PDA

View Full Version : OT: Blood Donations



TsPoet
01-17-2007, 02:16 PM
My company's blood drive guy says (and I'm paraphrasing, since I wasn't taking notes)
The Pacific Northwest is in its worst donor blood crisis in years. Due to the weather, some Red Cross offices have had to be closed off and on - and that means there isn't enough blood.
He says - please donate if you've ever even thought about it.

KnottedYet
01-17-2007, 08:02 PM
I can't. Once you've had cancer you are a huge NO-NO in the donation world. No blood. No bone marrow. No participating in AIDS vaccine trials.

Oooh, do I sound bitter? I don't mean to be bitter! Everyone who can, please donate while you can! Someday you may be disallowed, and you will feel regret and gnash your teeth over being left out!!

Do it NOW!!!

Dianyla
01-17-2007, 08:36 PM
Do it NOW!!!
Unless you're anemic or have low iron. Which a huge percentage of female athletes are, due to menstrual blood losses and the higher iron requirements of endurance exercise.

Be aware that the simple "iron drop" test done by blood donation organizations is very rudimentary and will only disqualify you from donating if you're seriously anemic. If you are borderline it will often say you're good enough to donate.

I'm not trying to trash the Red Cross or other phlebotomy charities, but please just be aware of this. Visit your doctor and have your serum ferritin levels tested to know whether you need to be supplementing with iron pills if you still wish to be a blood donor.

East Hill
01-18-2007, 09:12 AM
Mr. East Hill and I donated last on December 29. I have donated over 54 units in my lifetime. Mr. East Hill is not far behind, with 49 units.

We'll donate again after our minimum recovery time.

KnottedYet, I would assume that you had leukemia or one of the lymphomas? Not asking you to reply, but it is possible for some cancer survivors to donate, as per the American Red Cross website:

Cancer
Eligibility depends on the type of cancer and treatment history. If you had leukemia or lymphoma, including Hodgkin’s Disease, you are not eligible to donate. Other types of cancer are acceptable if the cancer has been treated successfully and it has been at least 5 years since treatment was completed and there has been no cancer recurrence in this time. Some low-risk cancers including squamous or basal cell cancers of the skin do not require a 5 year waiting period.

Precancerous conditions of the uterine cervix do not disqualify you from donation if the abnormality has been treated successfully. You should discuss your particular situation with the health historian at the time of donation.



East Hill

SadieKate
01-18-2007, 11:30 AM
I wish! I wish! We had a long conversation about blood donation on Thread Drift (is that the right thread), and there are several of us knocked off the list for a variety of reasons. We are a danger to others.:(

MomOnBike
01-18-2007, 01:04 PM
As a mother of a daughter who has had a very serious GI bleed :eek: twice :eek: I donate every chance I get. I realize how important it can be.

It's worth walking around for a while feeling a quart low. Someone needs the blood. Oddly, I just hope it's nobody I know.

KnottedYet
01-18-2007, 02:11 PM
East Hill - thanks for the info! Nope, I'm still disqualified cuz I had one of the "baddies" and my doc keeps catching pre-cancerous boogers at my check-ups. So while I haven't had an actual malingnancy in 12 years (yay!) my little cells are still trying to start careers of their own every so often.

But I'm not dead yet! (get it? Not Dead Yet... KnottedYet.) Someday I'll be able to donate again! (I have "o" blood.)

emily_in_nc
01-18-2007, 02:13 PM
I can't donate because I weigh less than 110. I used to be able to, but then I lost weight. I tried to donate once since then (lied about my weight), but it took an hour, and they still couldn't squeeze an entire donation bag out of me. My BP was borderline too low too, so that may have been the problem. I feel bad that I can no longer donate, but not to the point that I am willing to gain weight....

Emily

Bluetree
01-18-2007, 04:19 PM
Emily, me too. I was kinda upset the last time I donated, I asked them if there was a weight limit and they assured me, "no problem." I think I weighed about 102 lbs. at the time. Needless to say, I completely passed out at the clinic, had to find a ride home and felt awful for about two days.

