Giving blood is easy. Giving platelet is hard(er). I've been giving platelets about every two weeks for the last couple of months.
First sign in on the computer and the clipboard. Wait. Go into the booth. Photo ID. Name, date of birth, address, gender, are you active military, life story (well, not really). Then there's the test that have to occur every time. Pulse, blood pressure, body temperature, blood iron levels are all measured. Then the questions administered privately by a computer monitor. "Are you feeling well, today?" yes, "have you ever tested positive for HIV?" no, "are you currently pregnant?" no, a pop up tells me to select the "I am male option" which I do all of the while wondering why they ask if they already know the answer they want. Sixty questions later I am acceptable. Oh sorry, here's a few more not yet in the computer script. No ZIKA, no corneal or xeno-transplants. Check some boxes then sign and date. Vials with my barcode on it. New rule I have to be the one to carry the bag with my stuff in it to the front.
Then I sit in a chair for two and a half hours with a needle pumping vital fluids in and out of my arm while I squeeze some sort of air bladder which I think stimulates circulation. If I don't squeeze hard enough or often enough the machine chimes at me and somehow makes the needle in my arm vibrate which is freaky. All of the unpleasantness aside the staff is nice and it's not like they don't offer an okay selection of drinks and snacks. I really need the snacks because a bizarre side effect of having the platelets drained from your body is this awful chemical taste that accompanies the return. WiFi grants me E2. Can't really type with one hand but whatever. Can't fall asleep because I've got to keep squeezing. All my votes are used. Youtube? Wow the connection is slow here. Twenty more minutes, ten more minutes, five more minutes.
Platelets have a shelf life of days rather than weeks or months like blood so they have to be replenished often. They also take the longest to extract since they have to be separated from the blood cells. If I had one serious complaint about the whole process it would be that I can't do it more often. This is one of the few activities that despite all of the irritation involved I feel unambiguously good about.
9 FAST 9 FERROUS