Friday, April 10, 2009

Plasma plumping pockets...

Phew. I am feeling better.  The Z-Pack is completed, and the Kleenexes are less needed.  (Behold, I rhymed.)  Yesterday, I had the pleasure of a little hammering creature trying to escape my head for several hours, along with eye twitches.  That was rather interesting.  Moving on..

So today I had to have some blood drawn for health biz-nass going on with me.  (I'm really not as sickly as it seems..I just always let things build up and build up until they all have to be dealt with at once. Thank God for free insurance.)   Anyway, I'm sitting down in the giant black blood-drawing chair and expect to feel some sort of panic about a needle. I don't really. The lady seems so monotone/mellow that I have no doubt that she will stick it in the correct throbbing vein. And I'm right.  A finger prick hurts worse than that.  I watch the tube filling of ounce after ounce of blood, and I expect to feel faint.  But no. It just feels kind of cool that I'm watching blood that used to be rushing around in my body being trapped in a tube.  

Then I remembered my giving plasma for moolah days... and a few of the incidents that happened there.  

Nothing prompts a desperate trip to the infamous plasma-taker place than a $500 phone bill.  Yes, that's right.  Little Miss Stuuuupid Aubrey liked to act like she had unlimited text messages/minutes  when she first started dating Evan.  (He lived a kajillion miles away, so...the phone was our relationship for awhile.) So, I quickly picked up 11 shifts at the restaurant where I worked at the time.  I knew that would be interesting, since I was a full-time student and I just picked up 11 out of 14 possible shifts for one week.  Then I drove to where I had heard that you can prostitute your plasma for fast cash.  

I went through the whole rigmarole where a few different people figured out 101 different ways of asking if I do or do not have an STD.  I passed with flying colors.  I gave my plasma while watching Van Helsing on their monitors (Ironic, I know..), got $40, and walked out.   If you are not familiar with the process, you can go twice a week (with at least 2 days in between) and the money you are given depends on how much plasma you are able to give.  I would get $20 the first time in the week, and $30 the second time.  The first week you go, however, you get 80 bucks.  The first week went fine.  I got my $80 and promptly paid a little on my phone bill.  

The second week was a different story.  You see, you're supposed to drink plenty of water before you go and eat a good meal.  Well, I was in a hurry and completely forgot to drink any water.  I figured I would be juuuust fine.  So I'm reclining in the chair reading a book, arm out and hand squeezing, with my jacket strewn across my legs.  

I hear the machine beeping, but pay no attention.  An attendant that was not in charge of me came over, looked at the machine, and then started to fiddle with the needle.  It's a long needle.  She started pulling up on it where it was stretching my skin.  I immediately started to feel light-headed.  That would probably be an understatement, actually, because I kept blacking out.  She kept yanking it around.  I tried to scream at her, but I was so dizzy I couldn't even think.  I tried to form the f*bomb and several other expletives, but they just kept being screamed in my head.  Presumably noticing the look of pure hatred coming from my direction (when my eyes weren't rolling in the back of my head), the death attendant finally walked away.  A few minutes later, my attendant walked to me--noticing my pale face and the beeping of the machine.  She wasn't too happy about the death attendant messing with her patient.  I wasn't either.  She explained to me that my blood was clotting, while she moved around the needle herself.  It wasn't as bad, but my head was still swirling.  She informed me that I can either switch arms or leave.  If I were to leave, however, I would not get my money.  Hellls no, I thought.  I did NOT just go through that for nothing.  So she took out the needle, put a cotton ball and tape on the area, and walked around to my other arm.  

Well, then my blood decided not to clot any more.  After she put the needle in my other arm, she looked over at the old plasma-drawing arm with wide eyes.  I slowly looked other with dread, and see blood splattering EVERYWHERE.  All over my jacket, all over the floor.  I couldn't move because I was hooked to the machine.  When she walked over to the other side, the blood splattered all over her lab coat.  I start to feel light-headed again (Surprised? I think not..), she stopped the bleeding, changed lab coats, and I finished my plasma giving.  She also gave me a parting gift: a bag of some kind of liquid that got the blood out of my coat.  I walked out of there, grabbed my money, and tried to convince myself that I'd be back again.  But I didn't go back...for a year.

The reason I decided to go back (dragging my fiance with me) is because we were engaged with wedding and honeymoon expenses looming over us.  I had constantly reassured Evan that he would be fine.  I can't even tell you how long it took me to convince him to come.  Bubbles in your vein are very rare, I told him.  Blood splatter and blood clots are avoidable, I told him.  My experience was mostly my own fault, I told him.  We drank plenty of water and ate.. I kept assuring him that he's bigger than me so he would get more money, and we'd make a lot of easy money in the next several months before the big shebang. We both went through the rigmarole again with the 101 different questions that want the same answer: No, neither of us have an STD. Still. 

Once we made it to the donor floor, I kicked back, relaxed, and began reading from the many bridal magazines I had stocked up on.  My blood was flowing smoothly, and no attendants tried to kill me.  Evan, looking rather green, was across the room from me.  I watched the attendant (he was mine too) stick him, and noticed Evan glaring at me and shaking his head.  He wasn't too happy.  I also noticed the attendant walking away, getting someone else, and then coming back to Evan.  They finally went away, and I carried on with my reading.  I finished before Evan, so I got my money and waited for him in the lobby.  When he finally got out, he was pale and still glaring at me.  I looked at his arm and it was bruised pretty badly.  Apparently, Evans veins were harder to find than mine.  The attendant stuck him like a freaking voodoo doll until he got someone else to do his job.  Apparently, before the other attendant came for help, Evan was able to experience the rare vein bubble.  His arm was bruised for weeks, and any time I suggested we try to go again, I was shut down quite resolutely.  He still gets mad at me when I mention it.  :)   We haven't been back in almost 2 years.  

But...I think I might give it another try....It'd be nice to have some easy cushion in my wallet...

(The picture has no meaning with this blog whatsoever, but it's me zip lining in Puerto Vallarta last summer.)


Cynthia said...

Two things, Aubrey:
1. Ewwwwwwwwwwwwww!
2. I still grow faint and nearly pass out when I hear that story and Lord knows how many times I've heard it! And there you go.....putting it down in black and white or black and pink as the case may be, but good LORD~!!!!!!)
OK, THREE things:
3. Anybody else want to try to go die today at The Plasma Place???
OK, FOUR things:
4. Your mother says, "NO!" to you going again!

Frankie said...

okay, I got to the "long needle" part and PEEEEACED out. no way, ho-zay.

(and I mean that to apply to both the post and the procedure...damn you for ruining my surefire way to make a quick buck.)

Scriptor Senex said...

My reaction seeing the photo was that you had got over stuffing kleenexes up your nose very quickly. I liked the susp[ense of not explaining it until the end! Made me read the whole lot - good job I'm not squeamish. Good job you aren't either! Nevertheless, I support your Mum - keep away from the vampires.

Cynthia said...

We MISS you, Aub!!!! Your bloglessness leaves a big black hole in the atmosphere!
word verification:


Roderckdhu said...

Years ago I was donating blood. The technician had removed the needle and put a piece of gauze over the hole. I wasn't paying attention when suddenly the tech grabbed my hand, placed it over the gauze and SPRINTED from the room. It ultimately had nothing to do with my bleeding, but it was quiet an unexpected thrill! Your story reminded me of that and brought an amused smile to me.

kanishk said...

..damn you for ruining my surefire way to make a quick buck.)

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