Monday, November 24, 2008

Do you vant to suck my blood?

Apparently not!

Today I had an appointment with Canadian Blood Services to donate blood. It's the first time in seven years that I've donated, so I read a whole lot on their web page to make sure I was eligible.

See, the last two times I donated, I passed out. The first time, I was about 18 and weighed about 98 lbs. After I donated, I went back to work and promptly passed out on my client's floor.

I waited a few years and then donated again when I was in Ottawa. Five pounds heavier and more savvy about not doing any heavy lifting after giving blood, I was sure that I'd be fine. It took a while to pull that litre of life from me, but I did it. Afterwards, I indulged in quite a few cookies and juices before I felt steady on my feet. I went outside, lit up a smoke and once again, came crashing down.

It's now been seven years, 10 lbs and five years of being smoke-free. I'm healthy, well within the 110lb weight minimum, and my iron dropped like a stone in the first test. I was feeling good when I went in for me final overview with the nurse. She took my blood pressure (a little high at 145 over 68 - but hey, I'm about to give you a litre of blood, I'm nervous!) and my temperature (slightly warm despite my chilly hands) and was just about to start asking the crazy questions about my sex, drug and prostitution background when she noticed that I'd marked yes to "Have you ever experienced fainting?" I explained what had happened on previous occasions, but that much had changed. She just shook her head.

Apparently, they have a strict two strikes and you're out rule about fainting at the blood clinic. She said that although hospitals really need my blood type, they don't want to take it at my expense. And so, I'm now permanently blacklisted. Unless they change the rules, I can NEVER give blood again.

I'm torn about the whole situation. On one hand, I'm really sad that I can't give the "gift of life" any more. They say that although 1 in 3 people CAN give, only 1 in 60 people DO give. I wanted to be a giver. But on the other hand, I hate needles and I really don't like giving blood (does anyone?) so now I never have to and don't have to feel guilty about it.

So my good readers, perhaps you can make my conscience feel a little lighter. If only one of you decided to be a blood donor, you could take my place as that 1 in 60th person. You can be the hero. You could save up to 3 lives with just one donation and one hour of your time. What do you say? Will you feel the spirit of the season and give a special gift this Christmas? WIll you be a registered blood doner?


Nick and Ce said...

I admire your commitment and perservance Lucy. Shame their rules seem a tad over-protective and rigid.

You may like to know that my Mum was a very early giver of blood in the UK. Originally they took up to 4 pts per year (now just one me thinks). I remember her getting her 50 pt gold badge, and she went on to make 60 pts.

Her enthusiasm extended to dragging me down there on my 18th birthday to give my 1st pint. I remember it vividly, as we crossed the car park we passed a very white young woman who was being loaded onto a stretcher! She'd apparently passed out just as you did. Just what I needed to calm my nerves. I give, and went on to amass 12 pts (under newer rules) before giving up. Don't think they'd want mine now!!

The W.O.W. factor said...

You know, I've never lived close enough to just "go and donate" when they have those trailers set up. Not sure I'd qualify if they have a weight limit here too. Maybe I'll do some checking! I hate needles and I'm always a tad anemic...wonder if that makes a diff....hmmmm you've got me thinking now!

wordmama said...

Nick and Cess, it's good to know that the donating gene runs strong in our family. Even if it was a bit reluctant at first! I think I'm the only one in our family who gives. Lord knows they wouldn't take dad's blood!

W.O.W. I'm not sure how it works in the States, but here you can register for them to call you when a clinic is nearby. Plus - don't they pay you down there for the red stuff? You could get a side job as a blood letter! Might make all the difference in this recession!