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Thread: Donating Blood

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    Senior Member Chaco's Avatar
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    Donating Blood

    One of the problems with being car-free is doing things like donating blood, where you're not supposed to "exercise" after the donation. I just came back from a donation, and they have a new type of donation, where you can do a "double donation". This gets twice as many red blood cells by processing your blood through a machine, but then they return your plasma. As a result, you will probably feel better than you would for a regular donation, i.e., you probably would be able to bike home just fine, as long as you don't have any really steep hills.

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    Senior Member acroy's Avatar
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    I've donated blood and ridden afterwards - lived to tell about it thus far
    I do get a nasty bruise. but that could be the skill (or lack of skill) of the needle-poker.
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    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    I've done it, but I rode home gently.

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    &! Okiegonian's Avatar
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    I haven't heard about the "double donation." I'll ask the local blood bank next time I'm in.

    The last time I gave blood, the volunteers were a little apprehensive about me riding home. I took that as an excuse to have some extra juice and cookies to reassure them that I would be fine.

    Also, the nurse was impressed by my blood pressure (104/59); I credit my bicycle commute.

    The info sheet I get after donating says NOTHING about not operating a motor vehicle if you don't feel well after giving blood. I know folks who get pretty lightheaded & uneasy after donating, and I would rather see them wobble down the bike path than crash into something/someone with a car...

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    The other thing to be careful about, aside from potential weakness/fainting/etc. due to the blood loss, is the potential for excessive bleeding and bruising around the needle site if you exert yourself too much. (I usually get a smallish bruise afterwards)

    Every time I've donated, there's always been a recovery area where they want you to hang out for 10-20 minutes and eat some snacks and fluids. If I were riding afterwards, I'd definitely stay there for the full time until I was sure I was good to go.

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    The same issue comes up for dental appointments, minor surgery, colonoscopy, etc. If I'm worried about it, I'll have a friend pick me up or take a cab.


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    put our Heads Together cerewa's Avatar
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    I would think it depends on your fitness level. If you typically ride 20 miles a day, riding 2 miles home after donating blood is probably easier for you than if you were a couch potato who donates and then is driven home by a friend.

    I had vague thoughts of riding my bike 6 miles home after getting my wisdom teeth out, but I didn't know how I'd feel after the procedure. I planned ahead to have a very hospitable friend drive me to his house just 2 miles from the dentist. I felt fine, and had a good time just hanging out there for a day or two.
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    Kamek ralph12's Avatar
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    I have ridden after plasma donation. It's alright, but I notice a very definite fatigue afterwards and I can't go nearly as fast.

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chaco View Post
    One of the problems with being car-free is doing things like donating blood, where you're not supposed to "exercise" after the donation. I just came back from a donation, and they have a new type of donation, where you can do a "double donation". This gets twice as many red blood cells by processing your blood through a machine, but then they return your plasma. As a result, you will probably feel better than you would for a regular donation, i.e., you probably would be able to bike home just fine, as long as you don't have any really steep hills.
    I think you'd feel more fatigued after donating red cells rather than just plasma. Plasma is basically just fluid and the body replaces it pretty quickly. Red cells contain the hemoglobin that transports oxygen to muscle cells. The muscles will get less oxygen after a donation, and you'll get more tired. It takes some time for the bone marrow to produce replacement red cells.

    One way professional cyclists cheat is by taking drugs that increase production of red cells in the bone marrow. Another way is to receive a transfusion of their own frozen red cells just before a race. An honest way to accomplish this is to train at high altitudes. The body adapts by producing more hemoglobin.


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    Biscuit Boy Cosmoline's Avatar
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    Oh heck. I'm a regular O+ donator. I give several times a year and ride home. The worst I've felt is a little dizzy. I haven't tried the machine yet but you have to stay hooked to it for several hours as opposed to the minute or so it takes to get the usual blood out of me. I can't imagine you'll be in BETTER shape after being hooked to a blood machine for two hours.

    The only real problem I have is the phlebotomist (?) trying to find my vein. They're all deeply buried which is one reason I don't feel cold like normal humans. I have a fat layer like a marine mammal that insulates my main circulatory system.
    Last edited by Cosmoline; 11-19-07 at 12:50 PM.
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    Commuter JohnBrooking's Avatar
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    I donate blood and ride home or to work all the time (every time I'm eligible; I'm on their call list), and I've never had a problem with it. Of course it's only 5-6 miles. No one's ever said anything about it, either. The only effect it has on my donation is my pulse is sometimes still somewhat elevated during the pre-donation screening and I feel compelled to explain why.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cosmoline View Post
    Oh heck. I'm a regular O+ donator. I give several times a year and ride home. The worst I've felt is a little dizzy. I haven't tried the machine yet but you have to stay hooked to it for several hours as opposed to the minute or so it takes to get the usual blood out of me. I can't imagine you'll be in BETTER shape after being hooked to a blood machine for two hours.

    The only real problem I have is the phlebotomist (?) trying to find my vein. They're all deeply buried which is one reason I don't feel cold like normal humans. I have a fat layer like a marine mammal that insulates my main circulatory system.
    The aspheris machine isn't that long. I think it takes 35-45 minutes. It takes twice as many red blood cells so you fatigue much quicker; but you get your plasma back so you aren't as dehydrated.

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    I agree with what Artkansas wrote: just ride home slowly and gently and easily.

    I don't think it's been mentioned so far, but after one has donated one's arm is rather tightly bandaged. Moreover, some of the people who take the blood sometimes inform the donor to keep the arm straight for a little while. Because of the bandage, it may be hard to bend the arm, and if one does ride home, one may have to do it somewhat one-handed. While this is what I normally do, it is no sin to take the bus or taxi home.

  14. #14
    Change=inevitable. ?=+/- JosephPaul86's Avatar
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    Being relatively new to being car free, this is a new one to me. And I recently got a CFL(committed for life) reminder to donate. I have used the machine which filters your plasma and it does take an hour. I got into donating blood via blood drives at our High School. Only bad thing besides the time on the machine is some people can't stand feeling the colder(room temp) fluid being pumped back into them.

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    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    I saw a coworker faint while still on the bench. It was pretty funny, actually..

    I'd go ahead and hang out there or head to someplace to eat that's nearby. This is one of those things you can do and not be in a hurry about it.

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    Just be smart and play it safe guys/gals...I'm glad to see people donating blood!
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    Roody is right, donating plasma is alot different then whole blood. The few times I have donated whole blood, I felt really tired for 2 days afterwards. On the other hand, donating plasma twice a week for the last year and then riding my bike 5 miles home is what is paying for my school books right now and I think I actually feel better after the plasma donation.
    Quote Originally Posted by M_S View Post
    ..... but at the end of the day we're all just dorks riding around on bicycles, right?

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