The picture at the right is a platelet pharesis machine sitting next to my chair at the West Chester Collection center of the American Red Cross — right behind Senora’s Mexican Restaurant and under Spirit of Yoga. Giving platelets is something I’ve been looking forward to doing once my commute to New York is over — it takes about 90 minutes to give platelets. I started doing this in New York after September 11th (remember that everyone thought the way to respond was to give blood? Me too), and it makes me feel like a rock star because I have O negative blood, which means my platelets are regularly used to avert international crises, move the planets back into their proper alignment, and bring sweet dreams of harmony and love to all the little children everywhere. At least, that’s what they tell me when they call to request an appointment.
Anyhow, I flunked out yesterday morning. The sheaf of tubes at right SHOULD be all Krazy-Straw full of my blood, since the machine takes the blood out of your left arm, runs it through a centrifuge (or something), extracts the platelets, then puts it back in your right arm. During the ninety-minute process, something like SEVENTY PERCENT(!!!) of your blood makes the round-trip through the machine, which I think is just awesomely gross.
But the phlebotomist had a Very Serious Expression when she was tapping my left arm, and we had to try a couple of times, and it didn’t work out. Apparently, I have “skinny veins”, and after two tries without a good flow from my left arm, they detached me, turned off “Spider-Man 3” on the DVD player hanging in front of my face (see, aparesis is also a chance to watch terrible nerd movies your family will never want to go see or rent!), gave me a T-shirt, and sorrowfully sent me on my way.
I felt sad and disappointed about it. I also have some pretty gruesome-looking bruises on the inside of my left elbow, but it wasn’t really that unpleasant of a procedure. And everyone at the blood center was REALLY nice and professional. I guess I’ll wait two weeks, then try again for my next chance to Save the World (and watch a terrible movie!)