After that, they kept calling me to donate every two weeks, no matter how many times I asked them to take me off their call list. :mad:

Still, if I ever gain enough weight, I'll donate again.

Offthegrid
01-18-2007, 05:16 PM
How funny -- I donated blood today. But I'm on the other end of the country.

Eden
01-18-2007, 05:32 PM
My mom said that when she was young they used to take 1/2 pints (no joke!) from people under 110. They have to do so much testing these days that it isn't worth it to take any less than a pint.

bcipam
01-18-2007, 11:38 PM
Up until last Fall I was a regular blood donor - for 11 years. Every 56 - 60 days I was at St. Jos. Each time I went in I had to fill out a questionaire. Each time I filled out the questionaire there were new questions about countriies I've travelled too and things I've done. I had sort of put it in my mind that I would never go to England, China, Africa cause you aren't able to donate blood if you've travelled in those states.

With my cancer, I got anemic and could not donate. I'm still anemic and working on that but I was unaware that if I got cancer, I would not (at least for 5 years) be able to give blood. That sucks!

Anyway where my ramble was leading me - if you can give blood please do - the donor possibilities get narrower and narrower each year. Pretty soon no one will be able to give! Your precious gift is so needed especially if your are type O or AB or RH -. Even my common blood A+ is needed!

East Hill
01-19-2007, 04:04 AM
I had sort of put it in my mind that I would never go to England, China, Africa cause you aren't able to donate blood if you've travelled in those states.

It's not that you can't donate, especially in regard to the travel to England. There is a graduated cut off depending on how much time one has spent there (due to mad cow disease). There are certain problems associated with Africa, mostly to do with AIDS, but some other diseases can cause you to be knocked off the donor list (malaria, dengue fever, etc.). I believe that China would have to do with malaria and other diseases, as well.

Talk to the person taking your history before you rule yourself out.

Sorry to hear that, Knotted. That's a bummer. I know I plan on donating every 60 days until I die or develop some awful disease which precludes me from donating.

East Hill

lph
01-19-2007, 05:39 AM
I've always felt that being able to help someone by donating blood (or organs for that matter) is one of the really amazing things about modern technology. Being able to actually save somebodys life that way is almost miraculous to me. (Anyone else see the movie "Jesus of Montreal"? Maybe had a diff title)

Anyway, the blood donor people don't want me because when I was 4 I spent more than one year in Africa, in Tanzania. I am now 37. The only disease I know of that can lie latent for more than 30 years is syphilis, and needless to say I didn't contract that at the age of 4.

Do I sound bitter? Well, I am! This is one thing I'd really like to do and it bugs me that I can't.

I carry an organ donor card though.

East Hill
01-19-2007, 06:56 AM
It sounds as if Norway is stricter than the US. The ban is not on all African countries, but just certain ones (which I can't remember off the top of my head). Oddly, you would be allowed to donate if you have not had (treated) syphilis or gonorrhea for at least one year.

I have just looked at some blood donation guidelines, and they do vary. I guess you would want to check with your local donation facility. I go through Puget Sound Blood Center, at the Southcenter facility.

I don't think they are as strict as American Red Cross.

East Hill

LBTC
01-19-2007, 06:58 AM
I had two not very successful attempts at giving blood years ago, then they stopped going to the community I lived in to save costs. I thought it was sad they stopped coming because, even though they always came at the height of flu season, the donations always far surpassed the goal!

Now, if DH and I want to give blood, we'd have to go to another community to do it. I have to be there in a couple of weeks, so I'll see how difficult it is for us to get in to the clinic....

Interestingly, my pets are blood donors. 'Cuda has given twice and Otto has given once - they saved the lives of other dogs and cats. With pets, they can't store the blood, so if they call, you know there is an immediate need.

I admire all of you for your blood donor efforts and for your knowledge.

