NOTE: There are no graphic details(i.e. pictures) in this article, but if the mention of blood or needles makes you uneasy, please do not continue to read this page.
So Thursday, I finally went to get some extra cash and donate plasma. I know, I know- if it’s “donating” then what are they paying you for? Technically, they can’t pay you for your bodily fluids, but they can pay you for your time spent there and let e tell you we were there practically 2 hours. To be a qualified plasma donor you should not have any kind of illness whatsoever, no recent piercings or tattoos without documentation/proof that sterile equipment was used, not in sexual contact/living with someone who is HIV positive or with other STDs or with Hepatitis or Hepatitis C. You also can’t weigh under 110 lbs. There are many other factors that can disqualify you as a potential donor as well.
While I was there, they took a small blood sample to check my iron levels, measured my weight, and checked my blood pressure. Then, after some more paper work, they did a urinalysis and a brief physical.
I’m not a fan of needles-at all. They honestly scare me. But, I have had to be hooked up with medical equipment before. Some time earlier this year, I had a bad fever/cold/flu and while I was picking up my prescription from wally world, my fever suddenly spiked and I had to be carried to the emergency room where I had an IV drip in my arm for 2 hours. Lucky me, my mom was there to eat crappy hospital food and drink nasty carbonated lime water she accidentally grabbed with me. Well, I finally decided I wanted to try donating plasma to make a little extra cash since I was still unemployed until recent.
After being there over an hour, I finally get to head to the back and there’s 2 long rows of people facing each other that are all seated in a large chair that you would see at some kind of fancy resort or spa all hooked up to an apheresis machine (it looks like a weird record player). Most people are pumping their fist to make the process go faster. But I’m laying here, trying not to look at this tube of blood leaving my arm. The feeling of the blood leaving your body is strange and uncomfortable. I tried to figure out what I would want to watch on youtube or netflix to get my mind off things but it was all still unsettling. After a while I started feeling really hot and I was getting more jittery sitting there hoping this would be over already. Suddenly I feel like I pissed myself or maybe even started my period since I was expecting to start soon. I’m just getting more and more nervous by the second and I finally call a nurse to unhook me and described what I was feeling (minus whether I pissed myself or not).
She and another nurse put ice packs on me, started fanning me, and began returning a saline solution to my body. Next thing I know I feel like I stepped out in the middle of winter without a jacket. I was just shivering and freezing cold- which was apparently a normal reaction. When I could finally get up I went to the bathroom and checked myself and I was just fine. There was nothing. I was clean. Is this normal? I feel like that’s not a normal feeling while donating plasma. I was supposed to finish “3 cycles” while I was there but only got through 1. Luckily, I was still paid the full amount I was offered for being a first time donor.
I want to go back and try again, but I’m honestly terrified at this point the more I think about it and how it felt and what the whole situation looked like.
Have you donated plasma before? What was it like for you? Comment down below!