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mirror girl  Rockwell
I went to donate blood today. 

Looking at the paperwork I realized that it had been nearly two years since I had been in to donate.  The paperwork had changed so I had to read everything carefully.  It was organized in a new way, some old questions had been dropped and a few new ones added. 

I got to a question that was essentially "have you ever had cancer?" and stopped for a beat.  I realized that I'll be circling "Y" and explaining my diagnosis every time I donate forever.  (I figured I'd have to talk about it today, I was deferred for 18 months because of it.)  But nurses understand, and the talk was easy.

As always, I was thanked multiple times for coming in.  Given the deferral I was thanked especially for coming back.  Once I was in the chair everything went like I remembered.  The stick was easy and I've got no bruising at all.

I make a point of donating blood because volunteering is difficult with my crazy schedule, and it's something I can do for the community.  This is me asking everyone else to try donating as well.  The statistic I've seen is that only 3% of the eligible population donates.  I know not everyone is eligible, and some folks have a legitimate hatred of needles.  But if you can, it's an hour to 90 minutes of your time every eight weeks or so and there is no substitute for blood.  We all need it.

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3%? That's fucking insane. Wow.

That's the number Stanford has on their "please donate" materials - I didn't confirm it for myself anywhere. But yeah, it's a little sad.

I've sort of given up trying to give blood, because it seems like my iron level is always too low. I guess this is a common problem for women, particularly when they're having their periods, but apparently the Red Cross demands a higher number than what is generally deemed to be acceptable. In a way though, it can be like a mini (well, very mini) physical. Last time, my iron levels were really low (unacceptably low) so I started taking iron. I feel like I should go back and see where my iron level is now, but I'm hesitant to waste their resources. Of course, I could always wind up being able to give, but it just seems doubtful.

I really enjoy giving blood too. I may just be sick like this, but I think it is really interesting watching the blood come out of you (at least at the angle you can see while lying down) and thinking about that blood saving somebody else's life.

I had consistent iron problems for several years; I had to be really careful about what time of the month I went to donate blood. I wonder if Stanford's number is different than the Red Cross', I suppose that's possible. I have been told not to donate apheresis - my veins are too small.

And yeah, I've missed knowing what my pulse and blood pressure rate were on a regular basis. I'm grateful to be able to get back into the habit of donating.

Wow, they let you donate? I've been persona non grata since mine. I didn't realize they may have changed their rules and only require an 18 month deferral now. Good to know!

I would say call where you used to donate and ask. Stanford's rules are sometimes wonky compared to others, but with all of my one year scans clean I was good to go.

I'm not able to donate blood anymore because the last time I did, I ended up bottoming out on iron - the six months of Iron Injections and eventual Iron Transfusion were no fun. It makes me sad because it's something that is so simple to do (and I'm A- so they're always needing me) that has such far reaching impacts on people's lives. So now I help campaign to get people to do it for me.

Have you thought about being a bone marrow donor? I'm looking into it myself.

Ugh, that does not sound like fun. I was all excited that my iron was good this time, since I've struggled with being just below in the past, though nothing like what you had.

I've thought about bone marrow but haven't really looked into it yet. I know Stanford hosts typing for random folks once a year or so, I should get myself on their list.

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