Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Blood: Birthdays

I reached a milestone last week with the plasma donation. I've donated 50 times, which at one time was going to be my stopping point. This means I've been at this for right at 6 months.

I've gotten past relying on the money. It never gets figured into my budget. I have stopped counting on it, stopped cashing the checks the second I get them, but it's still nice to have the extra few bucks around --just in case.

But I feel like I can start planning to quit. Once I'm done, I'm done. I'll get the tattoo and that will technically finish me off --though as I've learned, short of shooting up in the lobby, engaging in anal sex with a Belgian male prostitute or eating a hamburger that says "Made in England" on the wrapper while the staff watches and takes pictures, there isn't much that would actually disqualify me from donating, provided I don't tell them.

I'm always learning about the ways you can be disqualified from donating --the ones they don't ask you about but are hard to hide from.

"Somebody is having a birthday," she said.

"It's not me," I said and she smiled. She had my chart. Of course, she knew it wasn't my birthday, which would be a pretty miserable way to celebrate --though once, I did sort of plan to do that, but didn't.

"No, it's not your birthday," she said. "But we do something special for birthday people and for when you hit 100."

I knew I'd just crossed 50.

"What happens?"

"Oh, we give stuff," she said. "Sometimes it's a water bottle or one of those drink cozies."

However, sometimes, the gift is a kiss off.

"We had a client come in on his 60th. We really loaded him down with a t-shirt, a gym bag, the water bottle, the whole thing." She seemed sad. "The company changed hands a few months ago. They won't let us take anyone over the age of 60. So we gave him all the stuff, then someone had to tell him he couldn't donate any more."

So he came in for 20 or 30 bucks and left with a t-shirt, a gym bag and a water bottle --along with the message, don't come around here no more.

I hoped the guy needed the money less than I do. Odds are that wasn't the case.

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