In Part IV of “My First Ever Attempt to Donate Plasma,” I had a temperature of 99.7 degrees Fahrenheit and was not allowed to donate plasma. I was surprised I had a temperature because I felt fine.
The procedure was more thorough than I had expected. I learned that the plasma center does not let just anyone donate plasma.
Returning the Next Day
Although I had a temperature on the Wednesday I had initially attempted to donate plasma, I was told I could try again the next day. I drank lots of water and got lots of rest.
Armed with a tall container of ice water, I headed back to the plasma center on Thursday at 1:00 pm. After signing in on the ‘New Donor’ sign-in sheet, I took a seat on one of the many hard, black plastic chairs in the waiting area. Was it possible the TV was even louder today than it was yesterday? The movie, Elf, was playing. Apparently, they like their Christmas movies loud in August in Oklahoma.
An entire hour passed, and my name had still not been called. I sipped my ice water, hoping it would cool my mouth in case I still had a bit of a temperature. Elf had concluded. Now a movie was playing about an intelligent gorilla whose sign language was electronically translated into verbal language – Congo? Despite the blaring television, I tried to focus on reading my latest interlibrary loan, Living Green: A Practical Guide to Simple Sustainability.
Finally my name was called. I went through exactly the same litany of questions. My weight, blood pressure, and temperature were taken. Temperature? 97.5 degrees Fahrenheit. It was a little lower than the normal 98.6 degrees, but that was okay with the medical tech. My finger was pricked. Blood was taken and analyzed. I was sent back to the waiting area to read through the binder of various disclosures and confidentiality agreements, again.
After waiting another 30 minutes or so, my name was called. A nurse took me to an exam room. She was nice, talkative, and obviously enjoyed her job. She asked me numerous personal sexual questions. More questions about my medical history, international travel experiences, possible piercings or tattoos.
I imagined I was the most boring case that had ever darkened her exam room door. I am in good health. No tattoos. No piercings except single ear piercings done when I was about six years old. I have been married for over two years. No travel ever outside North America, although I do have a passport and hope to travel to Greece within a few years, I added sheepishly.
The Donation Floor
The nurse sent me to the ‘donation floor.’ The donation floor had rows and rows of blue vinyl reclined beds. Every donor could easily see every other donor. Every donor could also see every other donor’s dark red blood coursing through the clear tubes and into the plasma machines. Scenes from the movie, The Matrix, flashed through my mind. My heart quickened.