Every year (June 1-May 31), I have to volunteer for approximately 50 hours as part of my member obligations to the Junior League.
Every year, I scramble at the very end to complete my shifts.
Today, I was supposed to complete my last shift: I was going to get 3 hours of credit for giving blood.
The last time I gave blood was in college, when mad cow disease became a thing, and I'd spent too much time as a child in the United Kingdom (we house swapped with family friends for a couple of weeks every few years). The blood bank people worried I carried the disease in my blood. And there's no test for it. Still.
So. I kept my blood (and my theoretical mad cow disease) to myself.
But, in the past decade, the blood bank people have changed the parameters around time spent in the UK, and I still haven't been a prostitute, slept with a prostitute, or slept with anyone who has slept with a prostitute. So I signed up to donate.
I show up at East Jefferson medical complex, which is terrifying from the outside and friendly on the inside, to complete a variety of forms detailing my travels abroad; the dates (months and years) that I took Accutane (um, ninth grade?); and the prostitution/intravenous drug use/homosexual tendencies of myself and my male partners.
The nurse doing my intake takes a blood sample, my temperature, my blood pressure. She verifies that Tobago is not a country considered dangerous to my blood.
And then the results come: I AM REJECTED.
My iron "count" is 36, and I have to be at 38 in order to give blood. Allison assures me that 36 is enough for one person (me), but not enough for two people.
I am given a list of "iron rich" foods and asked to return in 2-3 weeks.
This list includes red meat, shellfish, spinach, beets, eggs, and tuna.
See also: my top 20 most favorite foods, with the exception of all things dairy.
Exhibit A: I had red meat or shellfish in all four of my meals yesterday.
I mean, it just can't be right that I need more iron.
I think my takeaway from all of this, after being assured that I still get credit for the shift, is that maybe my body just makes enough of anything for one person. Maybe I should set limits and restrictions on the amount of time and energy I give to other people. Maybe because I am generous with these immeasurables, I should keep the basics, like my blood.
And, in the meanwhile, I finally have a list of foods that I'm certain I can stick to.