Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Today I went to give blood at the San Diego Blood Bank. Actually, they came to me, or at least to my work.

I made sure I had a hamburger yesterday so I wouldn't be anemic (I've never been anemic, but you never know). My iron was shockingly high for a woman--at least that's what Shirley, the nurse helping me, said. You have to be 12.5 to donate. I was 16.5. Whatever that means.

And then Shirley started asking me about my international travel in the past three years. Apparently when I was on my oasis trip in Egypt last year, we drove through an area (I think we actually stopped) that has a known risk of malaria. So she said I couldn't donate. I said "Ever?" and said, no, I could actually donate after it had been a year.

We returned from Egypt on February 21, 2009. Today is February 3, 2010. So on February 22, or in 19 days I can donate blood again. Apparently I'm still a carrier for malaria. Of course I don't want to donate blood and make a sick person worse. And I don't want to donate blood to have them reject it (while it's in me, at least I can use it). Nonetheless, you'd sort of think by now I'd have some symptoms of malaria. Or someone I come in contact with a lot would.

If anyone was going to catch malaria from me, it would be my sister. She catches everything. And she hasn't had malaria. (touch wood)

Being rejected sucks. Even if it's for a good reason. Like malaria. But it's making me feel pretty grumpy. So I'm issuing out a warning: don't tick me off for the next 19 days, or I might breath on you! Or something! How do you even catch malaria, anyway?


  1. Wrong oasis! The nurse has mixed up the Fayyum with the oases we went to together. Anyway, the only place in Egypt I ever saw a mosquito was down near the Red Sea, and that location is NOT on the malaria watch list! Thank you, WHO!
    Regarding malaria - you get malaria when a mosquito carrying the malaria parasite sticks you. When this happens, the parasite can migrate into your body. So *you* can't give malaria to anyone short of a blood transfer.

  2. Ugh! Well, the map my nurse used had this big circle around Al Fayyum, and it was definitely on the route we drove. So she decided that I couldn't give blood. (Captain America gave blood to the Red Cross a few weeks ago without any problem, so in addition to rejecting me, our blood bank system is clearly consistent. Yay!)

  3. I was once rejected three times in a row for having too low iron counts. Now that they don't use the spinny thing anymore, I usually pass the test and can give blood, but it's an awful thing to be rejected. I still love you and your blood.

  4. Okay, now that I'm thinking about it, I do remember learning about malaria in 7th grade science class. It was the same lesson where we learned about parasites. I spent the next three months thinking I had a tapeworm (obviously the bit about malaria left no lasting impression). I got over the tapeworm thing when we moved on to the horror of disecting frogs! Scientist, I am not!