Thursday, September 3, 2009

Plasma Donation Success - Day 3

Made my first-ever plasma donation today. + $30 to the earn more challenge!

Some of the questions I had before I donated (which the helpful videos did not address):

(1) Does it really take two hours for your first donation?
A: No. In my case, it took 6.5 hours from the time I walked in the door to the time I walked out. I guess, if you could find a time that was not busy, it would be faster. Or a center not as slammed as this one. (My guess is that, as long as the economy remains in the toilet, this is not likely).

(2) Does it hurt?
A. Yes, about as much as a regular blood donation. Like a blood donation, they do a finger prick, which can be more painful than the big needle stick. I suspect that, like a blood donation, it depends on the skill of your phlebotomist. Mine was about 8 of 10 today.

(3) Is it really sterile?
A. Yes. The pictures of the machines make it look like your blood is passing through the machine. In actuality, the machine houses disposable tubing, which all comes out of a nice package right before your eyes.

(4) Who is going to be donating blood at the bed next to me?
A. Students and working-class people. Drunk vagrant-types don't pass the screening process, so they don't hang out in the waiting area. In this center, no one but donors was allowed in the waiting area, which meant that there were no children, either. The people around me generally had thicker regional accents than I do, but were uniformly pleasant and friendly to me (some got irate at the staff members for the long wait).

(5) Am I going to feel like a total noob, since I don't know the system?
A. Yes, but it doesn't matter. Both staff and other donors were willing to point me in the right direction when I did something noob-ish, and everyone was very nice about it.

(6) Am I going to look like a needle-crazed junkie after donating?
A. No, with the caveat that you have to get a decent phlebotomist. The picture is of my arm ~3.5 hours afterward. There's a big red mark and a bit of bruising, but I expect it will be pretty much unnoticeable tomorrow. (I'll post a picture if it actually erupts into anything spectacular-looking)

(7)Is this a viable long-term income source for me?
A. Probably not. It's about a 40 minute drive from my house, so with the long wait time, I just don't see myself giving up half a day for their regular donor fee (currently $25/40) after this month. If I lived closer, or had work or studying that I could do while waiting to be called, I'd be more tempted.

The thing that most surprised me was how interested people were in my Kindle. I had no less than ten people (staff and donors) ask me what it was, how it got books, how much it cost, etc. I didn't think that very many people would be interested in an ebook reader; when they finally get one down to a reasonable price point, they are going to sell like hotcakes, it appears.

Besides plasma donation, I have managed to list a few pieces of clothing on ebay yesterday. I'll try to get a few more on tonight. Basically, the idea is to run a few items a day for a week or so and see if I am selling enough to offset the expense of doing business on ebay. One real benefit to a consignment store is that they don't charge you an upfront fee. I am pricing by (1)making an educated guess as to what they would sell on consignment (2) calculating 40% of that and (3) adding enough to the starting bid that my take will equal that number. I figure the upfront fees of three items into each one, as I feel that I will be lucky to sell 1/3 of what I am listing. I am not using a buy it now feature because I believe the added costs raise my asking price too much. If you use ebay and have critiques as to my underlying assumptions or methodology, I would much appreciate them.

I have also divided my goal by the number of days to get a per day amount of $18.55. So I am going to start tracking that, as well, to see if I am ahead or behind. So far I am down a little less than $25, but the month is young!

Challenge Totals:
Today: $30/18.55 = 11.45
Total: $30.90 /55.65 = (24.75)


  1. I got myself all revved up to donate plasma. I even found a place in my town that I didn't know about. Then I started thinking about it and how I hate needles. I felt like I was going to pass out just thinking about it. So I'm not sure how likely I am to follow through. But I'm so glad you went through it like that, it makes me feel more prepared! Thanks!

  2. love this post. A descriptive day in the life of a plasma donor. :)

    You're right, I don't know as a viable long term source income. But great for a challenge or an acute need to get ahead.

    And i am jealous that you have a kindle!

  3. Wow! Very interesting post, but reading about the process made me a little dizzy. I guess plasma donation is not for me! Good luck with your future visits! :)

  4. Re: #6. Yes, yes you will look like a junkie.
    I donated plasma for 5 months, and the little dimples don't go away - they do fade, but expect any blood draw for the next 10 years to ask if you have a drug problem.
    After that they politely don't ask- but the marks can still be seen.
    I last donated some 16 years ago, and my marks are still visible to anyone who knows what track marks look like.