Hugs and butterflies,
~T~

donnambr
01-20-2007, 11:55 AM
So I have a couple of rants about blood donation, at least where I live. First of all, while the rest of the medical world is getting their latex act together, the American Red Cross isn't. If I walk into the Red Cross in Portland or into one of those Bloodmobiles, I'm wheezing within 10 minutes. I don't stay long enough to see how long it takes before my airway totally closes up and anaphylaxis kicks in. Yes, they have nonlatex supplies (if you make arrangements ahead of time), but the air is full of latex protein, which is much more serious for the latex allergic than actually touching it and getting hives. Secondly, I have a history of cancer (that's not on the no-no list), and my veins are full of scar tissue. I just need a smaller needle and some extra time to get that pint out. They never seem to have the smaller needles, and none of the techs will believe me. I've had bad veins for 15 years now, you'd think I'd know a little about my own body, right? The phlebotomists where I get medical blood draws seem able to take my word for it.

I came from a family with a long tradition of being blood donors, to the point where we generally feel guilty for not donating - we're a bunch of O+ and O- folks. After 10 years of trying to navigate through this , I can only conclude that the Red Cross really doesn't need my O+ blood all that badly. It's too bad they're the only place in Portland that accepts blood donations. My aunt donates regularly at UCLA, and when she asked them, they told her they can accomodate donors like me quite easily.

I'm not saying don't donate, but I've given up, and that's really too bad. I'm disgustingly healthy otherwise, and have plenty of blood to spare.

East Hill
01-26-2007, 10:55 AM
I know I plan on donating every 60 days until I die or develop some awful disease which precludes me from donating.

East Hill

And if I can't donate, I'm still going to make Mr. East Hill go down there until he can't either!

I know that me mum no longer can donate because she has diabetes, and isn't stable. They really miss her, she is AB+.

:(

East Hill

Kitsune06
02-19-2007, 12:13 PM
Alright, fine. ;)

I'm scheduled to be tapped the 23rd over lunch. happy now? ;) :D

Aggie_Ama
02-19-2007, 02:10 PM
Oddly, you cannot donate if you have Crohn's disease that is active or you are on therapy. I cannot figure that one out, someone please explain it. My DH wanted to donate recently and I read that he could not. I can't donate for another few months due to a vaccine I got that I didn't need. Don't start me on that one, but I am excluded right now.

Kitsune06
02-19-2007, 02:25 PM
Vaccines are *never* a bad idea. Don't *start *me* on it, but you don't just wander around waiting to step on a nail/cut yourself/etc etc to get your tetanus updated, don't wait 'till you have liver damage to get your hep vaccinations... etc etc. Not *one* that was created that society doesn't need (or didn't at the time- how common is polio now?)
Just saying.
...now for my rabies booster... ;)

Grog
02-19-2007, 03:04 PM
Oddly, you cannot donate if you have Crohn's disease that is active or you are on therapy. I cannot figure that one out, someone please explain it.

When you say "on therapy", do you mean "taking medication"? That would be why they wouldn't want your blood for the moment...

They might also worry that if you're already having a Crohn episode giving blood would further trouble your system, route precious bodily resources towards making new blood instead of keeping yourself together, etc...

Dianyla
02-19-2007, 03:16 PM
Just saying.
...now for my rabies booster... ;)
Amen, sistah. Funny enough - a few months ago I was considering getting a rabies vaccine that was "highly recommended" for travelling in Peru. It wasn't covered by insurance and would have cost $500! :eek:

Kitsune06
02-19-2007, 03:35 PM
it's amazing the stuff not covered by insurance. I've read reports about multi-strain vaccines triggering autoimmune responses in people, but if you weigh the risk to the benefit... still you come out ahead.
I'm wondering if I would've had to pay an arm and a leg for my Hep B vaccines had they come out after I was in school. As it was, we all got herded down to the cafeteria and poked. One of my friends fainted. Poor chica. :rolleyes:

Aggie_Ama
02-19-2007, 03:43 PM
When you say "on therapy", do you mean "taking medication"? That would be why they wouldn't want your blood for the moment...

They might also worry that if you're already having a Crohn episode giving blood would further trouble your system, route precious bodily resources towards making new blood instead of keeping yourself together, etc...


I meant medicine, I refer to my husband's as therapy because that is what his gastroenterologist calls it. I understand the medicine and I guess the fact that giving blood would be rough on someone in the middle of a flare up.

