All things medical make my limbs twitch. E.R. made me queasy. To say ‘I am not good with needles’ is an understatement. Today I did something I never thought I could. While I’d said for years that I wanted to, even searched for donation locations, it was a huge obstacle looming out there. I’ve nearly passed out from routine, necessary blood test withdraws; for me, this was like, ugh…
Many people donate blood, some regularly enough to consider themselves ‘good’ at it. The staff of New York Blood Center running the show today were patient and kind…though, I’m sure my kind are the bane of their existence. I’m one of those who asks TONS of questions and over shares. Oh, and I have this nervous habit…I laugh. Basically, I’m the donor from hell.
So what makes someone like me pony up a pound of blood? Gotta represent.
Yesterday a few others in my office had given blood. Well, two did. The third, a vegetarian, got her finger pricked and was sent away. As one encouraged me, the other remembered I was vegan. ‘Oh you may not be able to. She couldn’t. They said she had low iron.’
‘Veggies have iron,’ I replied.
He turned to the encouraging gentlemen and commented, ‘I’m just making a general statement that all vegetarians have low iron.’ He of course meant no harm and was being sarcastic.
My resolve grew steadily after that point, though. ‘F this sh*t,’ I thought in a general sense. The misconceptions of life being vegetarian are numerous and largely unreasonable. While he might be willing to allude through humor that he could be wrong, I wanted to squash this potential incorrect correlation. So I made an appointment for the next morning.
All through the night this little ball of worry was in the back of my head, ‘What if I have low iron? What if it’s true?’
Tada! Check out my pretty blue bandage. Veg*ns can donate blood.
We play mental games with ourselves. I’ve wanted to do this for years. When you approach a decade considering something, it might be time to go for broke. I think the giggling and laughing was to distract myself from the thought, ‘There’s a piece of metal in my arm.’
My experience went well. I’m sure some people have horror stories…hearing them is in large part why I built this up so high in my head. Couple of tips if you made it this far through the story and are considering donating (not passed out on the floor):
- Want to do it.
- Relax. Easier said than done.
- Ask as many questions as you darn well please.
- Eat a big salad the night before. (Eating healthy salads are good always though so don’t feel the need to reserve these for special occasions.)
- Have a good breakfast. I wouldn’t suggest Denny’s Grand Slam before doing this…ok, I wouldn’t recommend that any day…but I was told to eat something substantial.
- Stay hydrated.
- If you have a quirk, say something. Generally I think people look away. I got told to, but I’ve found that seeing it go in helps me not jump.
- I started getting nervous at the end cause my arm started to tingle. That’s apparently normal given, um, what you’re doing.
- This shouldn’t be painful. Coming from me, that’s saying a lot. If you are in real pain, don’t be ashamed to speak up.
According to WebMD, five of the top 10 iron-rich foods include,
- Dark, leafy greens (spinach, collards)
- Dried fruit (prunes, raisins)
- Iron-enriched cereals and grains (check the labels)
- Beans, lentils, chick peas and soybeans
Let’s forget about the others, like eggs and red meat, that come with the added cholesterol. The site also suggests that “if you eat iron-rich foods along with foods that provide plenty of vitamin C, your body can better absorb the iron.” So eat your leafy greens and help save a human life…in additional to all those cute animals.