Blood! At last!Posted on 7 September 2013 | 2 comments
I’ve been trying to donate blood for a long time, but every time my iron was too low. So frustrating. Trying to raise the iron levels with food was a failure (it did help, but not enough), and I’m willing to take iron pills only intermittently because I don’t like how my intestines react to them. Nevertheless, my church was having another blood drive for Children’s National Medical Center, so I signed up to give it a try yet again.
The tech pricked my finger and ran the blood sample in the centrifuge. She took out the little tube and measured it. Only 33. You need to have 38 to donate. I was distraught. She turned the tube around and very carefully aligned it. 37. She tried again. 38! She said you can get slightly different numbers by turning it, realigning it, and measuring again, but that was the first time she’d seen it go from 33 to 38. She said it was meant to be, and I had to agree. I was practically giddy.
Next to hit a vein. That’s always difficult on me. The first two phlebotomists couldn’t feel a vein. I grew worried. To finally hit the iron mark and still not be able to donate was unthinkable. I prayed for a vein to reveal itself. They had me move to another bed to try the other arm. The second phlebotomist still couldn’t feel a vein, so a third came and tried. I’m honestly not sure whether he could feel anything or just got lucky, but he stuck the needle in and hit blood immediately. (It also hurt less than usual. I was impressed with his skill.) The blood flowed fast and I filled up the bag quickly.
A little juice and cookies later, and I was on my way.
If you meet the requirements to donate blood, I highly recommend it. And if you’re in the DC area, I highly recommend donating to the Children’s National Medical Center. This is the first time I’ve donated at their bloodmobile. I’ve previously tried by going to their donation center at the Children’s Hospital itself. The staff are very nice, and they’ll also give you a pass so you don’t have to pay for parking.