2009 as the International year of the blood donor.
Today I gave blood for the first time. I didn't do this just for generous reasons, I have just found out that my Iron levels were raised and easily controlled to a healthy level by becoming a regular blood donor.
Never having donated blood before it was an all new experience. After the forms to fill in, a morning tea, (more about that below), a small prick blood drop test was taken to check my blood.
Once this was checked, the actual giving of blood was easy, I found. There was no more to it, sensation wise, than having a pathology blood sample taken. I just lay back relaxed and alternated between watching TV and chatting to the nurse who was as talkative as I am and we were having quite a good yarn together and the time just flew.
I had a big calorie blowout this morning; no weight reduction benefit to donating blood.
Pre-instructions were to have a big breakfast; I did this, all healthy, rolled oats, low-fat milk, and yogurt, unsweetened as I like them and a peach and almonds.
Lots to drink, tea or coffee they said and at least 4 large glasses of water. At sixty-two, I tend toward morning frequency at the best of times. 'Be fully hydrated they said'. Right! with a reasonably typical sixty two-year-old's bladder. HOW?, got my day's exercise before I got there, running to the loo.
When I arrived, I was sat down in front of a mountain of chocolate bars, cakes, lollies, sweet and dry biscuits and tasty high fat cheese and instructed to 'eat.' I had just eaten.
I selected the healthiest choice I could find, the cheese and dry biscuits. I don't usually eat refined flour. Salty crackers, don't eat any cookies, nor high-fat cheese and I won't eat sugary foods like cake, lollies or chocolate normally, so I went for my preference of savoury over sweet food.
Then after they took my blood, I was waited on with full cream milk, espresso coffee. 'Lovely' The same pile of high fat, high refined carb food to choose from and I again chose the tasty cheese and dry biscuits and enjoyed them, while trying not to think of my already elevated cholesterol.
Well as I'll be a regular visitor to the blood bank till I get my elevated irons down, then sticking to a maintain a good healthy iron level, donation every ten to twelve weeks. I have read that healthy adults can halve their heart attack risk just by giving blood once a year. Seems like a good idea for many in gray nomads to consider if they are not already doing so. Apparently it's healthiest to have your iron levels at the lower side of normal than in the higher side.
All in all, it was an easy, simple and stress-free experience, and I am wondering why it took me sixty-two years and needing a medical benefit for me before I got around to becoming a blood donor.