Today I became a blood donor for the first time. I’ve had many units drained off of me in order to manage a genetic disorder I have but because of a Canadian Blood Services policy they’ve all been incinerated. What a waste! Not only is my blood not being used, fuel is being burnt to destroy it.
A little background first: I suffer from hereditary haemochromatosis; a genetic disorder that effects iron metabolism. I absorb the iron in my food much more efficiently than most people and with a normal diet my iron levels quickly reach a point where it harms my health. My iron levels are managed by avoiding iron fortified foods and through regular phlebotomies(blood lettings).
The policy I’m referring to is one that prohibits reusing medical waste for other purposes. It seems like a good, no-brainer policy but here’s where I fit in: I have to give blood to remain healthy; a lot of blood. When things were bad I was giving a unit every week. There is nothing wrong with my blood, the only difference is that my blood has an above normal ferritin level and red cell count; ideal for anaemic patients, actually. Because my blood is removed in order to manage a medical problem, it is considered medical waste and therefore not accepted.
What really grinds my gears is that they’re always asking for more donors when, at one point, I could supply as much blood as eight normal donors. Now that my iron levels are under control I can simply give blood as a normal donor; before today my blood all went to the incinerator.
Of course Blood Services needs to be careful about preventing the spread of disease. They ask donors a lot of personal questions to determine their relative risk of spreading disease; I have no problem with that. My problem is that perfectly good blood is being refused based on WHY it’s being removed, rather than its quality. Most blood services in the world recognize what a great source of blood people with haemochromatosis represents; with no risk to public health if other blood donation criteria are followed. Here, sadly, blind obedience to a rule that’s too general is sending a lot of perfectly good blood, that needs to be drawn anyway, is being wasted; you can’t even take it home to fertilize the garden.
The World Cup is on right now, and I’ve heard a couple people I know badmouthing football; a capital offence in my father’s home. He grew up in the shadow of Upton Park and saw many a game there….and while at home he could hear the cheers from the games he missed. For some it’s like going out to attend a game and for others it’s like attending Mass.
One little thing I will say is it seems to me that games like basketball and American football need girls in skirts bouncing around to keep the crowd awake!
Some comments I stumbled onto while reading online sent me on a stroll
down amnesia lane…
I have a funny story about Mein Kampf, if there is such a thing:
I was at a holocaust symposium in the early 90’s and some survivors were
telling stories. One lady told how one night the authorities burst into
their house because they though her father was involved in anti-Nazi
When the officers came into the living room they saw a podium with a
book on top. One of them pointed and said to the others that these
were good folks because their volume of Mein Kampf was so prominently
displayed. The officers apologized and left as quickly as they
came….it was actually a dictionary.