I have a rather irrational fear of needles. I am not certain from whence this stems. All I know is, I spent many a childhood clinical visit screaming and thrashing about on the butcher paper whilst some unlucky doctor, and several unfortunate nurses attempted to hold me down, whilst said torturer stabbed a needle into my leg or arm. At which point I would continue screaming and thrashing until one of the abusers would inform me that the puncturing had taken place probably a minute before, and I was indeed going to live. This was my strategy, you see. Scream and thrash and raise hell to the point where I would be unaware of the pointy object entering my flesh, injecting the life saving serum. I was a wise, cowardly child.
I continue to be a wise, cowardly man. Now, rather than thrashing about to avoid feeling the pointy affliction, I wisely evade selling my body all together. Also booster shots. I am probably due for any number of diseases due to my complete shot evasion. I was supposed to get a TB test 5 years ago upon returning home from Argentina. I should probably take care of that.
I had a point to all of this. As I was merrily pedaling along, I saw a man of a disparate sort stumbling out of the clinic. He had the tell-tale elbow wrapping, labeling him as a lifesaver. He was not your typical plasma donor--BYU apparel, 18-24 male, earning date/marital prospect money. This guy was probably in his 40's or 50's, and he had a questionable look about him. Maybe that was just judgmental me, rearing my ugly judgmental head. But he looked shady. As we stood there, awaiting the miniature white man in the box to beckon us across the street, he whipped out a cigarette. He took a few puffs, at which point several of the nastiest, most phlegm filled coughs I have ever witnessed erupted from his chest and crinkled my spine. I shuddered, imagining that, in one form or another, some unfortunate human being was going to get this guys plasma pumped into their system.
From the BioLife website: "To donate plasma, you must be a healthy individual at least 18 years of age or older, weigh at least 110 pounds, and pass all other required donor eligibility criteria. Following a well-balanced diet and drinking plenty of water before donating is also recommended."
What are the criteria? That one must not actually cough up the entire lung while donating? That as long as one is not pissing mostly blood, their plasma is good to go? Can one count ingested phlegm as part of a well-balanced diet?
I guess I just thought they'd be a bit more selective. Maybe I really should start donating. Although, lacking that TB test and eating 30 quesadillas a week, I may not meet the proper criteria.