Dealing with blood donation rejection and iron-deficient anemia

Donating blood and platelets: One of the easiest ways
to directly save lives. Learn more about it in this
Blood donation is easy, un-scary and saves lives” post.

This post was supposed to be about the awesomeness that is donating platelets. I donated for the first time a few weeks ago and okay, so maybe I was feeling cocky.

The clinic staff really, really takes care of folks making platelet and plasma donations. The chairs are comfier. The jokes funnier. The snacks tastier. You get the idea.

So I spend my two hours donating platelets which involves being hooked up to a machine that removes blood, spins it in a centrifuge, retrieves certain parts (i.e., platelets) and returns the rest. The nurses, they ooed and awed over my admittedly icky looking bag of platelets telling me I was saving babies and chemo patients. They thanked me so much I felt like a damn hero.

Color me surprised when a week or two later, the blood bank receptionist calls to cancel my upcoming appointments and inform me that I’m not allowed to donate again for four months! Apparently I’ve gone anemic again and despite having a good finger stick (the preliminary test to check blood levels), my red blood cells are lacking hemoglobin which is vital for carrying oxygen throughout the body.

A bag of platelets.

I have to laugh that my first reaction to the news was to feel affronted and angry at my sub-par blood cells. Yes, I got mad. At my red blood cells. After all, we’d given 25 pints of blood over the last several years and I prefer to excel at things, not be rejected. (Silly mindset, yes, I know.)

So now I’m back to battling anemia. And by “battling,” I mean eating iron-rich foods and other things that help iron absorption including:

– Meats (a good excuse for a steak dinner if ever I heard one)
– Legumes and peas
– Oatmeal
– Dark leafy greens
– Citrus
– Bananas
– Multi-vitamins (yes Shannon, I’m taking my Juice Plus)
– Breads and fortified cereals

Fun times!

Also, word to the wise: Anemia is really common among infants/young children and pre-menopausal women. The symptoms include feeling sluggish, weak, dizzy and tired, depending on severity. And do note that anemia can be a symptom of bigger problems (like cancer or ulcers) or be caused by issues much more major than iron deficiency, so keep in touch with your physician.

As I can’t give blood until next year, please consider donating in my absence. It’s an easy way to save lives!


P/S If you’ve never donated blood, read this post: “Visiting the ‘vampires’: Donating blood is easy, un-scary and saves lives”

Day 14- Cliteracy


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