I actually attempted this during my original 30 days back in September 2012. I attempted to do it on Day #19, and signed up to donate at Conn College. I drove all the way there, waited in line, and then saw the sign that said “You may not donate if…..” As I read down the list, one item caught my eye: “You may not donate blood if you have traveled outside the country in the last 12 months.” Well, dag nabbit, I had gotten back from India the December before! That’s close enough, right?
So I went up to a guy that looked like he was in charge, and said “I traveled through India, but I got back in December.” He looked at me strangely, trying to figure out the problem. “Indiana?” he verified. “Uh, no…INDIA.” “Oh! NOPE!!!! ABSOLUTELY NOT! See ya in another few months!” was his final judgement.
At first I didn’t understand why, but after hearing that malaria may incubate even after a traveler returns home, I began to see his point. And seeing how I forgot to take the recommended monthlong-worth of pills that I was supposed to take after home to keep that incubation period from happening (I later found the pills in a hidden pocket of my backpack!), I figured I should probably listen to the dude and not pass on malaria to an unsuspecting blood transfusion patient. Because, honestly, if you’re getting a blood transfusion, you probably do not want to worry about malaria on top of whatever it is that you’re getting a blood transfusion for to begin with!
Anywho, day #19 of that original month was shot. I ended up taking my first bubble bath that day anyways!
Flash forward a year and change later, and I was ready to try again! Heather is a regular blood donor at Waterford’s town hall, and had signed herself up for this past Friday. I decided to tag along and see if I could get the green light this time (no third world countries traveled in the past 12 months!)
She gave me an idea for a sort of regimen to follow so that my body would be prepared on Friday. Basically, it included a lot of water (which is REALLY HARD FOR ME!!! i’m like a human camel. I consume maybe 10 oz of liquid a day. mostly alcohol. hahaha), a multi-vitamin that included iron (I’ve always had a super low iron level since I gave up most meat at age 11), and lots of protein and leafy greens. She said the most important thing was to not drink alcohol Thursday night and drink lots of water and eat a good meal on Friday.
I followed the regimen all through the week. Uhhhhh…..EXCEPT Friday. Because I’m an idiot!!!
I had a lot of errands to run that morning and was all over the place in different towns. So I had maybe 8 oz of water all morning and one piece of toast with peanut butter on it. I thought I’d have enough time to stop at Panera for lunch, but I ended up not having any time to eat it until after the donation.
They ask a lot of questions (and personal ones, at that! Yikes!!), test your iron level (you need a 12.5 to donate…I had a 12.9! Woo!!!), and then ask you even more questions. I was cleared to give blood!! Woo hoo!!!
This is what I looked like before the donation:
I was pretty worried that I was going to pass out! But it went fine, no problems! Afterwards I ate my lunch and drank some water. I was no spacier than normal (although I WAS having a kind of spacy day anyways. MEH!!) The rest of the day went fine, except my arm kind of looked like it belonged to a heroin addict:
In a month or two, I’ll receive my donor card and it’ll tell me what my blood type is! I’m very excited….I have NO idea what mine is.
I would definitely recommend this to everyone. It felt great knowing that I could keep someone alive in the future, and that it only took about an hour tops to do so. And it didn’t hurt at all! Just a few pokes here and there.
Other notable firsts:
* I had never seen “Fargo.” I felt terrible laughing because I thought the movie was serious when it said it was based on real life (I had to google it…it really wasn’t!!). But overall it was awesome. And the accent was amazing. I was Sarah Palin a few years ago for Halloween and still slip back into that accent now and then. I think my favorite saying was “Darn Tootin’!”
* I had never seen the documentary “Bronies.” Bronies are adults, specifically male, who really like the show “My Little Pony.” At first I was sort of….concerned….but then I realized that for a lot of these guys (and boys), having a community built around the show was sort of like their Laurel Music Camp for me. It’s a group of people who have one interest and are able to built friendships and find meaning in life through those friendships. My judgement wilted away as the documentary continued, and I think it’s great now! Go Bronies!!
* I had never tried the beer Wachusset Green Monsta IPA before. Delish! But I wasn’t in the mood for an IPA so I went with Magic Hat #9 instead.
* I had never been to the Bleu Squid in Mystic! My friend Meagan works there and I stopped in to say hi. It took me a few drive-arounds to find it, because it’s in a plaza that I didn’t know existed! I bought two types of cheeses: a caramelized onion cheese and a guinness/cheddar mixture. Both were delicious. I also bought a salted caramel cupcake and almost died from happiness. It was AMAZING!!!! I need to go back and try their lobster mac and cheese. They’re known for their cupcakes and mac and cheese and grilled cheeses. yummmmmmmmm!!!!