Blood is something we expect to be there for us when we need it, yet shockingly only 4% of of the population give blood! Yesterday I joined that 4% and donated just under a pint of my beautiful, magical, life saving blood at a community centre near me.
I was a mix of excited and nervous. It was one of the hottest days yesterday too so that didn’t help much to keep me cool, calm and collected. You are required to drink at least 500ml of water before donating to help your blood pressure so you don’t pass out while bleeding in to a plastic pouch.
My Dad came with me for moral support as well as to donate his blood too. After signing in and answering the health background questions such as,
“Have you had a blood transfusion before”; N0.
“Have you traveled outside of the EU in the past 12 months”; Nope.
“Okay you’re ready to go!”
We explained to the nurses that it was my first time donating and that I was blogging all about it and they were happy for us to get pictures of the event. First, they tipped the bed/chair/cradle thing I was sitting on back then they wrapped a blood pressure cuff around my right arm and asked me to open and close my hand repeatedly to get the veins in my arm to pop to the surface of my arm. The area around my veins was then cleaned for 30 seconds and left to dry for about another 20 seconds. During this wait, I read through a leaflet that advised you to stay relaxed, to uncross and cross your legs and occasionally squeeze your bum muscles while you were donating. These little exercises would help with maintaining your blood pressure. After this, it was the dreaded needle time.
The needle didn’t hurt as much as I thought. I felt the ‘sharp scratch’ but it was more like a weird and uncomfortable pressure than like a ‘scratch’. Once the needle and tube were secure I just had to lie back, do my mini exercises and wait for my plastic baggy of blood to fill. each bag contains anticoagulants to keep the blood ‘runny’ and stop it from clotting.
Once my bag was filled, the machine beeped and the nurse returned to take out the needles and patch up my arm. I felt rather proud of myself. Once I adjusted to being upright again I moved on the the recovery area, aka snack table!
They advise donors to have a drink and eat something sweet after giving blood to help you feel less faint and help your blood sugar levels, a few people chose not to have a biscuit as they were in a rush or even worse, on a diet but I didn’t mind, they had custard creams! Nom.
After Dad had given his pint of blood and had a drink, we were ready to go home again. I felt a little dizzy on the way home. I think it was a combination of giving blood and the heat. After a nap and some food I felt alright again. In a few weeks I should be receiving my blood donor card which will also tell me what blood group I am 🙂
It total it took about a hour, seeing as there was two of us, to give blood but it was so easy and the staff were brilliant. The next time I donate will be in October so I’ll be back at university. I will definitely be encouraging my friends to donate blood with me.
Peace and love,