I first donated blood when I was just a teenager. I was so excited when I was finally eligible to do so.
Over the years, many things have kept me from donating. The main one seems to be that the blood drives I hear about take place when I tend to get sick in the winter time. Of course, I couldn’t donate any time I was pregnant or had just given birth.
One time, I was turned down because my iron level was too low. Another time, I was ineligible because I had been to another country. The worst part of it was I was in a part of that country that was considered ‘safe’ for blood donations, but their computer system was down at the donation site (it was on a Saturday), so they couldn’t check to see which regions would or would not disqualify me. Of course, they couldn’t just take my word for it that I had checked online and made sure it was okay. The other thing that was frustrating was that I was literally days away from the end of the ‘ban’. I think it was a one year ban from donating after being in certain parts of the world, and it had been just shy of one year since I had returned to the US.
It didn’t help that I have had dizzy spells at times when donating blood. One time, I sat up too quickly, and almost passed out. I have found that making sure to be VERY well hydrated has solved that problem, though.
My commute to work now takes me past a hospital that has fairly frequent blood drives. I have been wanting to go, but they have always been scheduled at times I couldn’t go for one reason or another.
Recently, my son donated blood for the first time at a blood drive at his school. Apparently, you need a parent’s signature at age 16, but then you are allowed to donate (in some states) if you are eligible based on height and weight. I was very proud when he told me he donated. Seeing how happy he was to be able to help others that way made me more determined to start donating blood again. I saw a sign for a blood drive this Friday, and am happy that I feel healthy and there are no other factors that should keep me from donating. I scheduled my appointment online. I already put in a leave request to go to work a little late if necessary, and it’s been approved.
Now, all I have to do is wait, and make sure to eat healthy foods and drink plenty of water! I also want to make sure to get enough sleep, too. Basically, the things I should always do!