For some reason I like to give blood. Maybe because I like to feel needed. They tell me I have a useful blood type and supplies are low. And it saves lives.

They won’t take my blood if I’ve been to countries like Nepal, India, Vietnam or Cambodia within the past 12 months. So it’s been more than a year since I’ve donated.

The other thing that keeps me from donating sometimes is low iron. Twice I’ve been turned away. Once for low iron and once because I didn’t know they wouldn’t take me within a year of having been to Nepal and India. Kind of embarrassing and irritating. You get in your head that you’re going to give blood and then they won’t take you.

But, but, you said I had a valuable blood type! You said you were in need!

I got an email yesterday about dangerously low supplies and ate a huge dark chocolate bar to boost my iron count in preparation to donate after work.

They’ve changed the questions, so I had to give a whole list of every country I’ve ever been to, and I actually felt guilty. Like I shouldn’t have gone to Africa in 1999. But none of that disqualified me.

The woman pricked my right middle finger to test my iron and in came in at 12. It needs to be 12.5. Another guy came in for a second try, this time on the left side, and it came in at 13.7. Phew.

Then I donated. And learned that after my next donation, I will have donated a gallon and will get a pin. Seems hard to believe I’ve donated seven times.

Unfortunately, I was lightheaded for a few hours afterward and my forearm hurt quite a bit. I don’t think that will stop me from donating again in eight weeks. I want that pin. Besides, I weighed 2 pounds less this morning. And that was after eating a huge chocolate bar plus two cookies after donating.

Published by Kari Neumeyer

Writer, editor, dog mom, ovarian cancer survivor

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