I spent Saturday morning having three-quarters of a trillion thrombocytes extracted. Yep, I volunteered for platelet donation. I've been meaning to give this a try for a couple of years now, and the Puget Sound Blood Center finally talked me into it. Process wasn't any more complicated than having an IV drip, and was under more pleasant circumstances.
One needle: blood goes out, through the centrifuge, and then back in. Goes out for about a minute, then the pump reverses and it goes back in for 15 seconds. Bag slowly fills up with this yellowish-looking fluid. Ninety minutes later, there's 7.5 x 10^11 of my platelets in there, and I'm free to go.
The big test came the following day. I was told that donating platelets wouldn't impact my hematocrit, since they put all the red cells back in. So Sunday, I made six trips up Holmes Point Drive. No problems! Well, I mean it still hurt like hell, but not any more than it normally would. This is great! I donate whole blood during the off-season, but now I can donate platelets during race season.