I made a special trip to Boston to donate as I took this week off work (joy!) Everything started out quite normally. One of my favorite apheresis techs was in (he puts the needle in the best, ie least painfully, you literally cannot feel it going in your vein!) and he screened me and I passed all the tests no problem. I got settled in a bed and got to choose a movie - the Bourne Ultimatum, SCORE! The one thing out of the ordinary was that the apheresis machine was on my right, and usually I go with my left arm, cause the vein is so damn good, LOL. I didn't think much of the machine being on the right and figured I'd switch it up, not remembering the issues that were had on the right arm before.
To understand the issue, you must understand how the apheresis machine works. I know the basics, but you can find the details here. First your blood is taken from your arm and it goes through tubes into a machine that looks sort of like a dialysis machine. There the blood is apparently centrifuged and separated into parts according to weight. The platelets are separated out into one bag, while the red blood cells are mixed with an anticoagulant and cycled back into your vein. The machine used where I work is one that draws and returns in cycles, so one brief cycle is the draw and then the next is a return. Usually I can't feel the difference between draws and returns, but Thursday the returns were painful, which is weird for me. I felt a slight burning at the needle site, but then the tech adjusted the machine and a blood pressure cuff around my arm and everything seemed ok again. I was about 90% done with my donation when the machine stopped drawing and the needle site went from sore to agonizing. It hurt SO BAD. I could see my bicep was swelling. An alarm went off in the machine because it couldn't draw and a couple techs came over to figure out the problem. They were puzzled at first; the needle site looked good, there wasn't grotesque swelling of the arm or bruising. What was it? Because there was no clear answer and I was in obvious pain, they decided to terminate the donation, as there were enough usable platelets collected. Soon the pain was unbearable and I needed the needle out and to sit up. Ha, couldn't sit up with the needle in and when I tried too, I was told to "LIE DOWN!!!" I started to go under.
I have a high pain tolerance and have rarely felt faint in my entire life, but for some reason, this pain triggered a faint response. I felt like I might vomit, then I couldn't breathe, then I started to tingle. I told the techs "ummm I am really trying not to panic, but I'm going under" That did it, that brought immediate attention, lol. Luckily I neither vomited nor fainted and was ok after about 15 minutes once the techs talked me through it. They said that my blood had clotted in the machine and that the machine was sending sludge-like blood back into my body til the clot was so solid it couldn't return it anymore. They said I might have a little bruise, but I looked ok. Well.
I think that opens up the stage for the video (excuse the weird lighting and busted UP hair)
This is what actually happened: