My letter to the Red Cross:
I've donated blood over the years, from 15 to 31 years old, I'm 32 now,but I haven't given in a year, so I don't count it. The last time was my 20th, so I guess don't go very often.
I thought it might be helpful for you to know *why* I don't donate more often, and why I haven't gone in the past year. I'm morbidly obese, and chronically ill, but I don't have any blood issues. I'm not diabetic, and thus far the drugs I'm on haven't excluded my donating.
For the past five years or so, the biggest reason I haven't donated, is the attitude I get from the nursing staff. EVERY time I've donated in Toronto I've been lectured, I've had nurses treat me like I'm personally offending them with my presence. I get the lecture that I shouldn't have tattoos because they are dangerous. I get the lecture that I should loose weight because I'm morbidly obese, like somehow I missed that fact. I live with me, of course I know what I look like. I don't like it either, but I at least most strangers are civlil, your staff has no idea what situation is, how dare they judge me! The nursing staff always makes me want to cry.
THEN I get the lecture about how my blood pressure is too high and I should really see to that. You know WHY my blood pressure is so high?? Because I know every time I go in there I'm going to get torn down for something. I know I'm going to get the lecture about how my weight is affecting my health, like somehow I missed that, you know, living in my own skin. You know what? When I go see my GP, which I do regularly, seeing as I'm chronically ill, I get my blood pressure checked and it's perfectly fine. Your staff causes my blood pressure to spike.
You know, when I donated in Hamilton, where I used to live, I never had that problem, but then I usually ended up at one of the McMaster Clinics and they tend to move people pretty fast through there. No time for lectures or passing judgement.
I just thought it might help you to know why I don't want to donate. I can't be the only fat person with social anxieties that doesn't want to put themselves in a bad situation.