They put the sticker on my sweater with the above saying. But did I?
I've donated blood. I think four times thus far. But last time I went I was a teensy-weensy bit low in my hemoglobin (iron). So they handed me a 'Deferral Letter' and sent me on my way.
I knew today's blood drive was coming to the school. The kids didn't let me forget. There was to be free coupons for custard (a frozen rich ice cream for you non-Wisconsinites) and t-shirts for children whose parents participated. So I marked the calendar. But that's not all. I took my vitamins religiously. I ate anything rich in iron I could get my hands on. I ate a lot of beef. I made anything with lots of different kinds of legumes. I had not one or two but three large spinach salads this week. And I drank blackstrap molasses by tablespoonfuls. At least three times/day for the past week. So I was feeling confident as I strode into the school.
After the initial questions, they poked me to check the iron. Squeeze. Squeeze. Squeeze. Finally she decides on the sample. Takes it back. Returns within a moment. You're low. I'm going to try again. Squeeze. Squeeze. Squeeze. Squeeeeeeze. Then she takes the sample. Comes back in a moment saying brightly, 'you're 12.4!'. That must be good I'm thinking. So I made it? No. You need to be 12.5 and both samples are exactly the same. I'll have Nicole take the next sample. I'm sure we'll make it this time. She's good. In comes Nicole. I immediately like her. She grabs my ring finger. Wipes with alcohol and gives me a good poke. And then she squeezes and squeezes and squeezes and swabs and squeezes some more. After about 8 times she finally takes the sample. Leaves the little area. Comes back within moments. 12.4! I smile and say, 'at least I'm consistent!' She laughs. And then tells me to not be discouraged. And hands me the 'Deferral Letter' and off I go. Me and my low iron.
So I made a difference! Only to our children. You see even though I'm 'deferred', they still qualify. They still get to bring home a very ill-fitting cheap t-shirt that says 'American Red Cross' on it. So that's what matters in the end.
Deferred, but not deterred. I'll be back. To be poked and poked and possibly poked again. Because I want to make a difference beyond a cheap t-shirt!