Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Hey baby, can you bleed like me?

I started giving blood my freshman year at BYU. They regularly host blood drives in the Wilk (the Wilkinson Student Center), and I'd try to stop by as often as I could. I got out of the habit after college, mostly because there weren't blood drives in buildings I walked through all the time.

I started going more regularly in the last couple of years.  Yay! The Red Cross now calls me every two months to schedule an appointment and there are two donation centers convenient to me, so I don't really have an excuse.

That is, until my iron levels started dropping inexplicably. They weren't dangerously low, just too low to donate. I upped my iron intake - supplements, leafy greens, broccoli, beef, and so on. I even started drinking more OJ (Vitamin C helps you absorb iron) and decreased my caffeine intake. Caffeine is bad for iron, an even though I don't drink a ton anyway, I'd rather be safe than sorry.

After a few iron fails, it finally worked! I'm still just barely passing the iron test, but it's passing! And maybe I get really excited about it every time I pass.

But there are still other questions I have to answer correctly to be eligible to donate. Now that I've been to Egypt, there's a new set of questions. "Have you been to Africa?"  "Yes." "Where?" "Egypt."  "Where in Egypt?" "Cairo and Alexandria." And then Cairo is on the approved list, but Alexandria isn't on either list so the tech has to go find a supervisor and ask them.  It also seems to matter HOW I traveled in Egypt. Train is acceptable, so I'm still in the clear.  If I'd never been to Africa, I could answer no and save myself five minutes.

If only I could do that with all the sex questions.  "Have you ever had sex?" "No." And then we'd move on. Of course, at my age, it would probably be followed with a "Really?" Really.

Still, it's a small inconvenience to answer all those questions to get to the point where I can help save some lives. Today, I passed the iron text (12.7!) and all the other questions.

Then, I found out that when I've had 2.3 liters of water to drink prior to my donation, my veins are a little juicy. Check out that blood spatter!

If you're eligible to donate blood, do it! Give blood - get cookies. What could be better?


Giggles said...

What could be better? Free t-shirts too! Or water bottles. Or frisbees. I like to donate blood as well. Did it all the time in college. Brasil is occasionally on the list for me. Isn't England on the list for you as well? Unfortunately for me, the local donation drives keep happening at bad times for me.

Good luck with the iron!

AmandaStretch said...

I got a free blanket this time! England is on the list, but my time does not yet cumulatively add up enough to be a problem and never requires a second opinion from someone else. :)

Erstwild said...

Also, some B vitamins, like Folic acid & B-12, are needed in blood formation.

I guess the Mad cow business is the reason England is on the restricted list.

AmandaStretch said...

Erstwild - That's my guess too. :)