So I go online and I book to give blood. I used to, pre injury, and there’s always a shortage of blood.
I do it all online – answer all the questions/ look through the exclusions to see whether being paraplegic bars you from blood donation.
All is ok. I’m allowed to. Nothing on the site disallows me to.
I wheel the 4 miles to the donation centre.
When I get there, they sort of look at me.
I get that slightly patronising ‘ can we help you ?’
I say I have an appointment to give blood.
They say ‘ oh ok. Can you get into the chair to give blood? ‘
I say well I’m already in a chair. I don’t need a chair.
Oh. What if you faint ?
I said ‘ well If I do, I can’t fall out of this chair. That would be impossible. I’m held in by side arm rests and the Triride at the front.
Mmmm. We’ll have to check.
Ok I said.
Male nurse comes down. Another patronising look and tone….
Can I help you?
Yes, I’m here to give blood. I’m already in a chair and I can’t fall out.
Yes but it’s not OUR chair. We can’t let you give blood in your chair. You’d have to transfer to our chair, just in case you faint.
Well I won’t faint, and anyway this chair isn’t possible to fall out of.
Sorry – we aren’t allowed to use your chair.
I mean seriously? Is there a blood shortage or not? When I used to give blood you just sat in a regular little chair! You weren’t strapped into something so that you couldn’t possibly fall out of it.
I left and phoned the Blood line. She asked me a thousand questions.
Number 1001 was ‘ do you have a catheter?
Yes I said
Ahh you can’t give blood.
I said why not? It’s from my arm, not my bladder!
Well you might have an infection.
Anybody might have an infection, I said.
Well the rule says you can’t.
So I ring off and look it up. And also if there’s anything about HAVING to sit in their chair ( there isn’t )
If you have had a catheter inserted in the last 7 days ( not me, it was 2 weeks ago ) and IF you have a UTI infection.., you can’t donate.
Neither apply to me. I phoned again.
50 more questions.
Well you have to sit in our special chair in case you faint.
I give up, but have made an official complaint.
It was as though they just really really tried as hard as they could to stop me from helping.