A few weeks ago, my office had a blood donation drive in the conference room. I did not sign up due to concerns over privacy, I was not too excited at the prospect of rolling my sleeve up and laying on one of those medical chairs during the process while my co-workers both male and female walked in and out of the conference room.
As I was discreetly trying to make my way out of the office that Friday, some of my colleagues flagged me down and a bit reluctantly, I offered to participate in the blood drive.
I filled out the required paperwork and then a nurse came over to ask me some questions, some were rather generic like height and weight (one of my coworkers, a former nun was disqualified for being underweight i.e. less than 110 pounds), and another colleague was disqualified for having had a major dental procedure in the last three days.
I was asked about my past travel experience, it’s a good thing that I did not travel to Nigeria last year with my family for my grandmother’s funeral or I would have been disqualified, traveling to West Africa or some other areas around the world in the previous 12 months are grounds for automatic disqualification.
I was asked if I was born in or had ever stayed in Africa for more than six months at a time and I replied that I had not, my longest stint in Nigeria was about 2-3 months.
I was asked if I had ever had sex with a man born in West Africa after 1977 and I replied that I had not. I felt a bit offended but I suppose that is better than the “have you had sex with a man that has had sex with a man before” question.
Then the nurse asked me if people had trouble pronouncing my name and I replied, yes, almost everyday. She said, she encountered the same and showed me her name badge and funny enough I wasn’t entirely sure how to pronounce her name either so she said it for me.
It seems that I had passed the initial questioning phase so I was shuffled along to the snack table before being called by another nurse who pricked my finger to obtain a blood sample to be analyzed by a small machine on the table. The results came back within a few seconds and I was disqualified or rather given a two week deferment due to my being slightly anemic.
The nurse mentioned that if I wanted I could take some iron tablets for a few weeks to boost the iron in my blood and then she recommended a stool softener in addition because the iron tablet would most likely cause constipation.
I am all in favor of donating blood if one is able to do so even though I do not intend to take a mineral and vitamin supplement which has side effects that would require me to take medicine to treat those same side effects when I currently do not experience any of the major symptoms of anemia just so I can donate blood unless someone can convince me that it is worthwhile to do so.