For some reason I cannot donate blood. Back in 2017 I volunteered but was turned down because I hadn’t been in the country long enough and my last country of residence was Nigeria which is known for malaria.
Fast forward some 2.5 years and I got a notice from the Red Cross that I can now donate blood. In January the Red Cross had a blood donation drive in my office. Three different people attempted to draw blood from both arms. Lucky that I am not squeamish or afraid of needles because the needle they used looked humongous compared to a regular hypodermic needle. After poking both my arms several times without getting any blood to flow into the tube talk-less of the bag, they finally gave up. I joking asked the lady if she’s sure I am alive.
Another 2 months passes and I got another call that they need blood and every “whole blood” (as opposed to plasma for example) donation can potentially help three people. I signed up again and drove to the center the following morning at 10 AM (a Saturday). We basically repeated the same “show” from two months earlier. The youngest person on staff (and I suspect the most junior had a go first). In and out, left and right the needle went, she’s sure she’s in the vein but no blood comes out. She got a little blood into the tube but that was all. Finally she calls her colleague who she says is very good. He too starts on the same arm. I mentioned the January issue and he kind of laughed it off stating they probably just weren’t good enough to make it happen. After a while, his younger colleague suggested he may want to try my other arm as the vein seems to be more “hydrated”
So he switched to the other arm and repeated the same process. Finally he gave up and called the most experienced staff there who I think was the leader as well. She comes and repeats the same process and actually got the flood flowing slowly through the tube but she says at that rate, the device will time out.
I asked if she had any idea what was going on and she said while she’s not certain, it maybe that my platelets are overly aggressive and once the needle goes in, they react and start blocking the ingress point – basically clotting. The lady suggested that if I really wanted to help, seems it appears I can’t donated blood, I could donate my time in other ways such as welcoming people and ensuring they sign in properly when they arrive to donate blood.
I am going to give it one more try and after that if they still can’t get blood out of my veins, I may likely have them take my name off their list.