Donating Plasma

With my slightly misshapen heart it’s not a good idea for me to reduce my red blood cell count by donating blood.

Fortunately, I can still donate a different way.

There are three different parts of your blood that are separated out after you donate, red blood cells that carry oxygen, platelets that clot injuries, and plasma which is the actual liquid part of your blood.

Good news for me, most anyone can donate each of these blood components individually!

Red blood cell donations are out for me. That’s why I’m staying away from whole blood donations in the first place.

I have enough platelets for myself but when the clinic tested my levels they said I don’t have enough to donate to other people.

That leaves plasma.

When I went to the clinic for a plasma donation all the preliminaries were the same, heart rate, blood pressure, hemoglobin levels, and check the arms for signs of intravenous drug use. One additional test was checking my body weight to see how much plasma they wanted to draw out.

I laid down at the donation cradles like I would for a whole blood donation, but instead of getting hooked up to a little bag I got hooked up to a dishwasher sized machine.

It also makes a sound like, "WHHHRRRRRRR."
It also makes a sound like, “WHHHRRRRRRR.”

The machine draws blood out of a donor, separates out whatever blood component they are donating, and then puts the rest of their blood back in.

The separation is done using a centrifuge contained in the body of the machine. The centrifuge spins really fast once the donor’s blood is inside of it. The denser blood components, red blood cells and platelets, go to the outside of the centrifuge while the plasma stays on the inside. The machine puts the plasma into collection bags and returns the leftover parts to the donor.

Each “spin” takes one minute and collects about 20ml of plasma. I was set to donate 800ml so the actual donation took about 40 minutes compared to about 8 minutes for a whole blood donation.

I read my book for a little bit while donating but then the little lap DVD players they had enticed me.

Nevermind that it was the same book that motivated me to start this blog.
Nevermind that it was the same book that motivated me to start this blog.

They had a huge selection of DVDs (~400). I requested Iron Man 2 and watched the first couple minutes of it as my donation finished.

The wind-down process of a plasma donation was exactly the same as a whole blood donation. Held my arm over my head for a minute, got bandaged up, ate some snacks, drank some water, and left. I also made an appointment for donating again in a month. Gotta finish that Iron Man movie even if it takes 4 more donations!

The aftereffects of the donation were my biggest concern. I didn’t want to get heart palpitations for weeks afterwards because of reduced red blood cell counts.

Fortunately, donating just the plasma of my blood worked out fine. I had some flutteries and felt light-headed for 24 hours afterwards, but that was all. No persistent effects, so no worries! I plan to continue donating plasma.

And of course I am obligated to encourage you to donate as well. It’s free! It’s easy! It comes with hundreds of free movies and cookies! What more could you ask for?

-GoCorral

Finalized the House

Just how it is.
Just how it is.

Woohoo! We got the keys to the house finally!

I got them in the afternoon and we went to check out the house which is now officially ours later that day.

We met one of our next door neighbors during that visit and her son and his children.

Her son’s house had apparently burned down so they were staying there until they got a rental lined up.

Pretty weird stuff, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.

We learned a little bit more about the neighborhood too.

The other next door neighbor house is apparently a boarding house for UC Davis students.

We journeyed over to Ikea the next day to buy some furniture things.

We got a new bed frame for our new bedroom. The old frame will be going in the guest room.

We got some stuff for our second bathroom and we also got some curtains.

There was an unfortunate problem with all the curtains at Ikea. Every single one of them was at least eight feet long. This is an industry standard I guess.

We’ll have to cut and hem the curtains, but given how wide they are, we’ll need a sewing machine for that.

My wife is dreading asking her mom for the sewing machine because when she was a teenager she adamantly refused a sewing machine as a gift, stating that she “would never need it.”

Well… Now we do!

Maybe we can borrow one from my family instead. Or just buy one. Hemming those curtains by hand would be a nightmare.

And what would such a fun weekend be like without something going wrong! The hottest day of winter happened and we weren’t dressed appropriately (stupid Californians wearing sweaters in 65 degree weather!). We were unable to move as much stuff as we wanted to because of this.

Next things on the agenda, assemble what furniture we did get from Ikea and start moving as much as can from our apartment to the new house before spring break when we get my wife’s parents to come up and help with the big items.

-GoCorral

Making Bread

Mmmm... Looks so tasty... And I didn't get to have any!
Mmmm… Looks so tasty… And I didn’t get to have any!

Yesterday I went to my wife’s class in the morning and baked bread with her students.

This is apparently a big thing at her school. Last year a parent came in and helped he kids bake bread.

Unfortunately, no parents volunteered to help in my wife’s class this year so I’m doing it!

The actual process for making bread is pretty simple. Throw all the ingredients into the breadmaker, program it according to the recipe, and let it go.

The more exciting part is that the kids get to work their teacher’s husband who is a scientist! My wife told me the kids were excited about that part.

Before school started I came to her classroom and anybody who had arrived early was welcome to help me make bread.

I met a few of the kids. I’d imagined more energy, but they were mostly quite subdued. I was surprised at first, but my wife reminded me that the kids haven’t met me before even though she’s told me lots about them. They were all just shy.

One of the kids volunteered to read the recipe while the rest of the little chefs added one ingredient each.

After we got everything in the breadmaker I let them pick how crunchy they wanted the breadmaker to make the bread. They chose medium.

We quickly cleaned the measuring cups and spoons we’d used before putting everything away as school started.

The picture above is from after my wife cut the bread around lunchtime when it was done. Delicious!

It was really cool to be working with kids again. I haven’t done it since the summer after my Sophmore year when I taught gymnastics at the YMCA with my mother-in-law.

Things I’d change next time:
We forgot hotpads for taking the bread out. There are some towels in the classroom, but hotpads are always better.
There’s no dish soap in the classroom. Hand soap works, but it was a little weird.
I got the butter out of the classroom fridge right as we needed it, but that meant it was quite hard and difficult for the kids to cut into smaller pieces. Next time I’ll bring the butter out earlier.

I’ll do those things for now and hopefully the kids won’t be so shy next time as well. I’m looking forward to the improvement of the whole process next week!

-Mister Ed