A few years ago I tried to donate plasma and was told that I couldn’t, after waiting at least thirty minutes and going through the entire process which took at least another fifteen minutes I was told to go home. Why? It wasn’t because I was underweight or two short, or because of tattoo work done within the last year. All of these things were posted reasons why a person might be refused, none of them applied to me. They told me I couldn’t donate because I was distant. I didn’t get upset at first, I politely informed them that if they called the Nashville Red Cross office and had someone look up my name they would find I was a registered donor and therefore if I was perfectly capable of donating blood then plasma shouldn’t be a problem. They didn’t even pick up a phone. Now I was angry. I will be the first to admit that the fact that plasma donors get paid was a plus and I was not going to refuse the extra cash. However I have spent a lot of time in hospitals for various medical procedures over my lifetime and I look for ways to pay forward my good fortune whenever possible. My state ID is marked as organ donor and everybody in my family knows my feelings. If a stranger who would die the next day is given even six months longer to live because I die the my death and life have served a purpose.
They made a mistake when they told me, the reason I wouldn’t be allowed to donate. The nurse who told me did so in the waiting area. I was essentially told that I was too disabled to donate in front of roughly 25 people. Something switched in my brain. If they were going to imply that I was a second-class citizen then they would never, ever forget the day I came through that door.
I screamed, and not the incoherent rage screaming that my family will tell you I am capable of. How dare they shoo me away when I hear frequently about the need for more regular donors? It wasn’t a worry over my health because if it was you would have called Red Cross like I told you to, if I’m healthy enough to donate whole blood than I can surely donate plasma but you can’t even be bothered to pick up the phone and make a call that would probably take all of ten minutes! You even waved away the number to my doctor’s office If anybody could tell you whether I could safely do this or not it would be him!.That’s the gist of what I said anyway. I screamed load enough that the director of the facility came out of his office. I’m pretty sure by the time I left he regretted that decision because I soon as I saw him it got worse. He had had the final say on my donating or not. No I did not strangle him with his own tie but I thought about it.
Perhaps the funniest part of this is that they kept looking at my mom expecting her to try to cut my tirade short. She didn’t. She let me tear them up one side and down the other without so much as blinking. When we left you could have heard a pin drop. I asked her later why she had not done anything to stop me. She said I had a right to be pissed off and hopefully this would help enlighten able bodied people to the fact that we (disabled people ) have our own opinions and should not be ignored. I love her extra for that day.