Red Cross in Indiana. Carolina-George Blood bank in South Carolina. United Blood Services in Arizona. I've never, in more than 7 gallons, been refused as a donor. I feel it is part of my civic duty as an eligible donor to give, and to give as often as possible. Many of my friends and relatives with medical conditions or who take certain medications cannot donate blood, so I always try to donate when I can. I've got easy to find veins, my organically non-GMO fed beef & organic spinach nutrient rich blood always has enough iron, and it's a great way to keep track of my blood pressure & pulse in a 30 year longitudinal study, since they write it on the back of the card after each donation.
|Taken by iPhone 5S, in my car, at 2pm 2Dec2014|
Back in July (of 2014), I go in to donate blood, at the same Laguna Hills Red Cross donation center (22971 Mill Creek Dr, Laguna Hills, CA 92653 ) and an untrained, over-reactive, histrionic, overly conservative phlebotomist screener tells me I 'have a rash' on my arms, I won't be able to donate. I tell her I just cut the grass earlier that day, it's a normal skin color for me, and she doubles down on her rejection. I tell her "look, I've donated for 7 gallons over 30 years, I am fine." "It's about patient safety" she retorts. "Get the director" I instruct her. The director looks at my arms… they're fine… and I am allowed to donate (it was a Saturday morning)… but paranoid phlebotomist got so flustered that she has screwed up the paper work so I can only donate a single unit, not a double unit. Fine, just take my damn blood, please. Now I'll have to come back in 56 days instead of 112 days; thank you for the inconvenience as try to help you.
I then set up an appointment to give in San Clemente to avoid they histrionics of the Laguna Hills site. At the last minute, the San Clemente blood drive is cancelled… and they call me to ask me if I can please donate in Laguna Hills. I tell them of the hassles I had there, and the Red Cross assures me it won't happen again. I stupidly and gullibly trusted the Red Cross phone solicitor who gets commissions and incentive pay based upon how many appointments they make, not upon how many lies they tell or promises they break. My 2nd attempt in Laguna Hills at the end of September 2014, where I am scheduled for a double red appointment, have a confirmation email that tells me I have a double red appointment, and I scheduled it on a week day afternoon to avoid being out-of-energy-and-drained-all-weekend after a double red appointment, turns out to be double booked! Some other guy waltzed in, just before me, without an appointment, and they put him in the only ALYX double red machine they had. "Can you come back in 3 hours? That's the next open appointment…" they asked me. I told them my appointment was Now, and no, 3 hours from now I'll be eating dinner and getting ready to go to bed. Let's make it a single, Again, due to Laguna Hills Red Cross's incompetence and disorganization. Fine.
60 some days later, I make an appointment online with the Red Cross, to donate double red, this afternoon. "Are you sure it is not double booked?" I ask them on the phone. "Yes, we'll even have the center call you to make sure their machine is available ahead of time." "Great". I Was called an hour in advance, told them I would be there on time. Arrived 10 minutes early (as I am prone to do), signed in, read my donor packet, and began the pre-screening with a new, poorly trained, overly reactionary phlebotomist. "You've got a rash on your arm". "No, that's normal, there's no rash" (see the above picture). "I DO have lots of track marks, from the Seven Gallons Of Blood I've been donating, here……. here… here…. " (as I point to all the track marks on the insides of my elbows that Red Cross, Carolina-Georgia, and United Blood Centers have left on my skin). "We have a protocol to follow" she tells me. "Yes, and humans are allowed to operate within protocols and apply rational, sound judgement in situations. Please get your director." The young phlebotomist lumbers off and leaves me in the room, unattended for 5 or 6 minutes. A 2nd phlebotomist comes in, a little bit older lady in her 30s who speaks English with a heavy Spanish accent. "You ready?" I tell her… "I am ready, but, the first phlebotomist thinks I have a rash, so she's gone to get the Director" and I show the 2nd phlebotomist my arms. "You are fine, no rash where we take out the blood, just little red farder away. Is fine." she tells me with a smile. "Thank you, please tell your director that." I tell her, returning her smile.
I've already made another donation appointment, 10 miles further away, later this week, at a small company blood drive. I will still try my best to donate my nutrient rich, low cholesterol, healthy blood so that needful patients can benefit from it, despite the Red Cross's bureaucracy trying to prevent them from ever getting it. I hope I get a rational, well trained phlebotomist this time.