.  I receive emails from the Red Cross notifying me where my platelets were sent, and again mine have been sent to various hospitals in WV, VA, and PA.   I would hate to think any of my family was critically ill and needed a platelet donation, but this specialized product was not available, due to the fact no one was donating.  If you are a current blood donor, and would be interested in seeing if you are a candidate for platelet donation, please call the American Red Cross, or ask about this the next time you donate whole blood.   I wish I had started donating earlier in my life, but intend to donate as long as I possibly can.   

Regular Contributor
Posts: 157
Registered: ‎08-26-2015

Re: When did you surprise yourself by doing something amazing?


@Winkk wrote:

@sfnative wrote:

@RedTop wrote:

Every month I drive 115 miles round trip, at my expense, to the closest donor center in this region, to donate platelets to the American Red Cross.  I have donated 18x, which is a total of 36 units of processed platelets, that have been sent to various hospitals in WV, VA, and PA.  What I'm doing is not amazing, but I have surprised myself with my firm commitment to do this for as long as I am healthy enough to do so.    My next donation is Wednesday, and I always say a prayer for the patients who receive my platelets.  Newborn babies, patients with cancer, as well as trauma and transplant patients need platelet transfusions.   Sometimes patients have to wait days or even weeks for a platelet transfusion, due to the Red Cross not having this blood product readily available.  I retired early due to my husbands poor health, and several days every month are devoted to his medical appts.  However, I find one open day a month on our calendar to make this trip, in an effort to do what I can to help other

 

OP here,.

 

If any of you are presently in good health and can carve out an hour of your time, please think of donating blood some time during October, in anticipation of the coming season of illness and accidents that come along with bad weather.  Your gift of blood is truly a life saving gift - priceless.

 


@sfnative - Since I don't know that much about platelet donation, is that the same as giving blood?  Do they take the platelets out of the blood or is it a different type of donation?  Just curious because I never heard of anyone doing just a platelet donation.


@Winkk

 

Hi winkk,

 

Regarding platelet donation, I'm going to give you the condened version.

 

When you give blood, a needle is placed in a vein in the arm where it bends at the elbow and a pint (2 cups) of blood is removed.

 

When donating platelets, a needle is placed in the vein, but is not collected in a bag, as it would be if you were donating blood.  In this instance, your blood is processed to a device which removes the platelets and then returns the remaining blood components back to you.  This means that in donating platelets the only thing you don't have when you walk out the door are your platelets.

 

Hope this helps.

 

(Took me time to get back to you.  We lost power tonight.)

Trusted Contributor
Posts: 1,980
Registered: ‎03-15-2010

Re: When did you surprise yourself by doing something amazing?


@sfnative wrote:

 


@sfnative - Since I don't know that much about platelet donation, is that the same as giving blood?  Do they take the platelets out of the blood or is it a different type of donation?  Just curious because I never heard of anyone doing just a platelet donation.


@Winkk

 

Hi winkk,

 

Regarding platelet donation, I'm going to give you the condened version.

 

When you give blood, a needle is placed in a vein in the arm where it bends at the elbow and a pint (2 cups) of blood is removed.

 

When donating platelets, a needle is placed in the vein, but is not collected in a bag, as it would be if you were donating blood.  In this instance, your blood is processed to a device which removes the platelets and then returns the remaining blood components back to you.  This means that in donating platelets the only thing you don't have when you walk out the door are your platelets.

 

Hope this helps.

 

(Took me time to get back to you.  We lost power tonight.)

 

@sfnative - Thanks,  That's interesting, I never knew that.  I hope your power wasn't off long.


 

Honored Contributor
Posts: 8,628
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: When did you surprise yourself by doing something amazing?

When I moved to California I was 42 years old.  Moving to a brand new place, with two unhappy teenagers, was the hardest thing I've ever done. I decided that the best way to help them adjust, was to be a good example for them.  I had the opportunity to go back to school and start a new career, so I got a masters degree in education. I teach 7th and 8th graders, who are, in my opinion, among the most vulnerable creatures on Earth. Most of the teachers I work with enjoy teaching those model students who do everything "right".  I gravitate towards the troubled kids, usually boys, because I had two of my own.  I bump into them around town years later and they tell me that I was their favorite teacher because I respected them.  My husband's job brings him into contact with many of these kids and parents of these kids. When they realize the connection, they always tell him how I made a difference in their lives.   Just last week I had two visit. One is in the ROTC at his HS and doing very well.  When he was in my 8th grade class I pushed for academic testing because I could tell he was intelligent, but could barely read. His grades are good now and he's looking to a career in the military.  Coincidently, another one stopped by the next day, dressed in his Marine uniform. To make a difference in the life of one child is a blessing. Having the opportunity to make a difference in so many lives is the most rewarding thing I could ever imagine.  The kicker is that these kids usually teach me more than I teach them.

~ house cat ~
Regular Contributor
Posts: 157
Registered: ‎08-26-2015

Re: When did you surprise yourself by doing something amazing?


