Tag Archives: blood

Blood Donations

I have donated blood around 14 times. I started when I was 17 and I try to go as often as I can. I am a very strong believer that everyone who can, should donate. When I ask people why they don’t, fear of needles tends to come up a lot. This shouldn’t deter anyone and is not a deal breaker. I was terrified at first and cried a lot, but the staff are all amazing and so supportive. Now, I still don’t like it, but I am getting better!

I’m usually in the donor centre for an hour all in all, and the actual donation is 5 – 10 minutes. I think around 3 or 4 minutes is my personal best though. You drink a load of water before you donate now and that stops you feeling sick afterwards. You get a sticker (oh yes) saying “Be nice to me, I gave blood today” which can be used to guilt people into giving you lifts or buying you a pint or two. There is also the lovely big plaster on the inside of your arm that can be either hidden easily or flaunted as a badge of honour.

After donating and laying on the bed for a bit, you then get a selection of refreshments, free of course. Tea, coffee, hot chocolate, squash, water, crisps, biscuits, chocolate… it’s all there. You can sit at the table and look smugly at one another while you all enjoy your tea and custard creams.

If you or someone you loved needed blood, chances are you’d take it. Why not give some first?

Blood

Well my March results weren’t too bad so only have a few resits to do in June but this is not my reason for writing.

I realised that my blood donation sessions are worth more than a fuzzy good feeling and a cup of tea. It’s another way of getting to know another side of medicine and chat with the care staff. Just gave my 5th donation and got chatting to a doctor about how it is used and stored etc. It’s an amazing process. They don’t just use whole blood, but split it up into components – red blood cells, platelets, plasma (to reverse the effects of anticoagulants like warfarin) and white blood cells and they can use each bit separately to help different people. The bag is rocked back and forth  and mixed with an anticoagulant to prevent it spoiling.

It’s a great feeling to know that you can be helping so many people by giving such a small gesture. 5th donation also means I get my new swipe card and this one is in blue! Awesome.