*sigh* i have resorted to selling my body for money. well, more specifically parts of my body. And even more specifically my blood plasma.
our budget has become quite tight lately, since i'm an unemployed student and we're paying two rents and two food bills. since i will only be living here for another 6 months, i didnt want to have to get a job, which i would have to quit even before the training was over anyway. but i still wanted to be able to contribute, however minimally, to our family income. so i decided to check out the local plasma centers.
turns out there are several in Phoenix, and as luck would have it there are two very close to my school. so i dropped by one on the way home the other day and looked into "donation". before i knew it i was given a cup to pee into and being given a very thorough physical exam by a physician.
it was a very fluid process (stupid pun intended), and within 45 minutes i was in the back hooked up to a centrifuge with plastic tubes running from my arm to the machine. the needle was much bigger than any i have had for blood draws or even IVs, and as a result hurt more. now i am not a baby about pain. i have pain everyday in my back so i have become well acquainted with discomfort, but this needle hurt like a B!TCH! i told the nurse/phlebotomist this and she readjusted it so it hurt a little less. that was good enough for me.
i spent the next hour trying to read while, what some consider the your life force, was sucked out of me, filtered, spun, divided and returned to me all via a fun little CLEAR plastic tube and gargantuan needle stuck in my vein.
for some reason they keep the room very cold, I'm talking meat locker temperatures. Maybe this has to do with keeping the plasma viable, maybe its so people dont faint.....whatever the reason, it sucked. while your blood/plasma is in the machine the ambient temperature of the room has time to suck the heat completely out of it and by the time the red blood cells are returned to you they are about 20 or so degrees below your body temp. Once reintroduced into your body, it causes your body temp to drop, which for me is already a few degrees below normal most of the time. :-( i.e. I'm cold all the freakin' time!!
i did fine right up until the last 5 minutes, at which point i started to have a vasovagal reaction (a fancy way of saying i felt woozy). i tried to fight it. i told myself, "Dustin, its all in your head, suck it up!", but it didnt work too well. the nurse came over and asked if i was ok. i answered "i feel a little weird", and she replied "i can tell, your face is completely white.". at this point my vision started to get a little spotty, which wasnt too bad for me since it meant i no longer had to watch the stupid movie they had been playing the whole time i was there.
after about 15 minutes i was back to normal and ready to leave. they made me sit for another 5 minutes though because they said i still looked pail. i told them i just needed a tan, but they didnt buy it.
i plan to go back soon. its a good way to make some quick cash. you can give twice in 2 calendar days, but no more than twice every week. next time i go the process will be much faster since i wont have to do any of the paperwork or physical exams. and im hoping that next time i wont get so woozy.