Kit- I got a nasty deep bruise from a Hepatitis Vaccine. I got the vaccine because my husband was misdiagnosed with Hepatitis instead of Crohn's. Since I hurt for 4 weeks after the vaccine, I am little annoyed about getting it.

That being said, I was mad at myself for being behind on my tetnus shot when I cut my toe on some rusty rebar!

Enough thread hi-jacking. I commend all of you who are able and willing to donate blood, you saved my mother-in-law this summer when she needed a blood transfusion before her emergency hysterectomy.

Grog
02-19-2007, 05:29 PM
Amen, sistah. Funny enough - a few months ago I was considering getting a rabies vaccine that was "highly recommended" for travelling in Peru. It wasn't covered by insurance and would have cost $500! :eek:

If you insurance covers your medical treatments when you're abroad, I'd suggest giving them a call and asking them about this. Who knows, maybe they'd rather pay $500 up front than deal with the (much more expensive) consequences if you were to catch the nasties once in Peru!!!!

It's too late now, but I'd be curious to know if that would work... But then, I'm just a Canadian enjoying (mostly) free health care... (Few vaccines are free though, even here...)

Dianyla
02-20-2007, 11:20 AM
If you insurance covers your medical treatments when you're abroad, I'd suggest giving them a call and asking them about this. Who knows, maybe they'd rather pay $500 up front than deal with the (much more expensive) consequences if you were to catch the nasties once in Peru!!!!

It's too late now, but I'd be curious to know if that would work... But then, I'm just a Canadian enjoying (mostly) free health care... (Few vaccines are free though, even here...)
Yeah, I even challenged them on that. I said sarcastically "Oh, but if I were to go get bitten by a dog and came in within 12 hours you'd give it to me for free right?" and the nurse said "yeah, pretty much!"

I'm sure if I'd been travelling for work they might have covered it. But personal pleasure travel is right up there with elective surgery when it comes to insurance coverage. :rolleyes:

Kitsune06
02-23-2007, 02:48 PM
I did my part. Got a ways to go to catch up to my Dad's 15 gal. of O-. :rolleyes:

bcipam
02-24-2007, 06:21 AM
So I have a couple of rants about blood donation, at least where I live. First of all, while the rest of the medical world is getting their latex act together, the American Red Cross isn't. If I walk into the Red Cross in Portland or into one of those Bloodmobiles, I'm wheezing within 10 minutes. I don't stay long enough to see how long it takes before my airway totally closes up and anaphylaxis kicks in. Yes, they have nonlatex supplies (if you make arrangements ahead of time), but the air is full of latex protein, which is much more serious for the latex allergic than actually touching it and getting hives. Secondly, I have a history of cancer (that's not on the no-no list), and my veins are full of scar tissue. I just need a smaller needle and some extra time to get that pint out. They never seem to have the smaller needles, and none of the techs will believe me. I've had bad veins for 15 years now, you'd think I'd know a little about my own body, right? The phlebotomists where I get medical blood draws seem able to take my word for it.

I came from a family with a long tradition of being blood donors, to the point where we generally feel guilty for not donating - we're a bunch of O+ and O- folks. After 10 years of trying to navigate through this , I can only conclude that the Red Cross really doesn't need my O+ blood all that badly. It's too bad they're the only place in Portland that accepts blood donations. My aunt donates regularly at UCLA, and when she asked them, they told her they can accomodate donors like me quite easily.

I'm not saying don't donate, but I've given up, and that's really too bad. I'm disgustingly healthy otherwise, and have plenty of blood to spare.

For alot of the reasons you stated - I don't donate to Red Cross - I donate blood at my local hospital (the one I would have surgery at if injured). I can make an appointment, am treated like royalty, the chairs are comfortable, nurses courtious and efficient. Don't give up - try something else... Really no hopsital in Portland takes blood????

bikerchic
02-26-2007, 10:09 AM
I have O- blood and when a cry from the local Red Cross went out a few months back for my blood type I said what the heck and did my part.

