Thursday, March 23, 2006

Plasma for Plasma Screens

This is one of those periods I experience from time to time, where I don't have enough money for all the things I want. When I say "things I want", I am not talking about cars, accordions, boats, unicycles, personal jets, laptop computers, Ronco food dehydrators, plasma screens, or electric staplers. I gave up on that type of thing a while back. What I mean is things like gas, food, socks that match, jeans without holes, rent, etc.

I have paid most of my rent for next month, but still owe for utilities. I can wear holy jeans, especially now that it's warming up a bit. I don't have any slumber parties scheduled in the immediate future, so the sock situation is fine. I can raid food from my mom's house whenever I need (I call it "shopping"). Also my roommate works at domino's and brings home a pizza every other night.

Mom, if you're reading this, don't worry. I am eating just fine. I'll prove it: Yesterday I ate cereal, spaghetti (the kind that is four different colors), green beans, an orange, and two sandwiches. Don't worry.

But as I will be driving quite a bit before payday rolls around again, I'll need some gas. Fortunately my veins are flowing with a substance worth way more than $2.399/gallon.

Yes, my friends, it is time to donate plasma once again. For $20, you let them suck a bunch of your blood out through a big needle, whirl it around in a jar to extract the plasma, mix the remaining red cells with saline solution, then shoot the red cells back into your arm via the same hole and same needle. You can even see the little bottle fill up with your own plasma. Its creepy and exciting.

My last experience with this was a bit traumatic*, but I don't always fold like a cheap lawn chair. This is $20 we're talking about. And you can go back like 2 or 3 times a week, almost like a part time job. Personally, I would tap the ol' savings account before I resorted to that, but still.

*Since they are using the same needle to extract and inject your blood, it has two channels, which means it is like twice the size of a regular phlebotomy needle. I got through the sticking. Everything was going fine, until I noticed my bottle wasn't really filling up anymore after it was 3/4 full. I looked down at my arm and saw a viscous red fluid creeping out from the where the needle met my flesh. Shouldn't the blood be going into the tube rather than on my arm? I raised my hand and someone came over. "Oh, this shouldn't happen." Good. We agreed on that. She took out the needle and we saw a little red tail hanging out of the hole in my arm. She wiped away the blood and pulled out what looked like a kangaroo joey. A clot had formed in my vein and had blocked the needle. They said I was done for the day and could collect my $20 even though I couldn't fill up their bottle. All in a day's work.


Laverna said...

I don't have a problem with needles as long as I don't see them stick me with it. Once it's in I think its fun (in the weird/surreal sense of the word) to see the blood flow through all the tubes and such.

Anonymous said...

To protect my dignity, I'll remain annonymous, but let it be known I've donated plasma a few times, and will probably continue to do so in the future, seeing as my hematocrit and vein pressure are basically perfect.

The weirdest experience I've had was getting a number at the plasma donor center. I'm a bit of a hypocrit, and I thought, "What kind of weirdo would donat...oh."

T.R. said...

wow, so you're a hypocrit with perfect hematocrit? if I were getting plasma, I would hope it was yours.

randi said...

its ok. we all have "plasma" phases. a wonderful thing here in fargo is something called PRACS. where they pay you to stay a weekend or more, give you drugs to try, and they take your blood every so often. its pretty much being a prostitute for science. aint no shame in that.

Spencer said...

Gaah! hGS!!! FJbvhfbh!!


Creativity Escapes Me said...

Or you could join the Army. My blood has so many different things in it. I think they are developing a super race, a race immune to all diseses.

Greedy Kristian said...

Oh my land. I went to the plasma clinic with one of my roommates in college, but after entering the doors opted to not eat for a week instead of donating.

You are a brave soul!