Well, if it's an early Saturday blog, that can only mean one thing...your loyal TriSec is off to donate platelets!
If you're already a blood donor, why not take the next step and head for the pherisis room? In many ways, it's easier than blood donation (at least for me, I used to get lightheaded and have some issues after blood..platelets I just get up and go home.), plus you get to relax on a nice recliner and watch a movie. Tell me more!
I can hear you saying...
Giving Platelets or Plasma
While all blood donations are vital, pheresis is a specific kind of donation using updated medical technology to collect platelets or plasma from a donor. The remaining blood components, including the red cells, are returned to the donor.
A Single Donor Rather Than Several
A platelet transfusion for one patient requires platelets separated from six to eight regular whole blood donations. In pheresis, a single donor can give the quantity of platelets needed for a transfusion. For a patient needing many units of platelets, this means exposure to fewer donors. Additionally, pheresis donations receive a more specific blood typing called HLA typing, so donors and patients can be matched more closely, with a goal of providing better results for the recipient.
Patients' Special Transfusion Needs
Patients benefitting the most from pheresis transfusions are those with blood diseases and those being treated for cancer. In the case of cancer patients, platelets are destroyed not only by the disease, but often by the treatment. Patients being prepared for a bone marrow transplant also need many transfusions of platelets, both before and after the transplant.
Give Every Two Weeks
Pheresis donors can give platelets every two weeks, plasma every 28 days, as opposed to eight weeks for a whole blood donation. Pheresis donation is by appointment only at donor centers throughout the New England Region. The entire process takes about two hours, including registration, medical history and post-donation refreshments, but many of our pheresis donors come in on a regular basis. Perhaps it's the TLC provided by the nursing staff who come to know them so well. Perhaps it's the movies shown in the donor room or the comraderie between donors as they see each other every couple of weeks. Most likely, it's the feeling of really making a difference in someone's life. With some careful coordination, it is possible to "mix and match" whole blood, platelet and double red cell donations. Please contact your local donor center for more information.
Inquire About Joining the Pheresis Program
We invite you to become a part of the pheresis program. Type A donors are especially valuable since they are the "Universal Donor" for platelets. AB donors are universal donors for plasma. If you are a regular blood donor, call your local blood center and ask to speak with someone in the Pheresis Department. They'll welcome your questions, and will make an appointment for you to join this dynamic team of donors.
I'm looking forward to this one more than usual this morning...my donor center is getting new machines that are capable of pulling a "triple" (three units from a single donation), and since I've never given less than a 'double', I'm sure I can keep the nurses happy. As one of them said earlier this year...I'm a platelet factory, must be my calling in life.
Changing gears, I've been pondering the passing of an old friend over the past few nights. It's shortwave radio.
With baseball in full swing, it's the time of year that I dust off my trusty YB300PE
and listen to most of the games. (see the 'miracle of the radio' elsewhere in these pages.) I also happened across my old external antenna this past week, and set everything up so I could listen in.
Over the past few nights, I've scanned up and down and found some Chinese broadcasts, a good deal of French, and of course the usual Russian and Spanish that has always dominated the airwaves. But after nights of scanning, I've slowly realized that English has almost completely disappeared. I did listen to one of my standbys, the English language broadcast of Radio Habana Cuba, and I found the CBC feed from the array up in Nova Scotia...but that was it.
Oh, it's not that there isn't broadcasting, far from it. But what I found was almost entirely right-wing religious screeds. Station after station about fire and brimstone and eternal damnation unless we support George Bush. (seriously.) This is what America is broadcasting to the world these days.
There's nothing left...the BBC famously stopped broadcasting to the US a few years ago. (I checked, the old frequency is dead.) Checking through the internets, my old standbys at Deutsche Welle, NHK (Japan), and the Voice of Russia still list frequencies and times...but I couldn't pick up a single one. I suppose I'm my own worst enemy in that regard...It's easier and quicker to get stuff online than to actually try to listen. In fact, one of the shows I listened to on the CBC I now pick up as a podcast. With apologies to The Buggles, the internets killed the shortwave radio stars.
Lastly this morning..you may have heard that our beloved Senator Kennedy is recovering from urgent surgery on a blocked artery.
It's the legacy from a 1964 plane crash that killed two persons, and the very young senator at the time barely survived.
Senator Edward M. Kennedy is "expected to make a full recovery" following surgery early yesterday to clean out a partially blocked neck artery that put him at risk of a stroke, according to his surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital.
"The surgery was routine, uneventful, and successful," Dr. Richard Cambria, MGH's chief of vascular and endovascular surgery, said during a telephone news conference yesterday.
Kennedy, 75, is expected to be discharged over the weekend and return to work in about a week without any limitations. Doctors said they did not anticipate complications, but after discharge would recommend the senator take aspirin to prevent blood clots that might result from the operation, in addition to medicine he was already taking to control high blood pressure and cholesterol. There is a slight chance that the blockage could recur in the next few years.
Cambria said the one-hour operation was performed to prevent a stroke, which could have been triggered if the blockage in Kennedy's left carotid artery choked off blood flow and prevented oxygen from getting to the brain, or if a piece of the blockage broke off and lodged in the brain. Kennedy had no symptoms from the blockage, as is typical in many patients. In fact, he went sailing on Thursday before checking into MGH for the surgery that evening, according to his doctors.
The blockage was discovered Tuesday in a routine MRI conducted periodically to check on the senator's spine, which was injured in a 1964 plane crash.
Patients with blockages in one neck artery may have similar buildups of fat and cholesterol in other blood vessels as well, but Kennedy's doctors said there was no need for any treatment on his right carotid artery, and that he had passed a cardiac stress test prior to the surgery. Neither Cambria nor two other MGH doctors who treated Kennedy would discuss whether tests had turned up other evidence of blockages or problems.
"His overall health is excellent," said his personal physician, Dr. Laurence Ronan, adding that Kennedy would probably not have to change his lifestyle to prevent more health problems.
"His diet is very, very good," Ronan said, and the senator swims daily for exercise.
But seeing that my senator is as reviled around the country as he is revered here, I'm sure the right wing machine is rolling out that famous "compassionate conservatisim" in this instance. Get well soon, Senator!