Monday, December 24, 2018

NSAID Holiday

Our regional blood bank always solicits CMV negative platelet donors.  I've been giving quarterly until I retired, but now with greater flexibility of schedule I've tried to double the frequency.  It's a slight ordeal to get there and be tethered to a lounge chair for two hours, as the two arm donation has been far more reliable than a few attempts with single arm.  But for two hours I have the cell phone off, no pager anymore, and nothing to do but watch whatever wretched show stands out on daytime cable TV, as I am not sufficiently attentive to the movies they offer.

There are some upsides, in addition to doing somebody who I don't know considerable good, which justify the effort by itself.  Donors must eat within three hours prior to donation, so I treat myself to a diner or breakfast buffet.  The process finishes by late morning, so I will typically head off someplace other than home for the afternoon, often Lancaster when my donations were limited to Saturday morning, now a wider range of places.

As my 60-something years advance, various aches and pains have emerged, none serious, rarely but sometimes sufficient to limit my activity.  Naproxen seems to give more reliable relief than ibuprofen, and it has a longer duration of action, so once I know that musculoskeletal symptoms need suppression, I just include naproxen in my daily medicine case along with the prescription stuff.  More often than not, I will also swallow one at the breakfast table or the car.  When the lumbar and pelvic areas feel better, I will try to discontinue this, successfully for a while, then resume treatment the next time I think symptoms need suppression.

NSAIDs, the category of pills that includes naproxen and ibuprofen, need to be stopped a few days before platelet donation as they impair platelet function.  Typically this is a good excuse for my drug holiday.  While only two days off are needed to maintain donation eligibility, I will typically stop about five days in advance, which enables me to assess the orthopedic benefits.  I'm off and I can tell but I am also not disabled, just achy.  I've been able to progress my treadmill time if not its speed.  My lower back feels OK, right hip a little sore with some radiation downward along the ilio-tibial band.  Should be able to complete the donation in a couple of days, then decide whether to extend the time off.

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