Thursday, October 31, 2013
Over the years when my health has permitted it, Iíve donated blood to the Red Cross. Unfortunately, my poor diet history has resulted in an off and on battle with anemia. For example, earlier in the 2000ís, I went for my annual check-up thinking I was doing well. However, the day after my visit, my doctor (not the nurse) called me to say, she wanted me to come in for a transfusion. She said my hemoglobin level was dangerously between 7-8 when normal for a female is between 12-16. She asked did I feel faint some of the time. I said no and also refused the transfusion. She insisted that I begin taking iron 3 times per day and return for a blood test in sixty days. Sixty days later my hemoglobin wasnít above 12 but it was in double digits.
Iíve grown to realize that since I donít like taking medication (especially iron), I must eat better. Iíve incorporated more iron rich veggies in my diet. For some of you, 3-5 veggies per day may be the norm. I have to make myself have 1-2 and Iím the same with fruit. Although Iím very much a carb loving carnivore, I donít necessarily eat a great deal of red meat. In spite of my diet weaknesses, in my heart Iíve wanted to keep my hemoglobin at a level that would facilitate my being able to consistently donate blood.
At my job, at least twice per year, the Red Cross sets up to receive blood donations. Although Iím proud to say that for the last few years Iíve maintained a hemoglobin level in the 11-12 range, twice the Red Cross has turned me down because I was below their minimum, 12.5. The last time they said no, I was at 12.2. I was bummed. But it makes sense that if Iím not in my best condition, Iím really not ready to help anyone else.
Last month, the email came saying the Red Cross would be at the office on Oct. 30th. I felt I was ready but decided to make sure. I began taking my multivitamins and vitamin C and increased my veggie intake. Although I often eat a Power Bar for breakfast, the instructions said have a big breakfast the day of the donation. So yesterday, I had half a breakfast burrito and half of my power bar. When the intake nurse said my blood pressure and pulse were fine, I was thankful but not surprised. Then she drew blood and said YES. I was at 12.9. Woo Hoo!! I never imagined being able to give blood being the highlight of my day but it was. Yesterday, the answer was yes. Learning I was/am healthy enough to give blood made my day and Iím determined to move from 12.9 to 13.5 and stay there.