Warning: talk of needles and blood ahead. If that freaks you out, stop reading now.
Tried and failed to give blood today. I think the number of times I’ve been rejected now exceeds the number of times that I’ve actually been allowed to give.
After waiting my turn, filling in my form, enduring an extra-long interview (due to my past travel exploits) and bamboozling the nurse with my visit to Luxembourg (which she had to look up in her big book of country-risk, because she’d never interviewed anyone who’d been there before), I relinquished a drop of blood for the iron test, and failed it.
Basically, if you’ve not experienced it before, they take a tiny drop of blood from your finger, put it in a test-tube of blue liquid and wait for it to sink. As far as I can tell, if you don’t have enough iron in your blood then it won’t be heavy enough to sink (this seems plausible). At this point they take a test-tube of blood from your arm and put a tiny, tiny spot of it in a machine, which performs a slightly more elaborate test than the primary-school-science approach of ‘sinking and floating’.
Naturally, they had a nightmare of a job trying to find a vein and the nurse had a call over some bloke to help, they both poked around in my arm with a needle for a bit (which is a bit of an unnerving thing to watch), and finally managed it. Blood in the machine, and a failing score.
So, I’m sent away to eat more red meat and spinach, and come back again in three months time.
I really would like to give blood before I get my next tattoo (at which point I’ll become ineligible again for the next year), but that will then only give me three more months to get inked. We shall see.
I’m the meantime, if you’re able, why not try donating yourself. You can find a local-to-you venue here.
In summary: trying, and failing, to save a life.