Recently I went to the job fair for a medical company. During my time touring the facility and speaking with pesounded likeople who worked at this particular location, one of the things that intrigued me was donating plasma.
This company uses plasma to create lifr saving medicine. In short, donating plasma saves lives. As someone who has only been able to donate blood maybe once or twice, I had no idea about the process of donating plasma. After this job fair, I found myself looking more and more into it.
How safe is this procedure?
Something is returned back into your body? Is that safe?
Can the saline that’s mixed with the cells returned into your body harm you?
I had many many questions and yet it took a while for me to research. While I was searching for ways to make a few extra dollars and after looking into possibly donating eggs… (yes I’d actually considered doing this), I overlooked donating blood or plasma as a way to get money. I hadn’t given it a thought because I’ve attempted to donate blood a few times before and could never do so due to low iron and a few other reasons. I was discouraged but something told me to look into it further.
I looked up blood banks nearby so I could go in and ask questions. In doing so, a plasma center was the closest to my house. It reminded me to look into the process of donating plasma. Once I read about the process, reviews and medical sites I decided the best way to learn about this would be to simply go in and go through the process to donate.
After days of preparation I’d finally gone in. The same things that I read online are the same documents that we’re given in the center. Information on the procedure, information on your medical history, cans and cannots, information on travel, information on previous medications taken and then some. After I read all of this information – about 4 Pages front and back in length – I had to watch a video that unfortunately I spaced out on. I cannot tell you how long it was but I do know that it just basically reiterated the same things that were supposed to be read on those four pages. From there I did a sort of interview with staff who question me about my medical history, body piercings and tattoos as well as travel. From there I met with more medical personnel who gave me a physical. And then on to another staff member who took a blood sample, weight me, took my blood pressure, and examine my arms the second time since I’ve been in the facility. Finally, I was given peanut butter crackers and a bottle of water and ushered to the donation line.
The setup is similar to donating blood. You recline in a chair, they hook you up to tubing that goes into a machine where your blood and the plasma are separated and then plasma into a bottle, red blood cells and a saline solution are returned to your arm.
No big deal for me. I’m not afraid of needles. I handle pain very well, unless its stomach pains. So I was ready for this, or so I thought. And all of my research, and hearing about it at the organizational job fair, and reading reviews the one thing that bothered me was having something “returned” into my body. I am very distrusting of the scientific medical field. Maybe it’s because I am not super knowledgeable in that area or because I don’t know medical terminology very well, but seeing medical terms and not knowing exactly what it is or where it can be found scares me. Having something injected into my system scares me. Historically if you think about it how many experiments have been passed on and passed off via medical procedures? So you can understand why I was skeptical about this.
I almost chickened out at the very end. I guess you can tell by the look on my face, because the male nurse asked me was I ready and if I were okay before he stuck the needle into my arm. I had to help myself up and I said no turning back. I also did a quick prayer in hopes that everything will be okay and that I’d leave just as healthy as I’d come into this place.
The process didn’t take very long. I mean the registering as a first-time donor took a few hours, but actually drawing the blood, separating the plasma and having the solution returned back into my arm took about 40 minutes max if I’m not mistaken. Since that first time I’ve donated twice more. Each time it seems to go a little faster. The the third time I donated, the experience was a bit different for me. The nurse who set the needle into my arm caused me pain. I’m not sure if he stuck the needle in further than the other folks had or if it was the positioning of it, either way it scared me. It’s been about 4-5 days since then and the spot is still a bit tender.
My blood flow seemed to be slower in my left arm than my right arm, however I was still in and out in under 40 minutes. When the saline solution entered my body I felt a cold sensation, cold enough to make me shiver. Warm clothing are a must, at least for me. Depending on the donor, there can be some bruising, soreness, even dizziness or fainting. While I noted after affects, I didn’t look hard into symptoms or worst case scenarios as to not scare myself.
I’d heard that some people donate blood like clockwork as a sort of job. I never paid much attention to it until I was actually in a facility to donate. Some folks were in work attire like myself. Some folks were in street clothes and some were actually in pajamas. It made me think about how all of these people were either willing to help other people. It made me wonder how many people had to help themselves, how many were there because they were trying to increase their paycheck to paycheck lives.
First and foremost, for anyone who’s thinking about donating plasma I’d say do your research yourself. Find a local facility, call or go in and ask questions. Read over reviews, ask friends and family if they’d ever donated. In my considering this I talked to my sister who told me in college she’d done it with friends when they were short on cash. I don’t think there’s anything to be afraid of, nor am I trying to scare anyone I’m just saying be prepared as you would with anything else. I guess it could be a little “hustle” if you will. From reading things online and within the facility, I found that you can make up to about $400 in one month.
I hope this was helpful to anyone who is curious about donating. Feel free to share your experiences or to ask any questions you may have.
– Viola Constance