Several months ago, in probably my last time as a volunteer helping with the Angel Food distribution at my church, I was in a discussion that led to me wonder why I don't participate in periodic blood drives at the church. I remembered giving blood a few times when I was younger, but as best I could recall, the reasons I quit volunteering were because sometimes I felt faint afterward, and also because, although it wasn't really painful, it wasn't exactly comfortable. But I was just so aware that many people who could offer legitimate reasons for not volunteering at Angel Food and other events and for not giving blood apparently wouldn't dream of not participating. I looked around and thought, if these people can do this, certainly I can, too. So I vowed to participate in the next blood drive.
As luck (?) would have it, the next two or three drives scheduled at the church were Sundays when I was out of town. I'd be lying if I said I was sad to realize I could delay the experience. Then, when we received an e-mail reminder this week about weekend events at the church, including a scheduled blood drive, my thought was that it would be a busy day. But my commitment didn't come to mind. Even Saturday night, I was thinking about the pancake breakfast the Mission Team has the third Sunday of every month and that there would be a blood drive, but that's as far as it went.
One thing worth noting is that this weekend and the coming week were shaping up to hold opportunities for me to get some things done I've been putting off. Before I went to bed Saturday -- without getting anything on that mental list started, much less accomplished -- I wrote these words in my journal: Praying to make a list of priorities for this week -- prayerfully -- and to lift it up to You and just do it, do it, do it! One moment at a time.
Lo and behold, shortly after I awoke this morning, it occurred to me that today was the blood drive, and I had no excuse not to participate. So, to keep from talking myself out of it, I couldn't even think about it, other than to make sure I dressed comfortably with easy access to my veins! Even though I hadn't given the blood drive any thought on Saturday, I realized I had eaten some extra protein and other things that seemed healthy, and then I made sure to eat what I thought was a healthy breakfast. I won't say I was excited, but I was committed. I even got to church earlier than usual, to make sure I had enough time before the choir gathered to prepare for worship.
As soon as I got there, I headed to the check in. I answered the questions and everything seemed to be going fine -- temperature, blood pressure and pulse. Then she pricked my finger to draw a little blood, and the next thing I knew, she said I wouldn't be able to donate. It seems my iron level was low. It needed to be 38 and was just 34.
Of course, that's when I remembered I'd tried this before sometime in the years after I started facing some of my petty fears and being a little less selfish and a little more serving. And this had been the result then, too. But I had completely forgotten. I am a bit puzzled though, because I recently had routine blood work done, and I had not been told my iron level might be low. I will be checking into this further. Could this explain why I always seem tired even though I get a pretty good amount of pillow time each night? (I still think the sleep problem might be related to having a cat on my legs, causing me to wake up and reposition several times each night.)
I think on some level I'm disappointed that I wasn't able to give blood. I know I'm glad I was willing to make the effort. And I think I'll see if I can figure out what I need to do to get the iron level up -- both for my own health and so I can try again to share this gift of life!