Giving Back…We definitely should!

So, this morning I am eating breakfast. If you know me, you would know that it is unusual. However, today I am signing up to donate my plasma. What??? Why would I do that??? Two reasons — to give back and they pay me.

I went to BioLife Plasma Services which is a global biotechnology company that services people affected by rare diseases and highly specialized conditions. Their mission is to provide the highest quality plasma ensuring availability of life saving therapies for patients.

What is plasma? It is a pale yellow liquid portion of your blood that is easily replaced by your body. It consists mainly of water and proteins, which helps your body control bleeding and infection. Plasma is a substance that cannot be produced in a laboratory or other artificial environment. Donors are needed to help save lives.

After eating the protein-enriched breakfast, I went through the registration process, had my hematocrit (the percentage of blood volume occupied by red blood cells) and protein levels checked. I was cleared for donation. Move to the next station!

Next stop is the health questionnaire that is computer based and can be listened to with or without headsets. The answers to the questionnaire are reviewed by the house nurse followed by a physical exam. At this point, my veins were checked for which arm would be used. I am ready!

The donation area is divided into several sections each denoted by a color. I am not sure what the colors were for except possibly organization of donors. I was led to the red area where the vein site was cleaned with iodine and I was hooked up to the machine that would separate my plasma from my blood. The process started and you pump your hand to help the blood up the tube and on its way to be separated. I was mesmerized with watching the blood flow up the tube. For those of you that have seen the movie ‘Young Frankenstein’, the laboratory scene flashed before my eyes 👀!

When you reach the desired number of milliliters, saline is pumped into you which helps with any nausea. After the saline is finished, your blood is pumped back into you and goes back in incredibly fast. The donation time is about an hour and the feeling you get knowing that you are helping someone else is priceless. Of course they pay your for your time but it is worth it for the feeling of giving back.

Are you ready to give back?