(four)

21 Jun

One way to do it is begging. Stealing works too. I never went for any of that. Too much work. And theft doesn’t quite mesh with even my skewed definition of virtues. I got into medical trials, sleep deprivation studies, control groups, double-blind experiments, natural experiments, observational studies, field experiments, even a bizarre human vivisection trial based on my history and propensity for cutting my own flesh during high-stress times, or suicidal and depression bouts. There is money in all that.
And in plasma, too. You know plasma. The liquid part of your blood. Yellowish in color. Comprised of water and protein. Carries hormones and vitamins throughout your body. Red and white blood cells, and platelets are all suspended in plasma so they can circulate. Hemophiliacs need it because it helps with coagulation. Plasma products are also used to assist burn victims. So you see, it’s ethical to get paid for it. You’re helping people. But you’re laughing at my skewed definition of ethics and altruism.
Plasma.
Twice a week I donated it. Since I’d been tested for Hepatitis B, and didn’t have it, I’d get $60 a pop. Hundred and twenty a week. Do the math. Almost five C-notes a month.
Plasma is collected through a process called “plasmapheresis.” When you come in to donate, a needle is placed in your vein and your blood is pumped into a specialized spinning device that separates the plasma from the other whole blood components, such as red and white blood cells and platelets. While the plasma is collected, the other blood components are filtered into a reservoir. Once the reservoir is full, your red and white blood cells and platelets are returned to your body. Throughout the process, the system automatically alternates between collection and replacement until the predetermined amount of plasma, based on your weight, is obtained. The tubing and all other collection supplies that come in contact with your blood are discarded and replaced with new, sterile materials each time a donation procedure is performed.
You have to eat something beforehand. And even throughout. Sometimes it takes 8 hours for the shitheads to process you, identify you, test for HIV and other junk, and finally suck out the juice.
I got into selling plasma from living with my old man. He was a phlebotomist for a while in the early 80s. He extracted plasma from drug addicts in Cleveland. He got pricked so many times by used needles, his fingers and hands looked like a kid had gone berserk with a red pen on his flesh. But he never caught anything. My old man was a horse. When I was young, I thought he’d live forever.
Anyway. Plasma. You have to be at least 110 lbs. in weight. Eighteen years of age.
And if you’re a woman at these centers, any kind of a woman, expect to get hit on by the most decrepit swine parasites that ever walked the earth.
Only I’m not a woman.

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5 Responses to “(four)”

  1. dr. zombieswan 22/06/2007 at 2:39 PM #

    So your character was doing the hitting on, is what I assume.

    I once considered selling some plasma. I don’t remember why we needed the money any more, but it seemed desperate. But in the town where we were, they didn’t offer that much for it, so I didn’t do it.

    I like the old joke about the woman who meets a man in the elevator. She’s on her way to give blood, and he’s on his way to donate sperm. She finds out he gets, like, 100 bucks a pop. So then, the next week, he sees her in the elevator again. And he says, “so, on your way to donate blood again, huh?” And she shakes her head emphatically “No”, all while keeping her very full mouth shut carefully.

    Ba dum bump. Thank you. I’ll be here till Thursday. Try the Veal……

  2. slyboots2 22/06/2007 at 2:41 PM #

    The boy worked in a convenience store next to a plasma center in Tempe. The “patrons” would come in after donating and get the official “Plasma Center Fun Pack”- a pack of GPC smokes and a 40 oz.er of something- usually Country Club or Olde English.It was his Halloween costume one year- a bandage on one arm, a pack of smokes and a bottle of undrinkable hooch. Ah. Good times.

  3. Lx 22/06/2007 at 3:10 PM #

    Ah, Doctor, that joke was good. And you know, it’s more like $1,000 a pop. And how do I know that?

    Sly, it’s a bit more diversified now; I’ve seen college students waiting to be pricked by the vampires.

  4. Anonymous 23/06/2007 at 10:33 AM #

    Enjoyed reading this especially after knowing how paranoid you are of needles. You could never be a drug addict.
    J

  5. Janete 01/07/2007 at 4:35 AM #

    I like the way your prose flows…as a doctor, I know what you describe, I can see the motions, follow the thoughts…

    Actually you reminded me how as medical student, they first taught us how to take blood by practising on each other…how my clinical partner was nervous and afraid of hurting me ( ex- boyfriend, but still working together)…I don’t think I hesitated. More out of confidence rather than resentment , I mst emphasize.

    It reminds me of night shifts, busy colorectal wards and waking up people in the middle of the night because their iv had come out or I needed to repeat their renal function and potassium levels…( IN the UK until recently only doctors took bloods and inserted cannulas) . Wearing my blues I probably scared half of them…What unusual encounters…One even thought I was an angel…lol Well until they saw the needle coming…

    Things you do in a day.

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