I donated blood for the very first time in my life yesterday! For someone who hates even having blood tests, it was a big deal. I went with a couple of colleagues from work to a blood donation centre nearby after work yesterday.
It’s an interesting process. If you’ve never given blood before, you have a couple of questionnaires to complete including your basic details and a health history. Following that, you are taken to an interview room and interviewed by one of the staff. Basically, it’s just them cross-checking the information and clarifying if you have answered ‘yes’ to some of the questions. If they are satisfied with your responses and with your height and weight, the next step is a prick on the finger to get a quick blood sample to check for iron levels and some other stuff I have no clue about.
Finally, you are taken into the room to actually donate the blood. The ladies at the centre I went to were great. Knowing that I had never donated and that I was anxious, they did their best to put me at ease. And you know what? It just hurts for a second when the needle is inserted into your vein. Of course, you have to have it in for about 10 mins while about 500 mls of your blood is taken. Given that I’m very queasy at the sight of blood, I just didn’t look at it being sucked through. Once you are done giving all that blood, they get you to wait on the chair for another 5 mins or so and then ask you to have something cold to drink [which they provide] to replenish yourself. All in all, it’s a process that takes about 30 mins to an hour if you’ve never done it before. It’s quicker if you have.
I am glad I did it. I am now keen on doing it more often. I think given the shortage of blood and knowing how important it is, I might as well do my bit while I am healthy. I also know that last year when mum had to go through her open heart surgery, she needed a whole lot of blood. And I’m sure there are many other people like her.
So if you are in Australia and are healthy, please do your bit and give blood. You can find your nearest Red Cross Blood Donor Service through here. They also have a questionnaire about whether you are capable of giving blood or not and also talk about what to do before [drink lots of water, eat something]. You can also do a bit of Christmas giving this year by giving blood!
It’s something so small that can mean something big!
Until next time,