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The Trickle - blood donation and Africa

April 26, 2010 - Brian Ferry

Blood donation update

Actually, a trickle doesn't really accurately represent the flow of blood issuing forth from my arm on Wednesday. It was something short of a gusher, but the needle was out of my arm about 12 minutes after it went in. I missed my usual donation location, the very convenient Holy Redeemer Center, on Tuesday due to lack of brain function. So, I played catchup and hit the Youngsville Volunteer Fire Department. I'd expound on the joy of the great facility, but giving blood anywhere is not a great way to explore your surroundings. Basically, every time I've given blood, it's been in a big, fairly boring room. I digress. The signup form for giving blood has a checklist for all kinds of at-risk behaviors. They don't take your blood if you aren't considered "clean". Every time I'd given, I carefully went over the form, trying to figure out if I'd taken any of the medications on the list (they're always the same, but I forget within the two to four months between donations). And I always had to check that I'd been to Africa. The person who then goes over the paperwork with the applicant double checks the information. In my case, I was asked when and where I'd been. Morocco was not on the "naughty" list, so I was always cleared to continue. On Wednesday, I got to the end of the form and went back to fill in the ones I'd missed. I hadn't. There was no Africa question. So, anyone who was ever turned away from donating because they'd been to a certain part of Africa is now good to give again. The problem, to my mind, is that those people may never know they can now give. Why would one bother to go back if they knew they couldn't give? For all those millions out there reading this, if you have given up on giving blood because of your 1982 trip to Zimbabwe (I don't know if Zimbabwe is on the list, I just like thinking, typing and saying Zimbabwe) stop in at the Holy Redeemer Center on the third Tuesday in any month (exception: this June - fourth Tuesday), or Youngsville VFD on the third Wednesday, or wherever your local donation point is and give it another try. While you're there, try out the double-red cell apheresis machine (if it's available - people are scooping up the reservations quickly). Body modification is still on the no-no list. If you've had a piercing or tattoo in the last 12 months, you can't give. You'll have to wait it out. It's a worthy cause.


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