Friday, July 14, 2006

Blood donor?

In the last few days I've been the most unproductive I can be. I woke up late, then laid a little longer in the bed, the watched numerous episodes of Scrubs and afterwards I'd cook a special lunch with plenty of veggies. (I'd love to have a big, fat cookbook with healthy recipes, but it seems the time where I realize I'll actually need to go to the library for that hasn't come just yet.) Then I'd watch some more Scrubs upon which I'd either go jogging or to Šmarna gora.

The today's hiking on Šmarna gora was not to be, though, as I donated blood this morning and am not feeling quite well. I've been a blood donor for a year and a half now, but unfortunately I've only donated blood twice.

Last Autumn my ferritin level was low and I suspected problems with iron and donating blood would just aggravate these problems, so I skipped. Then Spring passed way too quickly for me to come to the realization that I could donate again. Now they called me back and I gladly went, for I dearly like to do something good for someone, especially something that only takes bearing a bit of nausea and a possible collapse, but possibly also saves someone's life. I'm quite determined to donate blood again in half-a-year, if my iron levels stay normal.

Additionally, I am registered in the Slovenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry as of last year and I'm still willing to offer my help that way. Being either of the two (but preferrably both) enables you to help others in the most altruistic way possible. Summer holidays are a time of great demand for blood because of the (car/motor) accidents that happen, but proportionally little people donate blood. You get a day off work and a light meal when you donate blood, so become a donor today! Maybe one day you'll need a transfusion yourself and you'll be glad Slovenia has so many blood donors that can help you in a time of need.

Last year I passed out after having given blood (didn't drink enough afterwards), but this year I'm fine. I've been feeling a little light-headed and dizzy (and thirsty!), but otherwise I'm fine.

Have you donated blood? Do you intend to?

P.S. The photos from my holidays by the sea-side still haven't reached me, so be patient.
P. P. S. I hear it's finally raining outside. I only hope the humidity lessesns after the rainfall. It's been killing me.

posted by Nadezhda | 16:54


Blogger ill-advised said...

holidays by the sae-side

Wow, Scotland? :)

Anonymous marko said...

Needles are one of my greatest fears, so I don't think I'll donate my blood anytime soon. Maybe I'll someday stop being so egoistic.

Blogger Lilit said...

I started donating blood at 19. At first I wanted to do it every 6 months, but every time after 6 months my ferritin was too low, so it seems I can only donate once a year. I didn't donate in the last year because I have been taking some medications, but I hope I will be able to do it in autumn.
My father donates regularly every 4-5 months.

What is your blood type?

Blogger Lilit said...

ps. Raining? Not here...

Blogger Wonder Woman said...

I considered donating blood a few times, until I passed out in the middle of a store a couple of hours after I was vaccinated against tetanus. 2 years later during a regular medical check-up, when the doctor took only 3 bottles of blood I needed a couple of days to come back to my usual self... not to mention my left arms was shaking for 2 days :D

Also I have had lots of problems with passing out when I was younger (now I last passed out I think Jan/Feb when I was ill), so I think giving blood would not be very healthy for me, esp. also because I have a very low pressure. Not to mention, I would probably manage to do it once and never again, though I have no problems with needles and giving blood in small amounts.

But I'm still considering becoming an organ-donour (thus is, if I die permitting my organs to be donated to save lives).

Blogger Nadezhda said...

Thanks, ill-advised, for pointing that one out. Unfortunately for me it was only Croatian sea.

Marko - that's always fascinated me. What are you scared of? Just the sheer fact of having your skin punctured or maybe that the nurse won't find the vein on the first try and will have to use the needle several times? I'm not a fan of having my blood drawn by a clumsy nurse and even with a skilled nurse I still choose to look away when it's the "needle time". But while I'm a bit uncomfortable by looking, I have no problems using a needle on myself (we've done some experiments where you had to puncture your skin) or others, so I guess with me it's a trust issue.

Lilit - does your doctor give you regular ferritin check-ups? Because mine absolutely refused, seeing as my hemoglobin level was normal. When I paid for the test myself I found out I had very low ferritin, so maybe in the future I'll be able to persuade her to give me a referral. Since this is a public blog I'd rather not directly say what my blood type was, but it's not very common.

It did rain in Ljubljana yesterday, but not for long. And they said it was supposed to rain a lot on Friday&Sunday.

Miamidreams - have you considered doing something about your low blood pressure? Maybe there's a problem with venous return to your heart? Do you have varicose veins (krčne žile) on your legs? Do you stand a lot on your job?

And last but not least - being an organ donor is just as honourable (as being a blood donor) if not more.

Anonymous marko said...