@house_cat wrote:

When I moved to California I was 42 years old.  Moving to a brand new place, with two unhappy teenagers, was the hardest thing I've ever done. I decided that the best way to help them adjust, was to be a good example for them.  I had the opportunity to go back to school and start a new career, so I got a masters degree in education. I teach 7th and 8th graders, who are, in my opinion, among the most vulnerable creatures on Earth. Most of the teachers I work with enjoy teaching those model students who do everything "right".  I gravitate towards the troubled kids, usually boys, because I had two of my own.  I bump into them around town years later and they tell me that I was their favorite teacher because I respected them.  My husband's job brings him into contact with many of these kids and parents of these kids. When they realize the connection, they always tell him how I made a difference in their lives.   Just last week I had two visit. One is in the ROTC at his HS and doing very well.  When he was in my 8th grade class I pushed for academic testing because I could tell he was intelligent, but could barely read. His grades are good now and he's looking to a career in the military.  Coincidently, another one stopped by the next day, dressed in his Marine uniform. To make a difference in the life of one child is a blessing. Having the opportunity to make a difference in so many lives is the most rewarding thing I could ever imagine.  The kicker is that these kids usually teach me more than I teach them.


@house_cat

 

Hi house_cat,

 

And all those doubting Thomasas want to know why becoming an educator is so very important to some!  You've just provided one of many answers.  Thank you for doing what you do/did.  A teacher like you can turn a life around - literally.  For those who haven't been challenged, it may be difficult to understand.  Believe me what an incredible difference you and thousands of other teachers have made to the lives of countless students.

 

I'm going to share this with you, because I know you'll fully understand the impact it made.  After attaining my Bacherlor's, I proceeded to graduate school in Education for a year and a half.  Having a Life Long Standard Secondary Teaching Credential from the State of California, I thought I'd begin my professional life as a teacher.  That was not to be, due to hiring circumstances back then (can't talk about it here); however, I did have two long term sub jobs.  During one of those, I approached the Girl's P.E. Dept. Head and asked if I could teach a class of Fencing.  Why Fencing?  That was my sport in college and I felt this would be an incredible challenge given that 80% of the high school population was Asian.  Fencing is an aggressive sport and females in that culture are not aggressive - well, I think you see the challenge.  The first day was intro to the equipment and pairing up and learning how to advance and retreat.  I had 42 minutes with these teens 3 days week.  On day 3 when the girls were actively involved in their first attempt at fencing with their partner, I stood back and looked around the gym.  Oh my goodnss, but two girls look as though they had been born with foils in their hands!  I asked them to see me after they had changed out of ther gym suits.  In speaking with them, I asked if they enjoyed fencing and they both said "Yes."  Further, I asked if they would be interested in being trained by Mr. Gee, the coach of the Fencing Team, the ultimate goal of which would be to earn a place on the team.  They were both excited for me to proceed.  After my uphill battle with Mr. Gee, who thought I was after his job, he evaluated the girls.  The oldest was a senior and so he would not have her.  Darn!  However, the younger girl was a sophomore and he saw promise in her.

 

I closed out that semester substitute teaching Biology, then followed a partial semester teaching Choir.  Now fast forward nearly 3 years.  My home phone rang and it was Kristine, the sophomore.  She invited me and my husband to please attend the annual Girls Athletic Association dinner in Chinatown right before graduation in June.  Of coure I said yes, though had no idea why after 3 years I was asked to attend.

 

We arrived at the venue, walked into the banquet room and Kristine came running up to me and gave me a huge hug.  Then she stepped back, her right hand cradled a large gold medal on a ribbon and she lifted it up so I could see it.  "Mrs. ______.  Because of what you saw in me that day in the gym, I earned a place on the Fencing Team and eventually, through many competitions, became the California Women's Champion.  And CAL [University of California-Berkely] has offered me a full academic scholarship."

 

By this time, I was in tears and she was, too.  She went on to become an Internist.  Awesome, awesome, awesome!

 

***

I was very angry for a very long time that circumstances, which cannot be mentioned here, prevented me from pursuing a career in teaching.  Then I came to realize that the 5-1/2 years spent in college toward that end were meant for Kristine - for the impact of my decision to ask to teach Fencing and discovering Kristine and the change that decision made.

 

The post script to this is that Kristine's parents were quite poor and could never have afforded tuition at CAL.  Kristine would have most likely ended up at CCSF, San Francisco's junior college, to take care of her GE requirements, while working a job and saving, so that she could attend San Francisco State University.

 

I feel blessed to have had Kristine enter my life and make such an impact.

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 6,655
Registered: ‎06-29-2010

Re: When did you surprise yourself by doing something amazing?

I look back on my years and think "Who was the gal who did this, I don't know her anymore"  I am still doing things that I never thought I would do and if you want to use that over used word 'amazing' then alright.  Not amazing to me, just remarkable in the best of ways. 

Never Forget the Native American Indian Holocaust
Honored Contributor
Posts: 8,628
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: When did you surprise yourself by doing something amazing?

@sfnative

 

I love that story. I'm so glad you shared it.  I'm sorry if it's perceived as boasting when we teachers tell of the difference we've made, but just one life touched for the better can be the reason we were put on this earth. I truly believe that.  

~ house cat ~
Respected Contributor
Posts: 3,908
Registered: ‎03-19-2010

Re: When did you surprise yourself by doing something amazing?

[ Edited ]

I have never done anything amazing in comparison to what many of you have listed.

 

I have done things that for me personally are surprising.  The most notable would be volunteering to be a kidney donor for my brother's best friend. Unfortunately after the battery of testing, they told me that they would let me donate to him, but only if he went into total failure.  He did succeed in getting a perfect match transplant a few months later.

Respected Contributor
Posts: 2,112
Registered: ‎12-08-2014

Re: When did you surprise yourself by doing something amazing?

Amazing means different things to different people.  I've done some good and wonderful things in my life but truthfully, I wouldn't call any of them amazing.  Amazing to me is like "WOW"  "I can't believe she did that!!!!!!"  "That just blows my mind!!!!"   That amazing thing....must be somewhere in my future...lol