Roadblocks to donating plasma with mental illness

All I wanted to do was donate plasma and make a little extra cash. I could use the extra cash since I was no longer working a side job. I have no problems with needles, no major illnesses that should preclude me from the donation process (so I thought) and I figured it would be an easy way to make some money. I did know that some of my medications may be an issue so I was honest about them. But DAMN, I had NO IDEA that having a mental illness was going to throw up so many roadblocks to being a plasma donor — as if my depression was catching or something. (It’s not.)

Take a look at this questionnaire that my doctor needs to fill out, saying that I’m “OK to donate”. This one medication that I take, Topamax, is what threw up a red flag in the system — it’s an anti-psychotic. I don’t take it for that reason, I’m taking it off-label for trichotillomania … which falls under OCD disorders, which is ALSO a red flag in their system. But look at this. Tell me this isn’t the most offensive thing you’ve seen regarding mental health. As if someone who has depression or any of these disorders (and is IN TREATMENT) is unable to understand what they are doing.

See, in order to even get as far as talking to the nurse, you’ve had to have your blood drawn (it took 1 1/2 months for me to get my hematocrit levels high enough to even get this far. I’ve been trying since June 26 to do this!) and then answer a 20 minute questionnaire. If you’re so mentally impaired that you can’t decisions regarding your medical care, you 1) wouldn’t have even been able to answer the questions or 2) drive to this center on your own. We have a mental illness, we’re not mentally disabled or developmentally disabled!! I’m utterly furious and offended by this and brought it up to the management. The manager I spoke to agreed with me, and said while she personally agrees that the language in it is utterly reprehensible, the company is bound for US FDA, CA FDA, Japanese FDA and a host of other regulatory agencies and they’re all not quite so “enlightened about mental health”.

I understand needing to know that the patient will be safe if some of their medications are taken out of them via their plasma. That’s cool. That’s making sure the patient will remain stable. But….legal guardian? I’m 50 years old and stable, thank you. I don’t need someone making decisions for my care. WTF.

So now I’m waffling between even having this filled out and returned by my doctor. I’m FINE with the one needed by my CPAP doc for sleep apnea, it’s not nearly as invasive. But this….this assumes I can’t make my own decisions. And all because I wanted to make a little extra cash. Just how badly do I need this money? That’s the big question now, isn’t it.

For the record, it’s BioLife Plasma that’s asking. I’m not sure if other centers ask the same but I imagine they probably do.

EDIT 2:20 pm. Just got a call from Biolife. Apparently my bleach allergy automatically disqualifies me. Seriously? It’s not even that bad an allergy … I only get sick if you pour the shit on me straight. Fuck this shit.

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