Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Plasma! The Experience

I make a point to live my life continually helping others. That's why I want to be a teacher, that's the main reason I started this blog and do Charity of the Month. I love that feeling I get inside when I know I've helped someone else. So I figured what better way to help others than to potentially save lives by donating plasma and earn some extra money doing it?

...but it did not turn out how I expected.

I had felt completely prepared. Yes, last year I had nearly fainted while getting my TB test done. But I hadn't eaten or drank much that day so I felt I could blame it on that. And so I knew that my fear of needles affected my body when getting shots so I had prepared by eating a big meal, drinking lots of water, and having my husband tell me the whole process so there would be no surprises. I felt prepared.

So after a delicious meal at Subway we went to Biomat and signed in. I was calm in the waiting room. I was calm when they called me into a tiny, claustrophobic room to check my veins. I was still calm when they called me in again because the first girl hadn't felt confident when checking my veins (apparently I have very small veins).

I was calm through the first checkup where they pricked my finger (which really hurt and still hurts when typing) and took a sample of my blood. I even watched as she showed me the blood and the plasma and was still completely calm. I was even calm when they weighed me and I learned that I've gained a lot of weight recently (which was disappointing, but honestly not that much of a surprise, it's easy to tell when you can't fit in half your pants).

I was calm (and relieved) when I had to give a urine sample. I was calm when the lady read through the disclaimer/information with the most perfect voice for the fine print of commercials (she must have a lot of practice). And I was still calm through the physical checkup.

Everything was going great, my body and blood were good enough to donate, I was perfectly calm and was admitted into the donation room. I waited in a chair and read my book, still calm. While waiting, my husband finished donating and came over to reassure me and tell me he would pick me up when I was done. They eventually called me to the desk and I was finally taken to my big donation chair.

... and that's when I stopped being calm.

When I get scared, especially if there is a needle involved, my body shakes violently. It happened when I had a medical procedure done this year, it happened when I was getting my root canal, it just happens and I'm fairly used to it. So I wasn't incredibly surprised when it started happening, but it was pretty amazing how much I was shaking, and how I honestly couldn't stop, but more on that in a minute.

They think I'm shaking because I'm cold, which I slightly was, so they hand me my jacket and I cover myself with it and hold it appropriate so I don't have to see the needle (which I never did). The needle was in, I was pumping my hand to help the blood flow and watching X-Men and thinking "This isn't so bad, I'm doing fine." And I was doing fine. The machine neared the end of taking my blood. It was all going really well.

Suddenly I start feeling nauseous. So I raise my hand to tell the worker and as soon as she get over this overpowering heat comes over me and I start sweating like crazy and felt dizzy. If I would have been standing, I would have definitely passed out. So I was suddenly surrounded by different workers putting something under my feet to elevate them, giving me water, placing an ice pack under my neck, and they started putting the blood back in me. They gave me a very delicious Strawberry-Kiwi Capri Sun and I felt tons better.

They wanted to try again but had to move the needle to a different place in my vein, which I didn't even feel happen, which was good. So the machine started up again. I'm watching Wolverine, feeling fine, texting my husband, pumping my hand, and everything was fine again.

Until the machine neared the end of taking my blood again, and the girl beside me threw up. Then I started sweating again and feeling incredibly dizzy. I moved the ice pack to my forehead, they changed the machine to put my blood back, give my the saline solution, and end my session, because they very kindly didn't want me to nearly pass out for a third time.

However, at this point my husband had to get to work and I had fifteen minutes to get to work. But I was being held down by this cold saline solution that caused my body to shake furiously, even more that it had ever had before. I'm given another Capri-Sun, this time Grape and it's freezing cold, making me shake even harder, which didn't seem possible at this point but still happened.

I try texting my boss and telling him that I'm going to be late, but realize I have the wrong number! So I'm panicking, shaking like crazy, they're worried I'm going to pass out again, my husband is working at we only have one car so I'm literally stuck there, and I don't know what to do!!!

Finally they unhook me from the machine but make me continue to lay there, sipping my water until I feel better. I'm able to sit up, wait a minute, testing to see if I'm dizzy at all, I'm not so I'm able to get up and go over to the window where I get my visa card with $25 on it (I feel so rich!).

I run (but not really) out of the building, my body is still shaking violently, I call up my coworker Todd and tell him to tell everyone I'm late, because at that point it's already 5:00 which is when I'm supposed to be there. Todd gets worried when I tell him I basically passed out and that's why I was late, but started laughing when he learned it was from donating plasma.

My husband, while on a pizza delivery, is able to pick me up and take me to work. He gave me money to buy food to make sure I didn't pass out again. PS, little distraction here, my husband is incredible! He was freaking out when I told him I nearly passed out (because I texted him when it happened the first time) and he was incredibly concerned for my health. He's amazing. I love him so much and he loves me. :)

Halfway through work I get dizzy again and sit on the stairs while my coworker Paul (Todd's dad) tells me a random story from Todd's childhood. I love working with Paul. Finally during my break I'm able to buy food (from the vending machine because everything else closed early due to Thanksgiving Break). Everything turned out fine.

Was this worth the $25? I'm still not sure. Did I get that "I just helped someone" feeling? Not at all. Will I go again? I honestly don't know yet. But it was an experience that I won't soon forget. 

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