Tag Archives: blood donation

Same routine, different location.

I toyed with the idea of headlining this post “Oops, I did it again”, but that just seems cliche now. And a little sad. And who could ever confuse me with Britney Spears? Okay, I’ll just stop now…

Saturday, I did it again: I donated blood.

According to the American Red Cross, “Diabetics who are well controlled on insulin or oral medications are eligible to donate”. When I learned this over a year ago, I was thrilled to know I could again participate in something I consider a civic duty.

This was the first time I had donated blood outside of my work environment, where they usually hold 2 or 3 blood drives every year. Instead, this time, I went to the local Red Cross office, which, thankfully for me, was only about a ten minute drive from home. I arrived early and was greeted by a friendly person who asked me to sign in, then chided me for looking at my donor card to double-check my blood type. “You should always know your blood type. It’s critical information in times of emergency”.

In my defense, I did know my blood type, but I wasn’t 100 percent sure of it until I looked again. For the record, I’m an O Positive. I think that’s kind of rare, because as soon as I’m eligible again, the Red Cross will start calling me, asking me to come back, the vampires. I joke all the time that the only two phone calls I ever get are from my wife and the Red Cross.

Only they don’t look like vampires down there. They’re just ordinary people going about their jobs, complaining about the bad children’s music blaring from the television in the waiting area, comparing nail polish, and talking about their husbands and wives. They make the whole process easy, comfortable, and as painless as possible.

It was about as nice an experience as you can have (sans the bad kiddie music) while having blood drained from your body. I generally don’t have any of the post-donation wooziness that some people experience after giving. But Saturday, I did have one or two moments where I needed to find a chair for a couple of minutes. Too much running around, I guess.

For the record, that makes four blood donations in a little over 13 months. It’s true… I have Type 1 diabetes and I can donate blood. And to quote Martha Stewart (which I thought I’d never do on this blog), that’s a very good thing.

Curious about whether you can donate blood yourself? If you’re in the USA, you can find all the info at redcrossblood.org, or send me an e-mail using the link in the upper-left corner of this page and I’ll tell you what I know.
 
 
 

Almost Wordless Wednesday – It means a little more today.

I took the time to donate blood back in February. Late last week, I received this in the mail. Even though it’s pretty much a form letter, it still made me feel good.

Now, after the senseless tragedy in Boston, and the call for additional blood donors to help those who are still being treated, it means just a little bit more.

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If you live in the USA, and you have diabetes, and you are, in the words of the American Red Cross, “well controlled on insulin or oral medications”, you may be eligible to donate blood. And I encourage you to consider doing so. You never know when it may be needed.

In addition to being Type 1, I’m Type O Positive. That may mean nothing to many, but may mean the world to others. Consider donating today.
 
 
 

I really did it.

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.

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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.
 
 
 

Let the bloodletting begin.

No, this isn’t about a bad experience removing an infusion set (fooled you, didn’t I?).

From the I Must Be The Only One Who Didn’t Know This Department comes this news flash:

I have Type 1 Diabetes, and I can give blood.

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When the word went out recently about a blood drive at my place of employment today, I had the same reaction I usually have. I thought, too bad I can’t donate. Prior to my diagnosis, I used to do that all the time. Like, at least twice per year.

This time though, I wanted to find out exactly why. Admittedly, I thought there might be a blog post in it, so there is some selfishness going on here. Anyway, I went to the American Red Cross blood donation site to see if they had any information on it. Then I was going to try to find another source to see if I could determine whether the information from the American Red Cross was actually true.

There’s not a lot of information on the Red Cross site, but two things jumped out at me. First, the big surprise:

“Diabetics who are well controlled on insulin or oral medications are eligible to donate.”

I was ecstatic to find out that I could actually donate blood. As I stated above, I’m probably the only one who wasn’t aware of it, but I was under the impression all these years that a bad pancreas meant bad blood, and I couldn’t give. My father’s life was saved after an auto accident over forty years ago thanks to some great doctors and blood donations, so I want to pay it forward. Plus, even though it may sound weird to some, I consider it kind of a civic duty to give.

Second, something just a little scary:

”Donors with diabetes who since 1980, ever used bovine (beef) insulin made from cattle from the United Kingdom are not eligible to donate. This requirement is related to concerns about variant CJD, or ‘mad cow’ disease.”

This is not a concern for me, thank goodness. So for now at least, I can still donate.

Don’t be too excited for me yet… I still have to go through the initial in-person screening questions and blood pressure, temperature, etc. tests before they’ll actually put the needle in. But I’m feeling pretty good about my chances right now.

To find out more about giving blood here in the USA, the process, and more, check out the American Red Cross blood donation website at www.redcrossblood.org

What about you? T1D or not, have you given blood? What was it like? Were you ever told you couldn’t give blood? If so, were you told why?

I’ll let you know more about my experience tomorrow…
 
 
 

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