I did have a weird reaction after giving blood, for one I fainted right after it was all over, darn! I was doing so well and was so proud of myself up to the point when she took the needle out and put a cotton swab on my arm and told me to raise my arm over my head. Suddenly the room started to spin, I got really hot and the next thing I remember was waking up laying down on the cot with a very concerned gentleman talking to me trying to see if I was "coming around" as he said.

But that wasn't the weird reaction, LOL I'm used to fainting at the sight of blood, mine or anyone else's. Here is what had me troubled about the whole experience.

For about a week after I felt totally drained in fact for two days I hardly got off the couch I had NO energy and was extremely tired. I wasn't sick, no fever or aches or pains just terribly drained. My hubby referred to it as me being a quart low! LOL

For months after the Red Cross kept calling me to donate again and I kept refusing because it really didn't fit into my schedule mostly being that I didn't have time to feel rotten for a week after donating. I told them I had a bad experience and got a number of a nurse to call at Red Cross but haven't called the nurse yet. I wonder if there is really a reasonable reason for my reaction?:confused:

I'm thinking the only way for me to find out if what I experienced was just a fluke is to try it again and I did have an appointment set up for donating in January, got to the place at my scheduled time and there was no one there! No one even called me to let me know they had canceled that day, what's with that?:confused:

Anyway it will be a while before I do it again and next month I have a Doctor's appointment which will probably lead to surgery and I'll discuss donating blood for my surgery with her and let her know about my previous experience and go from there.

Just curious if anyone else experienced what I did after giving blood?

Kitsune06
02-26-2007, 10:34 AM
Um... yeah. I had a less than stellar experience. I'm bruising all over my elbow- I mean 2" up from where I was stuck-all over. Hurts to straighten my arm, etc etc. I mean, I'm not a wuss. I have a decent pain tolerance, but when straightening out my arm means pain and my fingers tingling, that's not a good thing. No insurance means I ice it and hope for the best. :( It's getting better, tho.

Fainted this weekend and came close to doing it a second time. Overdid it. Never given blood so I don't know my limitations.

You know what? I'm gonna give blood @ the hospital, too. Seems a much better option.

Dianyla
02-26-2007, 11:33 AM
But that wasn't the weird reaction, LOL I'm used to fainting at the sight of blood, mine or anyone else's. Here is what had me troubled about the whole experience.

For about a week after I felt totally drained in fact for two days I hardly got off the couch I had NO energy and was extremely tired. I wasn't sick, no fever or aches or pains just terribly drained. My hubby referred to it as me being a quart low! LOL

For months after the Red Cross kept calling me to donate again and I kept refusing because it really didn't fit into my schedule mostly being that I didn't have time to feel rotten for a week after donating. I told them I had a bad experience and got a number of a nurse to call at Red Cross but haven't called the nurse yet. I wonder if there is really a reasonable reason for my reaction?:confused:

It sounds like you were borderline anemic and losing that extra unit of blood just pushed you over the edge. The symptoms you describe are consistent with low iron/anemia. As I mentioned earlier in this thread, my big beef with blood banks is that the rudimentary "drop test" that they do to check your iron will allow a lot of borderline people to donate anyways, resulting in this kind of situation.

Get to your primary doc and have your ferritin levels checked. Iron deficiency anemia is very common among menstruating women, as well as common among athletes. Menstruating female athletes get a double-whammy. You may need to supplement with iron pills, but don't start doing this without a doctor's advice because an iron overload can be toxic.

Until you know that your iron levels and red blood counts are good again, just say "no thanks, I'm anemic" when they call.

bikerchic
02-27-2007, 11:22 AM
Dianyla I hear what you are saying about being borderline anemic I wondered if that was the case for me, however I take soooo many supplements and my iron intake is just what it should be to prevent anemia. I also stopped taking calcium three days before my blood donation because I was told to do that, not sure why? LOL

As far as menstruating.....I haven't in several years post menopause 55 year old here, LOL.

I am going to talk to my Doctor about this soon because it might be of interest to her.

I'll be sure to use that line, "no thanks, I'm anemic" good advise and thanks for the reply.