I know Dexter needs platelets when his platelet count drops... I know that he doesn't always react well to them - they often make him sick.
A sign that his platelet count is low is little red dots on his head, face and skin (called petechiae).... or some bleeding from the nose or gums.
Blood platelets stop our bleeding. They are irregularly shaped and colourless. They are in our blood. Their sticky surface helps with clotting - to stop bleeding. When we bleed and blood is exposed to the air, our platelets begin to break apart.... and resemble tiny threads. These threads form a web-like mesh that traps the bloods cells within it. This mesh hardens into a scab.
Dexter needs platelets, so he can make scabs!
A normal platelet count is between 150 and 400. When the number gets lower than ten, serious bleeding can occur. Add a fever to that and a person can be very, very sick...
Dexter's count gets less than 10... hence his transfusions.
For the transfusion, Dexter is in hospital (loving the hospital bed because it is noisy when he kicks on it). He has a central line (a tube going into a vein near the heart). Under his shirt, a tube snakes its way through his skin. Rather than needing needles each time he needs a transfusion, Dexter receives blood and platelets through his central line. Dexter is usually home by the end of the day - unless he has needed something else!
Today, a day after his last platelet transfusion, Dexter is a bit grumpy. He has a cold - man flu, and has been uncomfortable for most of the day. Still, he tried to sit up - nice and straight... he walked a few steps - with us holding him round the ribs... and he grinned.
I'm so grateful to every single blood donor! Thank you!