Tuesday, March 3, 2009

What's the square root of hemoglobin?

In honor of Square Root Day, I donated blood today.

My blog is good for something, because I looked up the last time I donated. July 17, 2008. I'm up to 35 donations or 4.375 gallons, now. It will be YEARS before I hit 5 at this rate.

I would donate far more frequently if they wouldn't keep deferring me because they say I don't have enough iron. Although, no, they didn't defer me all seven months. I've managed to donate 35 times in spite of low hematocrit and other things. Other things such as: (Kia will remember this, and thanks Mr Farty for reminding me) The second or third time I donated, the needle hurt a lot. Then my mouth went very, very dry and I started feeling queasy. I could feel the blood draining out of my body.

"Does anyone ever throw up while doing this?"

Every phlebotomist in the place was suddenly looming over me holding a waste paper basket. I leaned over and threw up, managing to miss every single one. The needle was immediately whipped out of my arm, my chair was tipped back so my head was lower than my feet, and a cold compress placed on my head while I croaked, "I'm sorry." over and over. They wouldn't let me finish donating, even though I asked....

I've made sure I'm completely hydrated before going in ever since.

My father was the one who got me into it, and took me to the Indiana Blood Center the first few times about 13 years ago. He's donated gallons and gallons over the years, but he is now ineligible. His cumulative visits to England between 1980 and 1999 added up to more than three months, so his blood isn't considered "safe" anymore. Those darn mad cows over there. (Photo poached from Mr Farty)

It's definitely worth doing, though. There is never enough blood. Depending on the phlebotomist, most of the time the needle doesn't really hurt at all. And don't let one or two bad experiences stop you. It took three before my mother finally gave up!


Hairslave 24/7 said...

I would, but I can't bring myself to lie, and unfortunately I live one of those very unsafe lifestyles. Which is sadly boring for all that!

Anonymous said...

I love donating, so much that I am now volunteering to organize our Minnesota Atheists Donor Days! :) lol. Last time though, I ended up with a huge hematoma because I was doing well, then just stopped bleeding right in the middle of it. I don't know how that happens...
Also, I always have very good iron, but that's probably because I'm a chunky monkey. :)

Mr Farty said...

I've been bumped twice now for low iron, and told to eat plenty red meat while cutting down on the cups of tea...
he said, glancing at the fresh cup of tea on his desk, le sigh.

Well done!

Lesley said...

Yay you! You are awesome. I have tried to donate a couple times and am told I don't weigh enough. Which, if you ask me, just legitimizes my desire to eat a dozen cupcakes or so a day. ALL IN THE NAME OF (other people's) HEALTH!!

Kia said...

Are your visits to England going to get you un-invited from the Blood Bank? They became concerned when I told them I had been to Ireland (too close to England, I guess), but let me donate anyway. But I haven't been back to donate since the upchuck episode.

Laurie said...

David - Gay men probably comprised at least 5% of their donors before the ban. That is permanently lost.

Be really unsafe - come skiing with me!

Sunnyskeptic - I donate in the name of Atheists and Other Freethinkers here, but they haven't had a blood drive since I joined. Hmmm.

I'm a fairly chunky monkey, and it doesn't seem to help me... Sorry about your hematoma. Ouch!

Mr Farty - WHAT??? Cut down on tea??? Not going to happen. Do you think 6 or 7 cups a day is too many? Thanks!

Lesley - I wish I didn't weigh enough... Lesley the Petite Photoshop Pro. Princess? I was going to say Queen, but it didn't go.

Mmmmm, cupcakes.

Kia - I think I only went once for three weeks between 1980 and 1999, so I'm okay. The woman writing down my info got overzealous when I told her that I went to England, Scotland and Wales and almost ran out of room on the form. United Kingdom would have worked fine.