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Re: [IP] Donating blood

There is no Federal (U.S.) regulation barring people with diabetes 
from giving blood, but there are different state laws. Most confusing 
of all, different blood banks have different policies. I've tried to donate 
blood to a few different blood banks in the San Francisco Bay Area and 
have gotten a different response from each one. Blood Centers of the 
Pacific was the easiest: they just put me through the same screening 
they give everyone to determine whether they're healthy enough to give 
blood. Stanford Hospital said that I could donate if I got a letter from 
my doctor saying it was okay. Another blood bank (I think it was the 
Red Cross) just said I couldn't donate. Obviously, I give my blood to 
Blood Centers of the Pacific -- not as often as I should, but whenever 
I get around to it. It never seems to cause a problem with my blood sugar; 
I check before-hand to make sure I'm not low, and I bring my own snack 
to eat afterwards instead of the cookies and orange juice they usually 
offer. (Now that I'm on the pump, I guess I could have cookies and juice 
like everyone else!)

Bottom line: if you're having trouble donating, find out whether there's
an actual regulation in your state. If not, try shopping around to different
blood banks -- you may be able to find one that will take *DIABETIC BLOOD*.
Disclaimer: of course, you should be sensible about your individual health 
situation. If there's a real reason that you shouldn't give blood, don't try to
be a hero.

Last year at about this time I heard a program on the radio about blood 
banks being dangerously undersupplied. The commentators were lamenting 
the number of different conditions for which donors are excluded, and 
discussing strategies for getting more healthy people to donate. I was 
nowhere near a phone -- otherwise I'd have called up and asked why 
diabetics often aren't allowed to donate. It really makes no sense. I think 
it's just a lingering prejudice, combined with "CYA" (cover your a**) 

I have to say that the first time I gave blood after getting diabetes was a 
real rush. I hadn't been able to give for quite awhile, partly because of 
diabetes-related weight loss (didn't seem like a good idea to give blood when 
I was wasting away to a shadow) and partly because of unrelated problems 
with anemia. So when I finally was able to give, it made me feel so wonder-
fully healthy and normal....

Good luck!  Oh, and Happy New Year, all!

/Janet Lafler

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