Friday, August 31, 2012

No Cookies And Juice For Me

I didn't donate blood until I was 49 years old, but since that time I've given fairly regularly.  Originally I'd wait until our church had a drive, but last year I discovered there's a Red Cross facility 20 minutes away from my house, and I have a meeting on Friday morning that gets me half the way there.  You can donate blood every eight weeks so now when the stars align and I have a free day after my waiting period has passed I stop in and donate.  The process takes between 45 minutes and an hour, depending on how many people are there.  When I get done I help myself to the selection of juice and cookies, then go about my day.

I've done it so often I know the system.  You sign in and read a binder of information.  Once you are taken to a room, you get your temperature, pulse, blood pressure and hemoglobin checked.  Then you answer a set of computerized questions, sign some papers, and move to the donation area for the Main Event.  The phlebotomist cleans the skin on the inside of your elbow, gives you a ball to squeeze, then inserts the needle.  After you've given up your pint of blood the needle is removed, a small bandage is placed on the needle site, and a dressing is wrapped around your arm.  They ask you to sit in the refreshment area for 10-15 minutes, then you can leave.

I decided that donating blood today would be a nice kickoff to the Labor Day weekend.  When I arrived there was only one other woman ahead of me, so I only had to wait a few minutes. The Mini-Physical results were good, so it was time for the questions.  They're all  about your health history and places you've traveled.  I was zipping through them, when I came upon this one:


Well, I had gone on a Caribbean cruise back in the spring.  Did that count?  Turns out it did.  My affirmative answer to that question led to a longer series of questions about where I'd gone.  Two of the ports I'd visited (Grand Cayman and Falmouth, Jamaica) didn't pose a problem, but my time in Cozumel and the ruins at Tulum did.  The Red Cross considers that an area where malaria is found, and if you've been there you have to wait 12 months before you can donate blood again.

My name is now on a "Do Not Donate" list until March 30, 2013.  I'm sad I won't be able to give blood, but there's a side benefit--I won't be getting calls from Red Cross phone solicitors reminding me it's time to donate.


  1. My travels have permanantly barred me from donating. My long stay in Scotland sealed the deal (mad cow).

  2. Sad, but safe. Years and years ago (1960's) my mother-in-law needed surgery that might require blood. I took the bus across town to her hospital to donate a pint "in her name" in exchange for a pint she might use. The hospital had a tiny lab where the blood was drawn and when it was done the very tiny technician went away holding the bag very high, saying "Thank you for your precious blood."

  3. you and I have so much in tale goes back to 1994, when I traveled to the UK monthly, and because of "mad cow" disease, they wouldn't take my family loves to say that I am the mad cow.....smiles

  4. interesting about the blood donation, who knew?

    Happy Long Weekend!

  5. Wow...yes, who knew! I've been to lovely!