When I arrive I’m given a form to fill out mainly ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ questions.
I wait for a little while then my name is called. I’m so excited and privileged to be helping out in this way especially as I’m African and donations from the Black community is really, really needed!
The nurse is friendly she wants to clarify some of my answers especially in regards to travel and having had malaria in the past.
What age were you when you had malaria?
Have you traveled in the last 12 months? Where?
When did you last visit Nigeria (origin of my parents)?
The nurse seems to be satisified for the moment with my answers and proceeds to test my iron levels, she takes a prick of my finger (which hurt a bit, I must add, but not for long) and one in my arm! Then she puts a few drops of my blood in a test tube solution, then does it again, turns to me to say, “I’m so sorry to disappoint you…”
My face drops, I am disappointed there are people in the African/Caribbean community counting on receiving said blood!
“…Your iron levels are very low, they are 102.”
“Have you been feeling tired at all?”
“Yes, I reply sheepishly, but told myself to get on with it.”
“Typical Mum response” She says.
“Well your levels are too low and we cannot take your blood, let alone a pint.”
“Here are some leaflets and you must see your GP (general practioner) first thing tomorrow morning.”
Gulp. That’s it? I wondered. The nurse assures me they wouldn’t dream of taking my blood confirming my original fear that I could be in the small percentage of people who faint.
“You need to get your iron levels up to at least 118, although 125 is the goal and we’ll see you in 12 months.”
“12 months!” I respond alarmed. So, all those people who are counting on receiving my blood will have to wait 12 months??
Well, I dutifully see my GP today and she sends me off for the full blood works – liver and thyroid included. After having my blood taken at the hospital more painful pricking, the nurse tells me to expect the results on Monday 8th of May (4 days from now) and in 3 months I can attempt to give blood again following an improvement in my iron levels. Sigh, that’s a relief. 😀
My point is, yes, it is a bit of an inconvenience to you, but you are saving lives and who knows if it could be your own? (Might I add, I had had dizzy spells over the last 12 months when I was alone and who knows where I could of fallen, but I soldiered on). If I hadn’t been determined to give blood, I wouldn’t have realised how low my iron levels were and how ignorant I had been.
Please go register if you haven’t. You can walk into any drop in site near you, call or do it online, but just do it, you never know who you could save. Thank you in advance for registering and giving of your time and your blood. 😀
Give blood here or call them on 0300 123 23 23