Sunday, 03 July 2011
Essentially, plasma is the liquid portion of your blood. It contains albumin (protein), water, and various other materials. The composition of plasma is something like 90% water. Could be more, could be less. I'm just spitballing here. Anyway, plasma can be easily replaced by your body and it only takes about a day after donating to restore your body's supply.
There seems to be a lot of confusion and overall non-knowledge of the process of donating plasma. Well, I've been donating for the past few months and I'd like to give you a few little factoids and pieces of advice to help you decide whether plasma donation is right for you.
1. Drink lots and lots of water. And when you think you can't drink anymore, have another bottle. Trust me, you'll thank yourself when you get to leave the donation center after only half an hour as opposed to the non-hydrated noobs who will sit in their chairs for up to an hour and a half donating plasma. I've recently just cut out sodas all together, except for about once a week when I want a treat. Believe me, it's done wonders for my donation times. Plus, when I leave the donation center, I'm not as dehydrated because I've still got some water in my system. Basically, water should be your go-to beverage the day before and the day of every plasma donation.
2. Eat healthily. Okay, so maybe I'm not much of a healthy eater, but the two days of the week when I donate, you bet your sweet ass I take extra care to ingest plenty of protein, vitamins, etc, to keep my body happy. Eating healthy before a plasma donation not only raises your protein and iron levels, but it also keeps you from feeling sick while donating. I made the mistake of skipping a meal before donating once, and let's just say that I almost had to be unhooked for a trip to the bathroom to throw up. Needless to say, I eat before and after every donation these days. Also, try to eat healthy because if your protein and iron levels are too low, you will be deferred for the day and won't be able to donate.
3. Don't just do it for the money. The fact that the donation center pays me money for donating plasma isn't the only reason I continue to be a loyal patron. I'll admit that it definitely sweetens the pot a great deal, but I also donate because the plasma I donate is used to treat hemophiliacs and children with other autoimmune disorders. If I did it solely for the money, that wouldn't be enough incentive to keep me coming back. The money is nice, but make sure your heart is in the right place before you take the time to donate.
4. Wear pants or take a blanket. If you are a cold-natured person like me, then you will be nearly frozen solid by the end of your plasma donation. In order to give your system a boost of re-hydration, you will be injected with 500 mL of Sodium Chloride (I think) and when it enters your body it is freaking cold! It's one thing to be normal cold and cover up with a blanket, it's a completely different story for your insides to be cold. Don't worry, though, it's a weird sensation, but it'll only last for about fifteen minutes.
5. You will begin to look like a drug user. As stated before, I've been donating plasma for the past couple of months. And in those months, my arms have begun to resemble those of a heroin junkie. If you don't believe me, just look at the picture below for proof. I just want you to know that if you donate plasma for a prolonged period of time, you will begin to notice track marks on your forearms.
6. Bring something to occupy yourself. Don't be a silly duck, bring your laptop or a good read along with you to your donation. Unless, of course, you'd prefer to read last year's edition of Vogue, Cosmo, Bass Pro, or any other doctor's office type magazine you'll be likely to find. Not to mention the fact that you probably won't even be able to read the print due to the excessive amount of wear and tear those zines get. Condensed version, just bring your own method of entertainment and it'll all be kosher.
Donating plasma can be an excellent way to make some extra money or to save for that vacation you never seem to have the money for. In fact, my best friend's dad has been saving every cent of his donation money so that sometime either this year or next, he'll be able to take his wife on a cruise. How sweet is that?
Have you ever donated plasma before? Do you donate blood? Why or why not?