April 09, 2011

After Sundown This Thing's A Vampire Magnet

There are times in our lives when we would do pretty much anything for some cash flow. There are much worse things to do but one of the low ones I succumbed to was selling my plasma. Excuse me, donating my plasma. As a "thank you" for your "time" you get $20-$30 for each visit. So here's what happens.

You arrive at the facility and sign in. If you expect to be called by the time your appointment was for, you are wrong. 
Tens of minutes can go by before they finally call you. They take your pulse, weight, and maybe take your temperature? It's been a while.
Blah blah, I'm more important than you. Blah blah.
After some more procedural stuff and more waiting you're taken to a chair. For those of you who don't know, plasma is the liquid part of your blood that your blood cells float around in. When you donate plasma, they take your blood, put it through a centrifuge sending the plasma into the collection bag and your blood cells back into your body. Since you get all your blood back you can then donate twice a week instead of once every three months like with blood (I don't know the actual frequency for blood donation but I'm not looking it up either.)
Since they've just taken a bunch of liquid out of your body they replace some of it with saline, to rehydrate you. The only thing is, they give you less saline than you lost in plasma. AND the saline is "room temperature." The temperature of the room is somewhere between 60 and 70 degrees. So when 70 degree liquid is rushing into your 98 degree body, you feel a little like you're dying. Okay, a LOT like you're dying. 
Yeah, I'm probably dying.
But then you're done and you get to leave with a whopping 20 bucks! If you're smart you will go home, eat something and re-hydrate with some water or juice. If you're me, you like to multi-task. And you think it's a great idea to go tanning on your way home. I wish this story was going where you think it is and I just ended up with a mild burn. But no.
I go to the tanning place and agree to use one of the stand up booths. This means that I will be subjecting myself with harmful UV rays, and do it standing on my feet, for the next 12 minutes. Or so I thought. About halfway through, I start to feel light headed. I don't worry too much about it and try to shake it off. Then I start to see spots. That can't be good.
Uh oh...
I quickly realize that I am about to pass out. Which would be awesome. Passing out and having an EMS crew breaking down the door to the booth to find me passed out naked on the floor was exactly what I wanted to happen that day. So I hit the deck to and crawled out of the bulb area into the changing area. I struggle to pull my clothes on, trying not to panic and to stay conscious. I try sitting on the little stool with my head between my legs and hope that will make me better enough to go out and go home.
Must... get... WATER.
I decide that I'm better enough and I stumble out and go straight to the water cooler, knowing exactly what the problem was. The girl working there asked if I was okay and I was sad to learn that I was not as convincing as I thought I had been at pretending that everything was okay. "I donated plasma before I came here so I think I'm just dehydrated." "Oh..."

After several teeny cups of water I was no longer dying and made it back to my apartment in one piece. I was even able to live to tell this cautionary tale.


  1. Oh no! I had that happen to me one time when I went to the tanning bed. I hadn't donated plasma... but I sure wasn't feeling well. When I starting seeing the stars I jumped out of the bed, struggled to put on my clothes and jetted out of that place and sat in my car until I felt better! I know I got some weird looks from the tanning experts! haha.

  2. Haha, your drawings are so stinkin' cute!! What program do you use?

    Thank you for the tip on no tanning after plasma donation... Of course, I can't even get a physical without seeing stars, so I'm not sure that I would even need to go tanning to see stars after donating. Yes, I am a huge wuss.

  3. @Bi: Thanks! I use Photoshop. Sometimes I feel like I put way too much effort into them but I wouldn't like them if they were less detailed.

  4. I was so relieved when the blood bank here made it a rule that you can't donate blood if you lived in the UK between 1986 and 1996. Yay to potentially having mad cow disease!!

    I had a similar almost fainting in public experience. Except it was at an ATM in Guatemala, after a day of amoebic dysentery or cholera or something. The bank guard was carrying an AK-47 or something and had this "Hmmm, should I help you or shoot you?" look on his face. Fun times!

  5. HAHA!! I love how your first thought after giving plasma was to go tanning!

  6. Oh my gosh, remind me to tell you about my plasma donating stories!! Jeez louise, you really are my opposite twin! ;)

  7. You can donate blood once every 56 days. I donate a good bit, though last time it made me sick. Oh man, one time in high school I donated blood and had to perform in a marching band show later that night. I made it through the show without a hitch and then stood in 40 degree weather with short sleeves. It was awesome.

  8. Good to know. I never donated blood which is weird since I was all for the plasma thing just cause they give you a couple bucks even though it takes way longer and you don't even get juice and a cookie.

  9. I've always wondered about donating plasma...thanks for sharing your experience. The whole room temperature thing pretty much makes me no longer interested. At all.

    Glad you're ok!

  10. I'm glad you shared about that :)

    My brother sells, I mean donates for compensation, his plasma.

    However, I'm anemic, so it's likely they'd turn me down. I get turned down more than half the time for donating blood due to this.

    Side note- you can donate blood every 8 weeks, according to Carter Bloodcare