…..is that I’m anemic.
(It feels horrible to confess it up front like that !)
This brilliant deduction came to haunt me ever since I read this post on blood donation by R’s Mom (office firewall doesnt let me attach the link . But you can read the post at : http://readingthroughrsmind.wordpress.com/2012/06/06/of-blood-donations-and-such/ ). Unlike me, she was blessed to perform this noble deed. Try as I might, blood donation is an activity which abhors me (and not the other way round).
Sample this -
There’s a blood donation drive at work I’m all pepped up about it and reach office at 8 AM !! All my friends gather and we collectively go down to the area where the blood donations were taking place. I was the only girl in the group. In fact, like R’s Mom mentioned in her post, even I was surprised to see that there were hardly a couple or more girls compared to the 50-60 guys waiting in queue at that time.
Just as I jauntily walked into the hall, a voice calls me from behind.
“Excuse me miss, you have to do this test”.
I turn back and stare at a pimply-faced youth, barely out of medical college holding out a contraption which roughly looked like the stand on which you put Kachhua Chhap agarbatti.
“Huh?”. To the point I was, as always.
“Blood test. We need to check your hemoglobin levels”.
“I’ve got a pretty good count”, I defended myself, more so because everyone in the hall and outside it was watching this little exchange with rapt attention. I guess most of them were still dozing on their feet since IT people rarely get out of bed before 10 Am. Still, I felt those looks.
“Please madam. It will take only one second”.
So I reluctantly held out one finger. The pimply-medico jabbed my finger with the agarbatti stand and even without looking at the sad and disappointed look on his face I could make out that the orange-thingy that oozed out of that finger wasn’t worth donating. I kept mum though
The guy dunked that orangey-droplet in a jar full of viscous blue fluid and since the droplet insisted on floating right over the surface of the blue-fluid, I was clinically termed incapable of blood donation.
Oh!! The enormity of that declaration!!! The sheer embarrassment of being rejected when setting out for a noble cause!! It was almost as though I set out to donate clothes to the poor, destitute people living under one of the city’s bridges, only for them to grab the bag and sell it in the chor-market next day. So much for philanthropy. Or social consciousness (This incident did occur….when I used to volunteer for Goonj).
The guys in my gang guffawed. Some insisted I ask for blood transfusion to liven up those RBCs. Aaarrggh!! Men and their stupid jokes
I walked back to my cubicle and was the butt of jokes throughout the day. The worst part is that few of the women who never came forward to donate, joined in the chiding
Anyhow, fast-forward to a couple of more years. Good friend SK asked a much-married mother of two (me, henceforth called MOT!) if she was interested in donating blood. There was a blood donation camp in her office which was in the tower next to our current location. As usual, the MOT was fired up and tagged along.
And right at the entrance to the cafeteria (where the camp was being held), she met her old enemy – the agarbatti stand!!
She shivered involuntarily, but then reminded herself that the blood that zipped in her veins belonged to a brave officer(decorated, at that!) and not to a sissy. So up went the chin and her finger attacked the metal even before the girl at the other end decided to prick her.
Alas….though a tad more red than before, the blood was nonetheless rather thin in consistency. The MOT didn’t bother to look at the jar of blue-fluid which no doubt, carried her blood like a ruby tiara. SK went ahead and donated while MOT sat there, twiddling her thumbs . Half an hour later, they were back at their office, with SK carrying the cutest little plant in an even more cute pot. MOT burned in envy all the way back to her desk. It didn’t help. Her blood didn’t thicken
Another year later, I decided to join the crowd donating blood at the client office. I dragged in a few friends with me, compelling them to come forward and do their bit for mankind. This time, at the entrance, a doctor asked me if I had any ailments.
“Not really…I mean, I’m not ill or anything”.
“Are you taking any medications”.
“I’m supposed to…but I don’t”.
The doctor, who had a long day ahead of him, contemplated on rejecting me outright.
“Sorry, you cannot donate”.
“Sorry, anyone on medications is not advised to donate”.
“But I’m taking supplements”.
“For low Hemoglobin count?”
“That disqualifies you, you know”.
Should have seen that coming
Anyhow, crux of the matter is that I didn’t meet my nemesis (you got it, the KCAS) that day. It was a very forlorn and despondent MomOfRS who walked back to her cube.
“How did it go??” sniggered a couple of colleagues.
I swear I felt like drawing blood.
And NOT for donation!!
The crux of my lament is that there are not enough women out there who can donate blood. I’m one of the statistics of women who have a low Hb count. Its nothing earth-shattering, but alarming enough in its capacity to deprive me of simple pleasures in life. Like playing with the kids for an hour without huffing and puffing after the first 15 minutes. Or like walking/exercising for more than 10 minutes without collapsing over the exercycle!
Eating iron-rich food is a good starting point to overcome this deficiency. Spinach (palak) and dates are the most commonly suggested goods. But what is lesser known is that the presence and level of Vitamin C decides how much iron is actually absorbed by the body. There is loads of data on the internet about it so I’ll not bother hunting for links. Surprisingly, I’ve been an avid consumer of vitamin C rich food which includes guavas (highest content), sweet limes, oranges , amla and all things sour! Green leafy veggies are my favorite. Yet, for some unknown reason, the blood refuses to rise up to the point 12 mark . Nothing has helped me increase my hemoglobin levels in all these years. During pregnancy, I took iron supplements twice a day for the entire 8-month duration. I consumed buckets-full of fruits and vegetables. Yet, at the time of delivery, I had reached my highest personal score of 11.6 only :( .
Has anyone else experienced this problem? Are there any more anemic women out there who’ve found a cure?? Are the women with healthy Hb levels eating anything that I’m not ?!! Any suggestions, home remedies that I could try out??
By the way, there was a blood donation camp in my office recently. I didn’t go
I have started on another course of iron supplements. This is just a precautionary step, I’m not expecting it to do wonders. will update you all if I observe any positive changes.
Till then, be generous you all. Go and donate whenever you can. I believe its a wonderful experience