Happy Election Day Friends!
I have been pleased to read all of the positive stories coming from the Northeast about mobile polling places and making sure Sandy victims are still able to participate.
The ongoing news about Sandy, the aftermath, damage and survivors and heroes is really amazing.
There is this story about Mike & Tony. Mike nearly drowned in the flood waters, broke into a woman’s home and survived there by using her blankets to keep warm. He was later reunited with his dad, Tony. A heartwarming story with lots of heroes.
A story from last week that had me riled up was the New York City Marathon fiasco, with Mayor Bloomberg saying the marathon must go on (which I did not agree with) and then due to the extreme backlash from the public, the marathon being cancelled. The entire situation was not handled well, but I was so happy to see runners take it upon themselves to “race” on Sunday anyway, and in the process do so much for the victims of Sandy. I think this is what Mayor Bloomberg was hoping for, this coming together of people, and maybe the marathon would have done an even better job than the impromptu gathering of runners, but there was too much angst about it. Personally, I can see both sides, but I still think the right decision was to cancel the event for this year.
Another story that continues to come out is about the need for blood donations for the American Red Cross. There have been hundreds of blood drives that had to be cancelled in the days leading up to and after the hurricane or superstorm as they are calling it now.
I wrote last week that people can donate to the American Red Cross by visiting their website, or by texting REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10. I also wrote that I had made a donation and had made an appointment to give blood. My appointment was yesterday afternoon.
I headed down to my local American Red Cross blood donation center feeling pretty happy with finally doing something I have thought about doing and wanted to do for years.
When my mom was hospitalized in 2010 she was in the ICU, had major abdominal surgery, etc., and part of that process was giving her a lot of blood. When my sister in law was assaulted she, too, had to have major surgery, lost a great deal of blood and had to have blood replaced. It is critical for modern medicine to work that we have an ongoing significant supply of blood. The blood comes from everyday people like you and like me, who want to make a difference.
I wanted to make a difference. My blood would likely stay in my own community, but that is totally okay.
Turns out that my sticker is a lie, though.
I wasn’t allowed to give blood yesterday.
I already knew there are many rules associated with giving blood. People need to be healthy to donate blood and there are many factors that are considered, including places where people have traveled, lived long term, sexual practices, drug history, past illnesses and more.
For me, I was rejected from giving blood yesterday by a margin of .3.
One of the first things they do is test the donors blood to see what the iron level is in the blood. It is important, I was told, for both the donor and eventual recipient that the blood be iron rich. The American Red Cross uses a slightly higher standard than the “normal” range for men and women.
The normal range for women for blood hemoglobin is 12.1 to 15.1. My level was 12.2 in my left middle finger and 12.1 in my right middle finger.
EDIT: the minimum required for women is 12.5.
I was not qualified to donate yesterday!!
I was bummed, but also a little relieved. I started to get a little nervous while I was sitting there waiting, thinking I might pass out, though I don’t mind having my blood drawn for lab work, etc, so I think I just had too much time to think.
The good news: I am not disqualified forever…I could go back today and try again if I had the chance.
My plan is to make another appointment for perhaps this weekend (they have only part-time hours so I have to coordinate with school) and make sure I eat a nice steak and spinach salad before hand to pump up the iron levels. Maybe I can convince Chris to go with me, too??
I don’t think I will be nervous, or as nervous, next time now that I have been there and have a better idea of what to expect.
I still want to encourage anyone who thinks they are eligible to consider donating blood. As the saying goes, the life you save could be your own! (Incidentally, the American Red Cross does have a program where you can donate your blood to be used for yourself only.)
So, despite being rejected I have not given up!
I just had an idea! What about a virtual blood drive? Would anyone who reads this be interested in participating in a virtual blood drive? Perhaps we can schedule it for a week from Saturday and spread the word to have people set appointments at their local Red Cross to donate? That would be cool! I might look into that.
Thoughts? Anyone willing to participate? Let me know!!