Saturday, May 7, 2011

Tea & Blood Duty

Vomit is the only bodily fluid I cannot handle under any circumstance. Since everything else is fine for me and, having not had intercourse with a man who's had intercourse with a person who lived in Timbuktu with an exotic cow from the UK for a time amounting to less than 3756 days, I am an ideal candidate, I consider it my civic duty to donate blood as frequently as possible.

If you've never donated blood before (and thus are totally confused by my previous paragraph), each donor must answer a series of questions regarding habits or circumstances that could affect whether or not their blood could be used for a transfusion. Then each donor has to go through a mini-physical to again make sure that their blood meets certain standards. One of the tests is a finger prick to check hemoglobin (iron).

The last three times I've tried to donate, my hemoglobin has been well below the acceptable range. FAIL X 3.

Typically, I can approach things in life from a logical standpoint where doing AB&C results in successes in XY&Z. Thus, for most of my life, I am WINNING more than Charlie Sheen. In the case of iron, I usually consider myself to be health-conscious & a nutritious eater, and so I should have no problems whatsoever with having perfectly acceptable blood. Unfortunately, getting rejected three times for donating blood means I haven't been doing the right AB&C things. Arg, I might actually have to CHANGE something!

The phlebotomists are always very nice & offer suggestions about how I can improve my iron level. Eat more almonds, red meat, & spinach. But you have to eat all that for about two weeks before your blood donation. Sigh, almonds are expensive, I don't like cooking red meat, & I'm not a huge fan of spinach, raw or cooked.

And then they ask, "Do you drink tea?"

"Why yes!" I reply. "It's one of my favorite beverages! I drink 1-2 cups a day."

"Hmm. Yes, tea inhibits the absorption of iron. You should probably stop drinking tea about a week or two before trying to donate."

Oh dear. Not only am I not eating iron-rich foods, but my beverage of choice is blocking me from absorbing what little iron I do take in. I love tea. Ok, I'll start taking a multi-vitamin at night! I'm already taking my calcium supplement then, so it won't be hard to add a step to the routine. And then I won't have to give up tea!

After a discussion with my mom about this, she passed along this article. Guess what is another iron absorption inhibitor? Calcium.

At least now I know what AB&C things I would need to do to be able to donate successfully. The question is though, am I willing to actually do AB&C? Is the XY&Z goal enough of a motivator? The analogy extends to a lot of things in life. We know what we need to do to make something happen, but are we willing to change to achieve the goal?

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