59,000 or 59 depending on the reference was Amy's platelet count on Monday. A platelet count of 150 is needed to donate platelets. A platelet count north of 200 is considered normal. It was 31 last Thursday and 59 on Monday. When your Dr. seems happy about that, you become happy about that.

I had never donated blood, platelets or anything else. We came to the July 4 weekend a couple of weeks ago, and Amy was going to need platelets before the weekend that we had 'off'. And, people tend to donate less around the holidays since they travel, etc. So, I made my way down to the blood center at MDA to donate platelets.

The short biology/hematology lesson recap for today. Red Blood Cells carry oxygen. White Blood Cells are generally the defenses against infections, etc. Platelets are essential in blood clotting. RBCs and Platelets are necessary for survival. So are WBCs, but while they are low patients can be on medications to provide some protection.

How much blood or how many platelets you can donate depend on several factors...height, weight, blood counts, etc. The first time I donated I gave 7.5x10^11. The second time a week later, 6.0x10^11. That's 750 billion...if I only had a dollar for every 1,000 or so platelets I donated.

It takes 6 or more individually donated bags of blood to make up a platelet transfusion for a patient. Once you donate whole blood, they can filter out the components that are needed. OR, you can donate only platelets, a process which takes about 2 hours of squeezing a stress ball while they filter out platelets and plasma from your arm and send everything else back to you. Random donor platelets vs. Single donor platelets.


Platelets are called "liquid gold" for cancer patients. 1 bag of single donor platelets generally last longer in a patient's body than a multi-donor bag. "Normal" is a level of 200. Transfusions are needed, depending on the disease, at a platelet level of 10-20. At 1/10 of the normal level a transfusion is necessary. A platelet generally has a lifespan of 6 days.

Amy's count was 59 on Monday. The Thursday before it was 31. That means that the stem cells from the 'winning' cord have start to produce not only white blood cells, but platelets, and very likely red blood cells. They're in there working. That's a good thing. Hurry slowly.

If you want to help someone, anyone, but don't know how...blood and platelets are always needed. Whether in Houston or Austin or anywhere can help save a life. This doesn't make headlines. It should. Things like this matter. Things like this are important. We knew it before...sort of...but we really know it now.