Thursday, June 11, 2009

Blood Confession (part 1)

I have a confession. I cannot believe I'm going to admit it. But, I am sure that some of you know exactly how I feel.

I have never given blood.

It is not because I don’t want to save a life, because I do. It is not because I have a disease that prevents me from giving blood.

I am terrified of needles.

It isn’t a “Goodness, needles are so scary” phobia. It is a knock-me-out-because-I-do-NOT-want-to-be-awake-if-you-are-coming-within-20-miles-of-me-with-a-needle phobia.

For example, a few years ago, I needed an IV for a MRI scan. The needle came out, and I went down. In fact, I passed out three times.

It actually went something like this: the needle emerges… I pass out… I throw up… I pass out… I throw up… the doctor picks me up off the floor… I pass out again.

In Marlee Matlin’s memoir, an American Red Cross celebrity cabinet member, wrote about the importance of giving blood. I started to feel really guilty. If I ever need blood, I hope that someone would be willing to share some of theirs with me, even if they are devastatingly afraid of needles.

Since today, is World Blood Donor Day, I thought it was a good idea to take my first step towards being a blood donor. After enlisting my friend, Hannah, to share in my horror, we headed to the nearest blood drive to face my fear.

They took us into rooms to check our iron levels. My result: 12.3. (In case you don’t already know, 12.5 is the minimum iron level needed to give blood. The reason behind this: the people receiving the blood need the best possible since they are already sick). After a second attempt (12.2), I realized the inevitable.

I couldn’t give blood.

Hannah ended with an 11.2. We should have looked over the tips for a good donation experience.

Determined not to let a lack of iron bring us down, we took the tips to heart and have been eating iron-rich foods, in addition taking good multi-vitamins. So, we will head back to the blood center after our iron is high. I’ll let you know how this time goes.

Until then… to be continued.

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