I hadn’t given for years and years. I couldn’t remember why I stopped, I’d always rather enjoyed giving blood and not just for the biscuits you’re given afterwards. I registered and got an appointment for this afternoon.
I sat in the waiting area, drank water and filled out a form.
My name was called and I went to join a man at a computer terminal to complete registration.
He put in my details.
“Ah,” he said, “apparently we can’t accept you.”
Computer said no.
He told me it looked like it had something to do with the last time I gave blood.
And then it all came back to me. Very odd. A sudden part of my memory I hadn’t accessed for years. I was on a waiting list for a simple, dull procedure the last time I was called to donate and when I told them they sent me home and said I couldn’t give until after it was all done.
In the end I didn’t need the mini-op at all.
That was about fifteen years ago.
Since then I’ve moved house a couple of times, changed jobs, changed lives and as I’ve never been back the data hadn’t had a chance to be updated
Still, that was fine. I could now give.
Except I couldn’t. They pricked my finger, squeezed out a blood blob and tested my haemoglobin. It needed to be 125. It was 123. I left without a biscuit and can’t go back for another 3 months.
Not as bad as when I tried to give blood as a student in London. The blood drive came to the campus and I didn’t get further than the desk that time either.
The blood blob floated at the top of the test tube.
It’s supposed to sink.
The nurse looked at me and shook her head, “do you eat lots of red meat?” she asked, “No,” my 19 year old self answered, “I’m a vegetarian.”
“Do you eat lots of green vegetables?” she asked.
“No,” came my weak, teenage reply, “I don’t like vegetables.”
She told me there was not much in my blood they really wanted and I should go to my GP. I got the train home to Worcestershire. My mother gave me a plate of cooked liver and told me that should be the end of “this vegetarian nonsense”.
I should add that for most of my first year I survived on a diet of tinned potatoes and tinned sweetcorn. And now I’m in the catering business.
I found out today that out of thirteen attempts at giving blood I have failed three times.
Next time I can’t fail.