Thursday, November 20, 2008

Something in our Blood

For a long time now, I have been considering selling plasma. You could say it's on my "bucket list". There are at least three good reasons to donate plasma.
  1. It's worthy; they use the plasma for research and medical needs.
  2. You get a free mini physical. You have to be healthy or they don't accept you.
  3. They pay you for your time. $$ is always good!

Since I lost my job last month, I've really been thinking about it. I finally decided to just do it! So, I stopped by on Tuesday. There wasn't any free parking anywhere nearby. I parked a few blocks down the street and walked to the office. There were bars on the doors and windows. At first, I wondered why, but then I remembered that they pay out in cash, so they must keep a hefty amout of money on hand.

There were lots of loiterers hanging around outside. I found it really hard to go in but I took a deep breath and pulled the heavy door open.

The waiting room was so crowded!! I felt strange and out of place. When I asked about being a new donor, they told me I had to come back because I needed to have my social security card with me. They also told me it would take about 5 or 6 hours because they were so busy. I decided to come back another time.

Today, I ventured out again. The Donor Center opened around 7:30, so I got up early, showered, dressed, walked the dogs, fed the horses, ate a bagel and cream cheese, drank some coffee and left. The traffic wasn't bad and I arrived around 7:40. I parked next door in the "pay" parking lot, stuck in $2.00 for 2 hours, and prayed it wouldn't take much longer than that.

The office was already crowded. I found out they opened just after 7:00 this morning. So, I signed in and waited.

They called me and checked my IDs. Then they gave me papers to read and sign about my medical history. They asked me about AIDS, pregnancy, medications, etc.

I sat back in the waiting room and waited.

They called me again to check my weight, blood pressure, and temperature. They checked for needle tracks and asked about tattoos. I noticed that this is one place where it pays to weigh more. They actually pay according to your weight when you donate.

I sat back down in the lobby and waited.

One man was turned away because of his tatoo(s). You cannot have had any within 12 months and no more than three total.

Someone else was turned away for some reason? Not eating?? He was to come back tomorrow.

They called me again and took a blood sample.

I sat back down and waited.

Another person is turned away- not hydrated enough. They would come back next day.

They called me again to ask if I'd eaten recently (they want you to eat and drink beforehand) and then I had to give a urine sample. This was good because after a couple of cups of coffee (decaf!) I really did have to go anyway. On the way to the bathroom, I went through the room where they draw the plasma. There are about 20 recliners with people laying down on them, hooked up to tubes and machines. You are not supposed to eat or drink, chew gum, sleep, or even wear sunglasses while laying there. This way they can catch any potentially bad side effects, whatever they might be.

And then, you guessed it! I had to go sit down and wait to be called.

I waited.

And waited.

There were at least four other new donors this morning.

And then they called me. I took a deep breath and went into the back room. I was led into an office where they do a mini physical.

The technician asked about my prescription, Levothyroxine. I told him I had Graves Disease 20 years ago and now I take synthetic thyroid hormone daily. He told me that unfortunately, because of this, I was not allowed to be a donor. Graves Disease is an "autoimmune" illness and there is a slight possibility that it can be passed on in the plasma.

After all I had been through, working up the proper mindset and all the time spent, I was rather disappointed. Besides, I really could have used the money.

Also, does this count as being accomplished on my "bucket list"?

I do recommend anyone to consider this. It's not really too bad and there are great benefits.

Something in our blood - song: The Hearts Filthy Lesson, artist: David Bowie, album: Outside


Nuzzling Muzzles said...

What a fascinating story! I thought I had a bad day when I took off three hours from work to drive into the city for a doctor's appointment only to be told that the receptionist forgot to put me down in her book. What a huge waste of my time and gas. Now I have to do it all over again in two weeks. You are way more patient than I am. It sounds like a lot of people are in need of that plasma money.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Sorry it didn't work out.

If this doesn't count as being accomplished on your bucket list, then just think! You can add something else to your list instead :)

Hey Val.....You've been tagged!


Fantastyk Voyager said...

NM- that is so frustrating when you schedule in advance and they screw up. That happened to me once at the dentist but they managed to squeeze me in. Of course, it's just as bad when you go for an appointment and you still have to wait an hour or more to be seen.

Lisa- It's going to count! I tried!