Monday, December 06, 2004

Three Strikes You're Out

I have tried three times, unsuccessfully, to donate blood to Canadian Blood Services.

The first time I was about 18 or 19. I was told at that time that my iron was too low. I have taken a multi-vitamin supplement everyday of my life since then.

A few years later, confident that my iron levels were high enough, I tried again. This time I made it quite far in their screening process. I filled out some sheets, answered some questions, and read through a booklet. I even had my vital signs taken. I was just about in to go into the next room when the nurse asked me what I had for breakfast that morning. I had not eaten, and so I was sent home.

A few more years have gone by, and this morning I went in for a third time. Some of the nurses that I work with had all decided to donate blood together, since we work on a cancer floor and all we do all day is transfuse blood. Also, one of our colleagues was recently diagnosed with cancer.

When I woke up this morning, I took my multi-vitamin, made a nice breakfast of toast with peanut butter, a banana and a glass of milk. I thought that nothing would stop me today.

Well, I did pass the iron test, I even made it all the way into the donating chair. Almost as soon as the nurse stuck the needle in my arm, I heard her say, "Sorry dear. I missed the vein". I told her to try my other arm, but she said that their policy is that they can only try once. "Next time, make sure to drink more water before you come so you're better hydrated"

I knew then and there that there would be no next time. Probably not for a few more years anyway. This may sound like no big deal, but it was a big deal to me. I really wanted to donate. I can't even count how many blood transfusions I have administered in the last few weeks, let alone my entire career. I really wanted to do it. When she told me I was done, I choked back tears and told her my story. She seemed sympathetic, but it didn't help.

-Tracie, I just can't give my blood away

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