I’m so broke that last week, I had to let go of my last shred of dignity and go donate plasma for money. That’s right, folks. About a million of my friends want to go on mission trips that I need to donate to, and I should probably pay my bills. Also we do not have butter at our house right now because I can’t afford to go down the street to buy it. My good friend American Express can take me grocery shopping, but I really, really don’t want to resort to asking him. He always wants to be paid back…and with interest.
Beginner’s notes on donating plasma:
- When Obi Wan said “you’ll never see a more wretched hive of scum and villainy,” he wasn’t talking about Mos Eisley.
- Appointments, ashmointments. That whole thing about setting up an appointment via the website? They completely ignore that when you come in at your scheduled time, and stick you in the back of the line.
- Some people hang out at the plasma donation center all day because even though they don’t feel like donating, that’s where all their friends are. What else are they going to do?
- Check your shyness at the door. You weigh in on a scale that’s right at the front desk, with your weight displayed on a digital display for the world to see. I think this is so that they can shame you adequately if you don’t meet the requirement of weighing 110 pounds in order to donate.
- The plasma donation center waiting room is not a place to wait quietly while reading or napping. It’s party central. Bring your loud videotapes, beepy cell phone games, guffaws, and dance moves — everything. Come prepared to have a good time.
- That crashing sound coming from Waiting Room B is just the guy in the Michael Vick jersey shaking up the vending machine. “STUPID MACHINE,” as he says, “TOOK MY MONEY!” Also, “Stupid machine don’t got nothin’ good.”
- You can’t donate plasma a couple of weeks after you get out of jail. I know because the nice young gentleman that I sat next to in the waiting room handed some papers to a lady who worked there, and she said loud enough for all to hear “You were in jail for 4 months?” And he said “Five years.” And she said “I’m sorry, what was that?” and he said “FIVE YEARS!” She said “Oh I’m sorry, if you just got out two weeks ago you can’t donate plasma.” PRIVACY FAIL. I gave him a “sorry man, that sucks” look as he wished me luck and headed out the door.
- Clutching at a doctor’s clipboard or calling her by some too-familiar nickname as she breezes down the hall will cause her to (1) scream at you, or (2) hit you with the clipboard. After she walks away, saying “Dang, how’d I get on her bad side?” will not make you look any less insane.
The best part is that even though I got there at 9am, there was no way I would ever be seen that day. After each piece of the process, you go back out and wait in the waiting room. I watched an instructional video, took a test, filled out forms, had my picture taken, and was waiting again. I still had to be weighed, have a physical exam, learn how to juggle, and who knows what else before being able to donate, so at around 11:30 I left and went to work, where at least I know I can be productive and make money. It’s okay that I went in early because I needed to make up for some time that I wouldn’t be there on Friday.
Before you start feeling sorry for me… I’m as happy today as I ever have been, and I know I’ll be provided for and get through this lean time just like always. I came home today, sucked it up, and made a delicious dinner comprised largely of olive oil, frozen stuff, and steamed vegetables. I’m thankful that if I have to be this poor, at least it can force me to break out of my comfort zone a little bit so I can find all the truly wild adventures.
Who knows what knowledge will come my way if I actually go back and get all the way through the donation process?! Stay tuned…