I started donating blood around this time last year when a clinic came to my school. I was nervous about doing it because needles make me anxious and blood work makes me queasy, but it was something I wanted to try. It’s a good thing to do, and as I have type O- blood, they want people like me to donate. I ended up loving it! I mean hey, doing good AND free cookies? What’s not to love? Including Friday, I’ve donated three other times. It would have been four, but my iron was too low once.
To be honest, I was worried I was going to have trouble this time around. My iron was fine (thank you, bowl of Frosted Cheerios), but I thought I was going to pass out after getting my finger pricked. I grabbed a juice and perked back up. Then I remembered that I had taken anti-inflammatory pills a few days prior and was worried they would disqualify me from donating. They didn’t. I was told I had low blood pressure and that made me more likely to pass out, which made me nervous. Once it was my turn to donate, the nurse said my vein was really small and I was worried she’d have to poke around a bit to find it, and I knew that would make me queasy. However, she had no trouble and everything was fine, until a few minutes in when I started to feel faint again. One of the nurses said to unhook me, but I’m too stubborn for that. I said I just needed to lay back a bit and maybe have some cold cloths and I’d be fine. Sure enough, ten minutes later (not my best time), I had filled the bag.
The machine you’re hooked up to makes a cool boopity-ding noise when you’re done. It sounds like something out of a Mario game. It felt like I had leveled up!
Of course, they tell you to take it easy for the rest of the day and not to do any heavy lifting, but I work in a warehouse. That’s not really an option for me. Fortunately we were way ahead at work so I could take it easy.
Canadian Blood Services has been in the news lately because of a change in policy. It has been approved to change the deferral period for men who have sex with men (MSM) from indefinite to five years since last MSM. This is something they have been looking into for a few years and will be put in place this summer. Internationally there is no consensus on MSM activity and blood donation; some countries are sticking with the indefinite rule while others have moved to a one year deferral. With five years, it seems Canada has chosen a happy medium. You can read more about this change in this article.