Okay, lots of views on yesterday’s post. Guess “Let the bloodletting begin” is something that people just can’t roll over without clicking on. So, how did it go yesterday?
For the first time in over 23 years, I gave blood.
This was all done in a meeting room in the building where I work. Let me tell you how things went.
Since my appointment was just before lunch (not a smart idea in retrospect), about 1/2 hour before I went down to do the blood draw, I checked my BG. 81 mg/dL. I didn’t want to be low during the process, so I drank a juice box before I went down.
Once there, I signed in and received an eight-page folder of information to read. It was pretty much what I looked at online… the procedure, who can and can’t donate blood, some information about questions that will be asked during the question and answer session yet to come.
Then I had to go back behind a partition and answer a few more questions. Name, birthdate, etc. They asked me my name a lot during this process. I don’t know if that was because they wanted to make sure I was of sound mind, or if they were trying to catch me giving blood under an assumed name (why anyone would do this, I don’t know).
They also did a temperature check, took my pulse, and did a blood pressure check. Also, they did a finger stick to check the iron level in my blood. There were no tests at all, no questions at all about my diabetes, my blood glucose level, or how I felt.
All the tests they completed were fine, or at least fine enough for me to give blood. Once that was complete, it was time for me to answer a few personal questions in front of a laptop. I won’t go into the detail, but at least a few of them were of a very personal nature. But easy enough to understand, considering how the blood supply needs to be safeguarded.
At this point, I was finally ready to get the needle stuck in my arm and begin the actual blood donation part of the blood donation process. And not only do I bleed into a bag at this point, they also take some samples and set them aside. This is for additional testing, to see if I have hepatitis or HIV, that kind of thing.
In the end, I donated one pint of blood. I actually had the needle in my arm for about 10 minutes, I’m guessing. Start to finish, considering all of the reading, the questions, the screening, and the draining, the process took about 40 minutes. The process was easy, and the Red Cross people they assigned to this effort were well trained and great to talk to. They had Michael Jackson on the Pandora® in the room, and we all had a big laugh when I told them about deejaying back in the 80s, and how I would play some of that stuff both for wild-eyed boys at frat parties and at country club pool parties for the parents of those kids, and how both groups thought that dancing to Michael Jackson was pretty badass at the time. Don’t know why I threw that in there… it just makes me laugh every time I think about it. I was into John Coltrane, John Mellencamp, and George Clinton at the time, so I don’t really have much room to talk.
Anyway, the real thing I was worried about yesterday was the effect that donating blood would have on my BG. Turns out, not that much of an effect at all. After the blood draw, I went back to my desk and got an 84 mg/dL on my meter. I went to lunch and checked about two hours later: 145 mg/dL. When I got home after work, I was down to 79 mg/dL.
I’m not out of the woods yet, of course. The tests run on my blood may come back with something that makes me ineligible to donate again (but I really hope that’s not the case). I was told to expect a letter in the mail in about a week with the results.
The final verdict… donating blood was easy, in this case it was fun, and I will definitely do it again if I’m allowed to do so. Oh, and it was painless. My advice… It’s a personal decision. If you think you’re eligible, consider donating blood. There may be any number of reasons why you can’t or don’t want to do it. But don’t let the diabetes talk you out of it.