It's payback time!

Bianca has platelets transfused every 3-5 days when she is having chemo, and whole blood every week or so, so we kinda owe the blood bank a moral debt. She has also once had immunoglobulin when she was really low on her antibodies. So yesterday evening I went to the blood doning centre near the hospital to pay some back.

I booked in for a plasma donation - you can donate plasma every two weeks instead of having to wait 4 months like with normal blood donations, and plasma can be used for more things than the whole blood can. You have to go to a big blood centre though because they have to use a special machine to extract it.

The machine uses a centrifuge to extract the plasma from the blood, then it returns the blood back into you again. Takes about 45 minutes for plasma - they use the same machine and process for platelets but it takes about 2 hours. Here's a pic of the machine with my blood running through it - that big round thing in the middle is the centrifuge.

And here is me sitting in a chair reading Harry Potter 7 while the process goes on. Of course the staff bring around drinks and biscuits and stuff while its going on.

This is the result - one bag of plasma weighing 670g. This will be sent off in a batch with other bags of plasma to a lab in Australia for processing into the various products that plasma is made into. All products from blood coming from New Zealanders come back to New Zealand and are used here.

I'd like to encourage everybody to take some time and go do blood doning - normal blood doning will be fine too, doesn't have to be platelets or plasma. Check out NZ Blood for more info (or SA Blood if you are in SA)! Takes an hour of your time (some of which is paperwork!) and helps save lives. Don't fear the needle. And who knows - maybe if you are in New Zealand some of your blood will make it into Bianca during the course of her treatment.