In early December I went to donate blood at our regular mobile clinic here in Parys. I was deferred (not allowed to donate) when a drop of my blood failed the haematocrit test, which is done every time before you donate.
The test is nothing more than taking a drop of blood from a finger prick and dropping it into a container of copper sulfate. The drop of blood is required to sink to the bottom - if it floats or hovers to descends too slowly, you fail. I've failed the test a number of times over the years but when this happens, the clinic takes another drop and runs it through their testing machine (much like the glucose-testing machine that diabetics use - just bigger). My iron levels have proved good each time. The test isn't absolute; just a general screening process and it is quick and inexpensive.
In December, neither of their machines were working and thus I got deferred. Of course, SANBS always has the health of the donor as a priority and so they completely did the right thing in deferring me; my health would have been at risk if I really did have low iron.
I was only expecting the mobile clinic to be in town next Tuesday as they come through on the second Tuesday of every month. On the way to paddling I saw their banners and popped in on the way home from the river.
Ruben came through with me - he likes the cookies and juice and is quite fascinated by the process. While my bag filled, one of the SANBS staff explained to Ruben about the testing of blood and the need for donors. His eyes were glued to her as she spoke (I couldn't hear properly from where I sat; but I did watch his face). When she was done she finished with, "Now you see why blood donors are so important". He nodded and added, "Really interesting!".
I'm starting him young - Ruben is only 8 now but by the time he is 16 I hope to have cultivated a committed donor.
Through our Parys parkrun I have been able to meet many people in town and most times I bump into people I know at the clinic. This evening I saw Yolande and Hein, a lovely couple who are regular parkrunners. They also ran my Forest Run last year. They were there to donate too.
I asked my nurse if their turnout had been good today. "Parys - this town never lets us down," she replied.
I'm pleased to have added to our numbers today.