Monday, December 16, 2013

how to not die while donating plasma

Once upon a time about five years ago, I was a broke college student who thought that the idea of $30 for getting stabbed in the arm with a Capri-Sun straw was a brilliant idea. So I went in.

I was fine the for the first thirty minutes of my donation. It was awesome. I was getting rich just by sitting on my butt watching tv!

And then, all of a sudden, for absolutely no reason at all, I started flipping out. I was shaking. I was crying. It took every ounce of strength I had to not rip that needle right out of my own arm and run from the room screaming. The nurses were trying to get me to calm down, telling me to breathe, but I just would not have it. I had a freaking Capri-Sun straw stuck in my arm and all of my blood was being sucked out of my body by an evil vampire machine and I was probably going to die any second! How on EARTH was I supposed to breathe?

So, if you know anything about plasma donation, you know that they withdraw a certain amount of your blood, extract the plasma from it, and then return the blood to your body (which is why it's safe to donate twice a week).

I had my major spaz-attack while my blood was being extracted. So the nurses made me wait until all my blood was back in me before they could remove the needle. Which takes five minutes!

FIVE MINUTES! I was still crying (which made me feel like an idiot afterwards, because it just so happened that one of the hottest guys I'd ever seen up to that point in my life was sitting in the donation spot next to me... but whatever. Crying is cute, right?), and I was so anxious that I scratched a rash onto the skin on my neck.

Finally, after what felt like forever, that nurse took the needle out. They still paid me, even though I only filled up that donation bottle about half-way, and I ran out of that place and never ever looked back.

But I've recently taken up donating plasma once again. And I've been doing so well with it, all things considered. So, without further ado, I give you

How to Not Die while Donating Plasma

  • Stuff your face. This is my favorite part. It always is less traumatic if you've had plenty to eat before you go, I promise. So take the excuse and eat tons of food (just make sure it's not super fatty, or else that'll mess up your plasma and you won't be able to donate).
  • Pee forty times a day. And by this, I mean stay super hydrated. The more hydrated you are, the easier donating will be. But yes, that will mean that you'll have to make at least 643% more trips to the bathroom throughout the day.
  • Don't look at the needle. Just don't do it. You, and everyone around you will feel so much better if you just don't look at it (I think this may have been my problem that first time I went).
  • Bring something to do. Yeah, they play movies. But for some reason, it's easier for me to get tempted to look at the needle when I try to watch the movie. So I bring my Kindle and read. The time flies by.
  • Know that the only part that hurts is when the needle is first put in and when it comes out. Once it's in there, you can't feel it. And once it's out, you're good. (The only other part I hate about donating is the way they prick your finger to test your plasma levels before you donate. I always jump about a foot into the air when they do that. Ow!) So that's a total of like... 2.5 seconds of pain. You can do anything for 2.5 seconds!

And there you have it! Go donate to your heart's content! (And also know that you are saving lives in the process, which is a total plus! :)

I promise, you won't die.

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