I don't understand it to, really. I guess I'm a weakling, It doesn't hurt, yet I get scared and very pale before the procedure. After convincing myself that it has to be done, I have no problems looking. But it would be hard for me to hurt myself, like you did in school.

Blogger Lilit said...

I'm a (potential) organ donor, too.
No, I don't have regular ferritin check up (though I'm sure if I felt the need my doctor wouldn't refuse). I found about the low ferritin at the donor station, as they always test it before you give blood. As it happened a couple of times, always about 6 months after donating blood, the doctor said it was probably safer if I gave blood just once a year.

Blogger Nadezhda said...

Marko - don't think it didn't feel odd to me as well... being used to having someone take your blood and suddenly you have to do it yourself.... :)

Lilit - you get a ferritin check as well? Because in Ljubljana they only check your hemoglobin levels (besides the blood type and blood pressure). Ferritin and hemoglobin are similar, but not exactly the same thing. Maybe your body is just slower in creating new erythrocytes (this can also be a consequence of lower intake/absorption of vitamin B12, especially if you're vegetarian or if your stomach doesn't secrete enough intrinsic factor) than a "standardised" body. :)

Blogger Lilit said...

Oops I thought ferritin was the same as hemoglobin... no, no, they check only the hemoglobin and that was too low.
I'm not vegetarian, god forbid :) I don't know about my stomach though, I never had any other problems.

Blogger Nadezhda said...

I did think that either the Central Slovenian blood donors are being disadvantaged or that you might have mixed up the terms. I'm glad we straightened it out. :)

I'm not quite sure whether problems with intrinsic factor in the stomach could have other consequences on your well-being, so if you're curious you should ask your doctor for a test.

P.S. I like your new profile photo!

Anonymous Tina said...

Hi Nadezha,

I have a few questions for you... I know I could find the answers myself, but it is just easier to ask you. I have never donated blood yet, however, I want to. Is it true that I need to have more than 50kg? The next question is about Bone Marrow Registry. I wanted to register in UK because I live (study) here, but I couldn't, because I didn't fulfill some requirements of living here for more than 3 years. Can I register in Slovenia even though live in UK?

Blogger Nadezhda said...

Hello Tina,
I'll do my best to answer your querries.

You have to be 18 or older and weigh more than 50 kilos (52 is OK already if you don't swoon easily) and generally be of good health (no infections or colds). You have to eat something light (no fats: ideally marmalade on a piece of bread and coffe or tea; water is good as well) in the morning and then drink plenty of water until you donate blood. (Don't forget to take a bottle of water with you to drink after you donated - to prevent swooning!)

Other questions you might have are all answered on the first link I gave in my post (key words: "blood donor").

Bone Marrow Registry - if you're a Slovenian citizen, then I see no legal problem. If you're planning on becoming a British citizen it might be worthwile to wait until that time when you can apply in UK. But generally: if you apply in Slovenia, then provide an address and phone number of your parents so that in case your bone marrow is a match, they can contact your parents and they will inform you. Then of course you will need to come home for the donation. (But you can still refuse, if you don't want to.)

Just being registered means you can only potentialy help someone. They take your blood and then determine your combination and check in the computer whether you're a match to any patient. If you're not, then your combination just stays in the computer and when (and if) they ever find a match, tehy will contact you. You can refuse to help at any point before they actually take your bone marrrow and you can choose between two methods of b.m. extraction.

If you have any further questions - just contatct the Register - contact provided under the second link in the post.

Good luck!

Anonymous Tina said...

Thanks very much Nadezhda. I've just sent an email to the centre in Slovenia. Hopefully I can register in that short time when I will be in Slovenia in September.

Blogger Nadezhda said...

You're welcome, Tina. :)

Anonymous Tina said...

Slovenians kind of tried to discourage me from registering since I would have to come to Slovenia for a long time (many appointments) in case they find me to be a suitable donor.

I think it's a bit sad that I cannot register in UK because of some bureaucratic reasons. I've wanted to do it ever since Irena Grafenaure did the promotion. Is there any news what happened in her case?

Blogger Nadezhda said...

Tina - I'm sorry, but I have no news on Grafenauer. After her plea for help, which had lots of Slovenians go and register, she announced that she still hasn't found a donor. After that she made a couple of public appearances, but that's all I know. I hope she is better, though.

I'm not sure what exactly they told you at the Register, but you have to understand that you would have to come to Slovenia for a few weeks to make the donation and I think they're just trying to make sure they don't get excited (about having a donor) for no reason (i.e in case you could not cancel your obligations in England.) I'm not trying to discourage you from registering, but they have to know you're serious. If you tell them that maybe they'll look upon you with a more favourable eye. :)

Anyways - good luck with registering! :)

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