After recently reading a blog post about giving blood, I decided to face my blood-related queasiness and give it a try. “Don’t think about it, just do it!”— that was all I needed to hear lol. It’s a personal affront to be seen to be ‘dithering’ or ‘faffing’. Usually blood tests make me feel weird and faint, especially because it usually takes more than one go for them to ‘find’ the vein as my veins retract too eagerly. Just thinking about that makes me feel weird! Otherwise though, I tend to enjoy and have a fascination for medical procedures. Being anaesthetised ranks up there as a profound experience.
The first blood test I remember, they tried 3 times before it made me sick and I had to go back another day, so that’s usually been in my mind too. The last blood test I had was in Bristol that time 2 months ago when I accidentally overdosed on paracetamol. I was feeling so horrible already, so it was such an ordeal that I had to focus right down on my breathing and keeping myself relaxed just to not faint or be sick (or both). But the amazing thing was, since it was taking so long, the nausea eventually passed and a feeling of total calm and relaxation overcame me. No doubt it was partly down to the forced meditative state, but otherwise I can’t explain it.
Anyway so that experience plus the desire to challenge myself and overcome a fear, gave me the confidence to try giving blood. I went to my first appointment today but unfortunately failed an iron test they did beforehand to check my iron levels. I wasn’t aware that it was part of the process, otherwise I could have tried boosting my iron levels. But on the other hand it was great to get a control measurement! The normal range is 60–170 and mine was 131 (so totally healthy) but they want it to be above 135 for giving blood. So I just need to boost my levels and try again in 3 months.
Ironically this list of iron-rich foods couldn’t better describe my diet (besides meat):
- lean red meat, turkey and chicken
- fish – including mackerel, sardines, salmon, pilchards and shellfish
- breakfast cereals – some cereals are fortified with iron
- pulses and beans – in particular baked beans, chickpeas and lentils
- nuts (including peanut butter)
- brown rice
- bread – especially wholemeal or brown breads
- leafy green vegetables – especially curly kale, watercress, broccoli and spinach
- dried fruit – in particular apricots, raisins and prunes
I eat loads of all the others, so will just try taking iron supplements too.
Still it was great to have challenged the OCD too in order to go to the appointment, and to get the extra fresh air and sunlight. The nurses were acting really disappointed and sorry on my behalf, I had to keep reassuring them it was fine! I mean a measurement is a measurement, it has no emotional intent behind it! What can I do lol.