I donated platelets at the local blood bank (the San Diego Blood Bank) for the first time on November 6. If you are curious about the process, read on —
Like any other time I have donated blood, I was given a series of questions to answer regarding my health and activities. My iron levels were checked, as well as my blood pressure.
The difference between platelet donations and whole blood donations is simple. When a person donates whole blood, a needle is stuck in your arm and then a pint of blood is withdrawn. When a person donates platelets, a needle is stuck in your arm and your blood is withdrawn, filtered through a machine, and then returned to your body. It is your own blood that is returned to your body so there is no risk of contamination. The best part is that you don’t have to be “stuck” twice. The blood is returned to your body using the same needle.
The process took much longer than a regular whole blood donation. Usually a whole blood donation takes about 15 minutes. My platelet donation took about 90 minutes. I was made comfortable and watched Netflix (50 First Dates, one of my favorite movies). I was a bit cold and was given 2 blankets for my comfort. Afterwards I felt fine and didn’t feel the least bit dizzy.
Platelets replenish much faster than whole blood. I am eligible to donate platelets again this week and have an appointment scheduled for Friday morning.